PS4 Review: Batman: Arkham Knight

Does Batman get the send off he deserves?

It’s hard to believe that this is truly the last Batman game from Rocksteady, who literally brought the game series to life with Arkham Asylum. I’ve spent the past 2 weeks navigating the streets of Gotham, collecting every damn Riddler trophy and solving every puzzle while bringing the Arkham saga to it’s conclusion. So what’s new with Arkham Knight you ask?
The story takes place after Arkham City, Joker is dead and the game starts out with the cremation and after follows a toxin attack from Scarecrow who threatens Gotham, then gets the civilians to evacuate the city. Leaving nothing but Batman, the GCPD and the many criminals that make up Gotham’s underworld. There’s also the introduction of a new character naturally called the Arkham Knight who seems to know Batman and will do anything to see him killed. Overall, the story is fantastic and a perfect send off for the Dark Knight. But is the rest of the game perfect?

Ever since Arkham Asylum, fans have wanted to drive the Batmobile. The wish has been granted in Arkham Knight and it really is a case of “careful what you wish for”. It’s not awful, it just feels forced on the player who has become used to the standard Arkham-style gameplay, then suddenly the Batmobile (which is obviously highly influenced on the one from the Dark Knight Trilogy) enters the fray and it doesn’t quite gel as much as I hoped. The problem isn’t so much the driving, but the combat against militia tanks scattered across Gotham, it seems more luck than skill related when it comes to victory and some of the battles can be damn difficult.
The rest of the game handles like it’s predecessors, but with some new changes to mix things up. Medics are now on the scene and will revive downed enemies, while some will deploy turrets and drones to stop you in your tracks. Of course, upgrades will fix this to your advantage in time but in the meantime, you’ll have to work around these types of foes. Gotham itself is pretty big and has over 300 riddles to solve, although most of these tend to be a case of just going to the point on the map and picking the trophy up, but some are real head scratchers.

The Batmobile can also be used to solve some of these puzzles by blowing holes in walls, or using the winch to power up energy sources or use it to raise/lower the vehicle to where you need to go. Gadgets have always been the Bat’s speciality and Arkham Knight is no different, you get more of the same ones like the explosive gel and batarangs, but you can also get a voice manipulator that can order enemies to check out certain things, things you can also booby trap or hack to take them out. But the enemy is smart and once you’ve done it once, you won’t be able to do so again.
Side-quests entered the series in Arkham City and the same applies here. You’ll encounter your typical Batman foes like Penguin, Riddler, Firefly and Two-Face, but you’ll also come across some not-so familiar ones too. There are some notable missing foes though, which is slightly disappointing….I would have thought all the crew would make an appearance for the Dark Knight’s final game. There is a slight twist about one main villain that did become a bit obvious before the reveal, while another is unexpected and perfect storywise.

Of course, we may still see more of Batman. The game has a 6-month Season Pass, which I know…is costly at £32.99, then there’s the pre-order DLC that is incredibly confusing to the average gamer. I did play the Harley Quinn and Scarecrow Missions and found them to be incredibly brief, but fun nonetheless.

Visually, Arkham Knight is easily the best looking game I have seen on the PS4. Gotham is brought to life in it’s best way possible, showing a dreary rainy city that is bursting with potential. The character models are also superb, Scarecrow is exceptionally disturbing to look at and the side-effects of the toxin are amazing to see and I won’t spoil the ending, obviously….but for those who have finished it, there definitely is a Doctor Who fan or two at Rocksteady, right?

Voice-acting has always been one of the Arkham series’ strong points, and this is no different here. Kevin Conroy returns to the cowl as Batman after his break from Origins. Another familiar voice actor returns too, which I’m sure you probably know about by now…but I won’t say, just in case you don’t. Nolan North returns as Penguin and most of the other villains who feature have their original voice-actor. In terms of music, this is easily the best entry in the series with a powerful soundtrack that cuts deep from start to finish.

The Verdict

Is this the finale Batman deserves? It’s almost perfect, it’s about as close as you can imagine…if only the Batmobile wasn’t forced upon us, it would definitely be the best of the Rocksteady Trilogy. It starts out incredibly strong and ends on a high that left me wanting more and I know we’ll get that with the Season Pass, but I wonder if this is really the last Batman game we’ll see from Rocksteady? If it is, then what will they attempt next? Superman? Spider-Man? Only they know the answer, but I for one cannot wait to find out.

Overall Score: 9.3