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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Games Galore: Batman: Arkham Knight

Available Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Batman: Arkham Asylum made me believe that superhero games did not have to be quick cash-ins. The game was fun, but just as importantly, it allows the player to do things that feel like something Batman would do. Things like taking on a multitude of bad guys at once, or sneaking around and taking them out one by one, while provoking fear amongst the others. Batman: Arkham City, the second game in the series, expanded this concept, moving the player from the relatively isolated asylum on Arkham Island to the more expansive Arkham City.

Now comes the latest game in the Arkham trilogy of games. Batman: Arkham Knight is the peak of what I like to call “iconic wish-fulfillment,” or a game that takes a character from popular culture and lets the player step into their shoes, or whatever it is Batman wears.

The game retains many of the aspects of its predecessors. The player still takes on hordes of henchmen, who have now run rampant over all of Gotham. The non-criminal element of Gotham, or at least the white-collar criminal element have been evacuated from the city due to Scarecrow’s threat to release his “fear toxin,” all over the city.

The combat still retains the same basic feel as the previous two, with a simple, two-button setup that eschews long strings of precise button inputs. More of Batman’s gadgets have been added as well and there is one new twist. During combat, there’s a feature called Dual Play, where, with the press of a button, the player can switch control from Batman to one of his sidekicks Robin, Nightwing, or Catwoman, and can continue to rack up a combo count.

The biggest new feature of the game is the Batmobile, which is unquestionably the most heralded of the new features. At any time, the player can summon the Batmobile, and automatically enter it. The Batmobile is drivable and is used in the main game, as well as the side challenges.

To be honest, the Batmobile gave me the most trouble during my limited time with the game. The controls for the Batmobile seemed unresponsive at times, with corners proving to be particularly difficult. If desired, the player can go into “tank mode,” making the Batmobile vastly more maneuverable. Another problem with the Batmobile is that there are certain side challenges, put on by The Riddler, which take the form of races, which require precise handling.

All this being said, my time with the game was a lot of fun. The game is well optimized for the PS4, and it looks beautiful. For fans of the previous games in the series, there’s no reason not to pick this one up.

Final score: 9/10

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