There have been massive improvements with narrative in video games since the last Arkham game was released. Immersion has always been a key factor of the Arkham series and Arkham Knight is no different.
Even with new additions such as the Batmobile, Arkham Knight still plays like it belongs in the company of the first two games. The controls are just as fluid as ever, supported by combat that’s flexible.
Arguably, the calling card of the franchise, predator mode (a feature that requires the player to use stealth and gadgets to eliminate opponents) still demands some skills; it leaves you feeling like Batman more than anything else.
Arkham Knight also offers new enemy types such as the medic and ninjas who seem to be influenced by Scott Snyder’s “Court of Owls” storyline. These new enemy types make older strategies more difficult to execute, while enemies adapt to each new situation; however, this is counter-balanced by new abilities such as multi-fear takedowns.
Although experimentation was appreciated, segments that demanded the Batmobile for puzzles and combat leave the impression that it was an unnecessary inclusion.
The thrill of driving Batman’s car lasts for the first couple of missions, but after a while it becomes an annoyance. At times, the player wonders if they’re playing two separate games when the Batmobile is and isn’t in use. Unclear destination points don’t help matters either.
This is the first game featuring the Batmobile and with more time it could be just as interesting as the other mechanics are.
Without spoiling anything, the story takes place after the death of a certain character. This character unexpectedly returns in a way that goes beyond the standard D.C. and Marvel resurrections. As the game progresses, this character becomes a major driving point of the narrative.
Arkham Knight analyzes what Batman represents as a figure; often the merit of the beast that’s able to wrestle with god-like beings is questioned.
Arkham Knight also introduces a new antagonist named after the game. Despite the disappointment of the character’s identity, he effectively drives the themes home.
Speaking of themes, another reused idea is Batman’s relationship with the Bat-Family. The division between them is more substantial than ever.
The most enjoyable part of this game is how the “resurrected” rogue played a role in debilitating Batman. This character (when used properly) haunts Batman, which Arkham Knight sadistically took advantage of.
Batman’s history is laid bare during these scenes, teasing that the image of Batman is a myth, and an unreliable and flawed one at that.
These moments, in spite of how creative they are, read like a greatest hits moments between Batman and his rogue. Even though this character is defined largely by history, new possibilities for him are itched but never fully opened.
The tides are turned in the end, and new opportunities for environment interaction grew out of how he is defeated. It’s also a fitting final dance between him and Batman.
In many respects, this is Batman’s Swan Song. Despite Arkham Knight’s few flaws, it’s a worthy addition to the series and worth replaying.