I’d seen Batman: Arkham Knight on Xbox Game Pass for a long time but I just don’t feel comfortable starting midway in any franchise, especially when the games are still accessible and the story carries a lot of continuity from the games that came before. I always feel like something is missing and that gap in my knowledge can get annoying.
So, I finally got the chance to play Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and now we’ve reached the action-packed finale that is Arkham Knight. I didn’t know what to expect when this all started but, after beating the first 2 games, I could not wait to see what the final installment had in store.
It was a thrill ride all the way to the finish with the final moments keeping my eyes glued to the screen. But no game is perfect and there were a lot of things this game could’ve done to take it from just good to be a masterpiece. So, without further ado, let me tell you why Batman: Arkham Knight is still good in 2021.
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT
So, What’s It All About?
Batman: Arkham Knight takes place 9 months after the tragic death of Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker. Scarecrow has recovered from his near-fatal encounter with Killer Croc during the events of Arkham Asylum and has returned to exact his revenge upon Batman and the innocent residents of Gotham.
After a single menacing threat and a decisive show of force by Scarecrow, Gotham’s citizens waste no time in evacuating the city and getting as far away as they can before he unleashes his deadly toxin. Only the criminal insane remain to pick apart Gotham before it’s too late. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to the toxic fiend and save the city once and for all.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) August 10, 2021
Combat & Gadgets
The freeflow combat system makes its glorious return with a list of special moves and combos that could rival some basic fighting games with a clear path to progression thanks to a skill tree-like system. Batman often engages in dual battles with other playable characters which allows you to swop seamlessly between them during the Battle and even perform dual takedowns.
Almost every gadget makes its return with many of them being enhanced to the point where they barely resemble any of their previous Arkham counterparts and outperform them in every way. While they aren’t any completely new gadgets, their upgrades make a significant impact when navigating the streets of Gotham.
Gotham & The Batmobile
After being used as nothing more than a prop in the first game and being practically non-existent in Arkham City, The Batmobile has finally made its comeback as a fully playable vehicle that comes with its own bag of tricks. From the grapple hook that lets you scale walls in certain areas to the ability to transform into a full-blown tank, we finally get to see it in action.
The scale of the adventure this time around far surpasses its predecessors with the entire city of Gotham being recreated this time around. But, with the citizens long gone, the streets are only populated by thugs eager to work for the next evil mastermind with money and the militia force led by Batman’s newest nemesis, the Arkham Knight.
Then, What’s Good About It?
When I started playing the Arkham series a few weeks ago, the last thing I expected to be impressed by was the story. Superhero games in the past have felt like nothing more than cheaply made movie tie-ins that are rushed out the door to make a quick buck.
Arkham Asylum set the bar with how engaging and well-written a Batman game’s story could be and each seemed to take it to the next level. Arkham Knight is no exception. We delve deeper into Batman’s mind and experience first-hand the burden he’s been facing all these years as he’s pushed to his absolute limits.
All the characters seemed justified in their motivations and some seriously explosive moments left me staring at the screen in shock. It’s everything I could have hoped for in a story that tied up many losses ends and brought the Arkham journey to a satisfying conclusion.
Being able to control two different characters when engaged in a brawl was extremely fluid and swapping between them mid-fight added a new dimension to the combat which I enjoyed. The Bat-family is huge and seeing nearly every Robin on screen had the fanboy in me cheering all the way through.
Gotham City itself is a well-designed map and feels like a genuine, well-populated city even though the majority of its residences are being evacuated. The way objects and small corners of buildings get demolished by The Batmobile and you truly feel the weight of the car when it crashes through a thin wall or barricade.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) August 11, 2021
And, What’s Bad About It?
Ever since the first Arkham game, I’ve been dying to see the batmobile in action and I believed it would be the highlight of the Arkham Knight experience. Unfortunately, The Batmobile has to be my most hated aspect of this game and it’s the one thing stopping me from calling this game a masterpiece.
I did have a few issues with the combat this time around as well, mostly because of the sound design around Batman’s punches because they lacked the same satisfying crunch in previous titles and made it seem less realistic. But all those complaints pale in comparison to the disdain I have for Batman’s most famous vehicle.
It’s difficult to control and when you’ve finally got a grip on the handling and can keep it on the road, it’s painfully slow compared to the militia vehicles you have to pursue. I thought it might just be the tight turns within the city but even when we got on a fairly straight road, The Batmobile struggled to catch up.
It’s not all bad though. The “Battle Mode” was a lot of fun and there were some truly epic tank battles to be had on the streets of Gotham but anytime I had to cover a long distance I would prefer to get out and glide since it was a far better experience getting around the city.
Should I Play It?
Honestly, Batman: Arkham Knight is a tough one to recommend. On the one hand, I feel extremely let down by the Dark Knight’s main vehicle but on the other hand, I enjoyed every single second that I wasn’t in The Batmobile. All the fast-paced action, sleuth detective work, and ninja-like stealth that I’ve come to know and love are bigger and better and this should be the crown jewel of the Arkham franchise.
Unfortunately, The Batmobile is just too big a blemish to ignore. If the car isn’t fun to drive then it sure won’t be fun to race and there is a fair amount of racing to be done in this game. I pushed past all of this mostly because I was invested in the series and wanted to see it through but if anybody quit this game because of it, I wouldn’t be surprised.
I highly recommend playing Batman: Arkham Knight on Xbox Gamepass only if you’ve already played Arkham Asylum and Arkham City as well.
Have you played Batman: Arkham Knight? what did you think of Batman’s Arkham finale? Let me know in the comments section below.