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Batman: Arkham Knight - Page 2



GAMEPLAY (cont'd)

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There are lots of side missions to keep you busy
There aren't as many cool crime scene recreation moments--actually, I only remember one--which were a highlight of Arkham Origins, and combos during the brawling sections just don't feel as rewarding as they once did. There are a few cool moments where Batman will fight alongside Nightwing or Catwoman and get the chance to perform flashy team takedowns, but even those have a few weaknesses. For example, there are a few brawls you do with Catwoman that involve Riddler robots of different colors. Batman can fight one color, but the other will give him a shock if he tries to hit them, and visa versa with Catwoman. These segments are beyond frustrating, because they highlight the inexactness of the fighting system--you might have your thumbstick pointed clearly in one direction toward an enemy of the proper color, but your avatar will stubbornly go off in a different direction and attack an enemy who will of course deliver a health-draining shock.

Still, there are plenty of Riddler trophies to collect, side missions to discover, and baddies to take out. And sure, it's entertaining to personally drive each proper villain back to GCPD headquarters to be locked up. While much of the gameplay has a been-there-done-that feel to it, at the end of the day, you're still playing as Batman, gliding through the streets of Gotham city and taking out badguys who are laughably outmatched. Some parts of that will just never get old.

[GAMEPLAY: 7.5 - The controls are as refined as they can get, but the Batmobile draws too much focus away from the things that have made this series great.]



PRESENTATION

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Collectors will think the Riddler is the primary villain
As the only Arkham game made from the ground up for the current console generation, Arkham Knight has much more polish than any of its predecessors. The game world is huge, the cutscenes are gorgeous, and the character models are top notch. The voice acting is up to snuff, with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (along with many others) returning to the core roles they have perfected over years of voicing them in various media. John Noble takes over the role of Scarecrow, delivering an eerie performance that drips with confidence and menace, and several other supporting actors lend a helping hand, including Mark Rolston, Dwight Schulz, and the obligatory Nolan North.

Arkham Knight fills the city with Easter eggs and secret locations, AR challenges and racetracks, riddles and puzzles. There is always something to do, and the wealth of DLC that Rocksteady has poured onto it doesn't feel like its taking anything away from an experience that could easily top twenty hours. It is the longest and most in-depth Arkham game, but players who don't enjoy side quests and collectables might find the main thread a bit short.

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Doesn't Oliver Queen have enough in common with Batman without having to set up shop in Gotham?
Atmospherically, this game finally delivers on the promise of Gotham City, putting players there in a way none of the previous Arkham games are able to. Additionally, while the badguy chatter still gets old after a while, it isn't nearly as repetitive as previous games and it changes depending on how far along you are in the storyline. It's actually kind of fun listening in on them after a big event, just to hear what they have to say about it.

And like all Arkham games, this one is loaded with fan service, not just for Batman fans, but for fans of all DC comics. There are hidden references to Green Arrow, Constantine, Superman, and more, along with almost constant references to events that only comic readers will know about. This opens up the possibility--though I admit it may just be a fanboy dream--that Rocksteady, leaving the caped crusader behind, may now branch out into some other DC property. If any team is up to the task of finally producing a quality Superman video game, for example, it would be the team behind Arkham.

[PRESENTATION: 10 - Gotham City has never felt so real or so palpable.]



CONCLUSIONS

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I don't know if he's good for Gotham, but Batman's fine by me
When Arkham Asylum was released, I proclaimed it to be the best video game based on a comic book ever made. I would like to amend that and say that Arkham Knight is better. It is not a perfect game--I am honestly sick of the Batmobile--but it is a perfect culmination of everything the Arkham games have been building toward. Newcomers to the series will no doubt be lost, not only by the plot but by the tutorial-less gameplay, but gamers who've been along for the ride cannot possibly be disappointed.




FINAL TALLY
STORY: 10
GAMEPLAY: 7.5
PRESENTATION: 10
SOLO GAME SCORE: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 9.4

Though not perfect, Batman: Arkham Knight is an unprecedented achievement in the history of comic book video games.


-e. magill 7/16/2015

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