Thursday, July 23, 2015

Batman Arkham Knight Video Game Review: Best of the Series?

I finally finished the main story of Batman Arkham Knight. I’m still trying to clean up all the Riddler riddles, trophies and breakable objects. Two hundred and forty three seems a bit excessive doesn’t it??? O well, it keeps me playing the game. I want to get the final ending. It is one thing I really like about Arkham Knight. I want to finish getting all the Riddler trophies, so I can beat him.  I know Arkham City had something similar, but I wasn’t nearly as invested.  Once I beat City, I went back a few times to try to get 100%, but my heart was never in it.  The main story in City was amazing, but the side missions didn’t seem to integrate as well as Arkham Knights side missions do. All three Rocksteady Batman games have been spectacular, but I really prefer Knight or Asylum as my favorite.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first. The Batmobile. I loved the addition to the game. I got tired of gliding around Arkham City. It was one of the most tedious aspects of the game to me. It was great to zoom around the streets of Gotham in the mythic car, and the tank fights are extremely fun. I’ll grant they aren’t very Batman, but I enjoyed them all the same. They added the right amount of freshness to the game so it didn’t feel stagnate.  The Batmobile  does have a downside. They relied on the Batmobile to heavily in missions. You are forced to use it in the main quest a few too many times. If they would have just used it for the side missions, or taken out the side missions which required its use, the batmobile would have been more seamlessly integrated into the game. No spoilers, but one side mission in particular screams for hand to hand combat, and all you are left with is a tank fight. I think this is probably the biggest complaint of people who didn’t like using the batmobile. If you weren’t forced to use it as much, it would have been well received. I personally still loved using it, and thought it a much needed aspect in the game. I however can see why some hate its addition. Without the batmobile though, Arkham Knight would have felt like a larger Arkham City with a different story.
Rocksteady isn’t Bioware, but they come damn close in their storytelling. What comes across in all three games is their love of Batman. Before Rocksteady took on developing Batman games, superhero games sucked. The amount of depth and backstory they use to draw on makes you feel like you are playing in an animated comic book. Their slogan is “Be the Bat”, and it's  very  apt. You can lose yourself in the game. The ending in Arkham Knight isn’t as good as City, not sure how you top that ending, but I think it rivals Arkham City story on the whole. From the very beginning you are engaged in wanting to stop Scarecrow and find out who the Arkham Knight is. They also integrate Joker into the story in a genius way. Mark Hamill is always great as the Joker, and he doesn’t disappoint in the game. The main story pits you against the Arkham Knight and his army of mercenaries. They are helping Scarecrow try and distribute his fear toxin to the entire city of Gotham. You have to stop him, and there are quite a few twists and turns throughout the game. They aren’t too hard to decipher, but it is still a very intriguing story. When you take it along with the other side missions it truly becomes a masterpiece.
 One of the downsides to Arkham City where the side missions. They didn’t seem to flow into the main story. This is rectified in Arkham Knight. Most of the side missions add to the overall story. If they don’t deal with the main plot, they don’t pull you out of the main mission the way they did in City.  They are all compelling enough to make you want to finish. I enjoyed every side-quest in this game, especially the murder mystery. Rocksteady has used detective aspects in all of its games, but I especially loved it in Arkham Knight. It was earlier creepy hearing opera music and having to investigate another corpse. The Man-Bat side story was another solid side mission, and made me jump out of my seat a couple of times. There are few moments which made me jump in Arkham Knight. I wasn’t expecting to jump scares, but they worked extremely well.
There isn’t much in Arkham Knight which doesn’t work. The game looks beautiful and runs smoothly on my Xbox One, sorry PC fans. The game has frozen a couple of times, but nothing too annoying. I’m glad they delayed the game a bit to make sure they had a good launch on consoles.  Guess they should have waited for the PC launch though. It seems to be an all too prevalent theme for games to be rushed to release, and then try to recover with patches. I’m not much of a techy when it comes to gameplay. If it plays well, and looks good, that’s all I really need. The story and overall gameplay are critical for me to enjoy a game.
If you enjoyed the first two Batman games, the mechanics haven’t changed. Though they did add a few new wrinkles which I greatly enjoyed. I liked the fear takedowns, and the addition of medic enemies. It forces you to evaluate and prioritize targets in both melee and predator fights. The D-pad is slightly different in this game than others, and it took me a bit to get used to its new configuration. Other than that I enjoyed the changes they made to the gameplay.
Batman Arkham Knight is a must buy and play for anyone who has enjoyed the first two games released by Rocksteady. If you haven’t played the other games, what are you waiting for?? Go out and buy the first two cheap and then plunk down coin for Arkham Knight. It is a must play for any gamer of any degree. The only downside is the replay value. Once you beat it, I’m not sure you will revisit it. Though after a few years I can see myself wanting to go back and play the entire trilogy. I almost want to do that nowJ.

What did you think of my first game review?  I’m not big on asking for likes, shares, and retweets, but….. I’m going to now. So if  you like my ramblings give me a like, share or tweetJ

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