Arkham Knight is just gonna be the greatest damn Batman game anyone has ever made. I’m sure no one’s on the other side of this argument, but I’d like to make my point anyway, because I’m so freakin’ excited I can barely think straight. Seriously, I preordered the Limited edition AND the Batmobile edition because I was past the point of thinking clearly as soon as I saw it was available.
1) The Batsuit:
Look at that. Seriously, just take a few minutes and look at it. That is a Batsuit. That’s how you make a Batsuit correctly. It’s just full on, high tech, scary looking bat armour. HELL YES. There’s even a bit in one of the trailers where you can see it’s articulated, in a shot that’s awesomely similar to the first Iron Man movie, when the camera pans up and you see all the litte bits of the Iron Man suit adjusting and just generally being awesome and high tech.
Here’s Iron Man’s suit doing it’s thing, just for comparison’s sake.
Here’s a quote from Wikipedia (yeah, I’m good at research):
“Batman’s armor was redesigned to match that of the Batmobile to make them appear visually similar—featuring the same shapes and material textures—and appear functionally compatible with the high-speed methods in which the character enters and exits the vehicle.”
They literally designed his suit to look like a tank! That’s so fucking awesome I can’t stand it.
Well, I love the comics more than life itself, so I’ve always loved the fact that Batman is so tough he doesn’t even wear armour in the comics, it’s just a fabric suit. Obviously that depends entirely on which comic you read, but I’ve always loved the fabric suit look.
Having said that, they’ve already done that look in Arkham City (and rocked it), and it makes sense that in this world Batman would need to step up his level of protection, just like the Batsuit evolving throughout the history of the comics themselves. So it’s not really a con I suppose, I just really wanted to show more pictures of Batman.
2) The Batmobile:
You know where I’m going with this. Seriously though, look at that. Doesn’t it make you wish you were a billionaire just so you could buy one of those bad boys? I would honestly spend the same amount of money on this game if Batman was physically incapable of getting out of the damn thing, because fucking LOOK AT IT!
It’s a tank! It looks like it could drive right through Superman without taking a scratch. It looks like it could win a fist fight with Chuck Norris. It looks like it could blow up the Death Star without eve- yeah I’m getting overexcited, sorry about that. But seriously though, it just looks amazing. Sleek but solid, modern but incredibly unbreakable, and like I said before, designed in conjuction with the Batsuit itself so there’s consistency and a real feeling of compatibility; It finally looks like Batman’s gadgets were designed to go hand in hand.
3) Gotham City:
“To redesign Gotham City, the designers attempted to build on the previous games’ Gothic architecture while making a more believable and dense city. Alongside minor elements like neon lights, billboard advertising, and American-style cars, the team developed ideas for shops that could be found in the city, while retaining a grimy, dystopian theme. Describing the design, Hego said: “every kind of element we’ve added in there… makes the entire experience feel a little out of time. You couldn’t pinpoint whether it’s twenty years ago, now or in ten years time.” “We want to make sure the world is rich and full of interesting things to do,” Hill said. “We’re not trying to create the biggest open-world game ever. We are trying to create a really rich, vibrant, dense open world.””
YES. I love everything about this.
This is a similar take on the city that the new DC show Gotham is exploring also (but I’ll get to that in another post), and it’s perfect. Read that paragraph again, and just picture Gotham: bustling, dangerous, alive. There are perpetual sirens in the distance, and if not they’re much closer. You can’t turn to the police, you can’t trust your employer, on any given day you’re fairly likely to be mugged or worse. The city is not huge, but incredibly dense; more than one city packed into the space of half of one, always in motion and always coiled ready to spring, like a viper made of stone, cement, and steel. It’s old but full of new things; any single item can be placed fairly accurately into the decade it came from, but together it creates a world without a real chronological timeline. I’m probably going to go on a really similar rant about the Gotham TV show, so hopefully I don’t repeat myself, but it’s just so exciting to see that people are really honing their creative design for Gotham recently.
It’s just getting better and better.
While I love the idea of focusing on quality rather than quantity, there’s a small part of me that wants to explore a Gotham as vast as it’s evil reputation.
… It’s a very small part though.
4) The Story:
Now, we don’t know heaps about this, but there has been enough details laid down to give us a decent synopsis:
“One year after the death of the Joker during the events of Arkham City. Batman is struggling to come to terms with the absence of his nemesis and the uncomfortable feeling that the pair shared a bond deeper than either could admit. Without the Joker’s chaotic presence, Gotham’s citizens have never felt safer, and crime in the city has dramatically declined. However, this gives Batman’s enemies, including Penguin, Two-Face, and Harley Quinn, a chance to unite with the singular goal of killing Batman. On Halloween night, Scarecrow threatens the city with his newly created strain of fear toxin and bombs planted throughout Gotham, forcing the evacuation of the city’s six million civilians. Only criminals remain in the city, leaving Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police outnumbered. Anticipating a new threat, Batman continues to develop crime-fighting technology, and maintains a vigil over the city.”
I dunno about you, but that hit me hard. The comics have touched on this topic before, and sometimes briefly explored it, but this sounds like Batman’s relationship with Joker is gonna be a pretty big part of it.
Exploring what the nature of their bond was is something that could be done incredibly well, and it’s something that’s really unique and new to this story, since the Joker never really “dies” in the comics and they only really explore it enough to fill the gap in time until the Joker’s back again. I am incredibly interested in seeing how Batman would react to the death of someone who was such a massive part of his life for so long, even if it was as an enemy.
I also like the idea of there being a lull in crime. One year of no crime isn’t much, but could it be enough for the Dark Knight to grow a little complacent? I’m thinking of that Bane quote from The Dark Knight Rises: “Peace has cost you your strength… Victory has defeated you!”
It’s purely speculation, obviously, but it could be fun to see Batman emotionally hung up on the death of The Joker and ignoring training for a while due to there being no more crime. This would also be the perfect spot for a deadly villain to swoop in Bane style and attack Batman at his lowest point…
Also, Halloween night? Scarecrow’s new strain of fear toxin? Batman developing new technology? Yes, Yes, Yes.
One thing that’s starting to feel a little formulaic, especially considering the technical abilities of the new consoles, is the fact that in all of these games there’s always a reason for the actual citizens of Gotham to disappear and leave it to the criminals and professional crime fighters.
In Arkham Asylum it made perfect sense, because why would there be normal civilians in the asylum anyway? and in Arkham City it worked really well with the plot because the whole point was they cut off that part of the city, so that worked really well. With Arkham Origins, I didn’t really see the point beyond making combat simpler and maybe technical limitations.
But we should have no problem doing that with the PS4 and Xbox One. I really hope that the game opens during that period of peace, so that there are civilians wandering the streets, with maybe a mugging here and there. It would be really interesting to play as Batman through a Gotham City the way it normally is, instead of halfway through an insane crisis that caused the evacuation of everyone you can’t punch in the face.
I think it would make the game a lot more challenging, and more importantly a lot more like the real Gotham, if you had to fight the bad guys while protecting innocents, and if the criminals were in the minority and you had to hunt them down and actually put some detective skills to use to find them.
“Batman can use some gadgets while flying, such as batarangs or the line-launcher. The player can fly Batman throughout the city using his cape, with gliding now allowing for longer sustained flights, steeper dives and higher climbs. The grapnel gun can now be used to instantly switch directions during a glide, as well as being fired twice while in the air to chain grapneling moves together. There is also a new batarang sensor that can be thrown out to gain intel on the surrounding area.”
They didn’t really need to change much from the other Arkham games, atl east in my opinion, but it looks like what few changes were made are going to be amazing. Throwing batarangs while in midair? HELL YES! I’m picturing one of those classic action movies where they jump while shooting in slow motion.
That, but with Batman. Yeah, I’ll give you a moment to let your heart rate go down. Also, having a recon batarang is such an amazing and amazingly simple idea that I’m amazed I’ve never seen it in the comics before. Chuck it at a wall, and use the in built camera to scope out the street beyond what you can see. Throw it on a massive arc over a few buildings, then when you catch it, watch the recorded video footage to see enemy locations and points of strategic value. Or better yet, take a page out of some of the newer warfare based games on the new consoles and control the batarang while it flies using an exterior device like your smart phone, hover over the area like a drone and mark enemies and hostages, or mark points of cover to automatically interact with straight from behind a wall.
These are all just guesses obviously, but anything even remotely similar would be amazing, and would definitely be the kind of tech Batman would utilise in his epic war on crime.
To be honest, there’s not much I don’t like about the existing gameplay of the Arkham series, I find it really intuitive and user friendly enough that you can actually watch the action as you’re playing, which is perfect for a game as visually engaging as the Arkham series. And hopefully this instalment will take the game further than previously thought possible, which to be honest is basically a guarantee.
I’m incredibly glad Rocksteady is taking charge once again, although I absolutely loved the work Warner Bros. Games Montreal did with Arkham Origins. I’m also incredibly excited that I don’t know what to expect from the eponymous villain, beyond the amazing sequence from one of the trailers with the “NO MORE BATMAN!” line followed by a gunshot.
Anyway, considering all of that, my rating for this game has got to be:
5/5, SO KEEN FOR THIS!