Title: Batman: Arkham Knight
Platform: Steam, Windows, PS4, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Action
Players: Single player


Written by Whistler 1st July 2015


















It’s been several years since the conception of the Arkham series that has earned a notable amount of adoration for being one of the few good video game iterations of the caped crusader. However the series has not been without its faults and has certainly not had the smoothest experience on the PC home front.

So does Rocksteady Studios’ finale to the Arkham series succeed at launch day where the others failed, or is this another Batman where we need to wait for the plethora of patches?


Now of course that is a rhetorical question, as I’m sure if you have an internet connection and are on any kind of social media you will have already seen the tsunami of negative press bombard Arkham Knight’s PC port. It should be noted that much like Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham Knight’s PC development was handled by reportedly twelve man studio Iron Galaxy, hell it’s apparently been broken a fair while before launch and much like Arkham Origins asks the big question, “How did this get past Quality Assurance?”





























I will say the game is far from unplayable granted coming at a cost of high textures, 1920x1080 resolution and my precious time after playing around with the config file, this is far from an optimal work around of course but I was at least able to manage a stable 40-50 frame rate at semi decent settings considering my GTX 660 met the minimum requirements. Even then I will fully concede that AK is horrendously optimized for PC usage considering even users utilizing Radeon R9 290Xs and even GTX 970s have run into a multitude of absent graphical settings, ugly framerates, audio stuttering and bizarre visual glitches where certain textures will randomly revert to something akin to an N64 game or my first WIP 3D model for college.

These are potential issues that will likely be fixed sometime hopefully soon as Warner Bros. have issued apologies and Rocksteady are working diligently to reprimand the kafuffle, but are issues that deserve to be noted nonetheless.


Now something not related to PC’s misfortunes, the story of Arkham Knight picks up where we left Arkham City seeing a return of the bat’s iconic rogue gallery including but not limited to Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, the Riddler and the master of fear himself, Scarecrow as the lead villain this time around along with a new foe the Arkham Knight.

A handful of Bruce’s allies also make appearances including Nightwing, Robin, Oracle and Commissioner Gordon. However I felt that Arkham Knight didn’t really accomplish the feat of weaving this intricate cast of colourful characters into the story, some feeling really forced and others just there to bulk up the roster.

This is an issue I’ve felt the series has pretty much had since Arkham City and to some extent Arkham Asylum where too many of Gotham’s rogues get pushed to the side line to battle it out for what little spotlight is left.


Some individual scenes are well done but the story in its entirety feels like a rather haphazardly stitched together patchwork of tangent stories that are really loosely connected.

Hell the majority if not all of the secondary objectives and villains are reduced to painfully repetitious missions with zero sense of urgency nor deep story telling (Riddler gets a tiny bit more but still amounts to a collect-a-thon).

The Arkham Knight, the new villain, is rather disappointing.

Now I did enjoy the Knight’s involvement at first as it was new and fresh, a mystery to discover their backstory unlike the other villains I had become accustomed to in Batman tales.

Sadly though he quickly becomes one of the most one dimensional villains to date; once they actually manage to build up some form of emotional investment the Knight’s involvement in the plot becomes almost non-existent and the reveal is left till long after the identity is painstakingly obvious to even the most uninitiated of Batman followers.





























Now that being said thankfully Rocksteady’s writers managed to write in a particular character who I am utterly sick of seeing and yet incredibly pleased with their smartly justified role in this venture. Scarecrow is also a welcome sight for a lead villain looking both visually gruesome and complimented with the grizzly voice of John Noble.

While he hangs back and tends to be just an omnipresent voice, when him and the batman do interact they are genuinely engrossing moments with an enjoyable climax (less said about the endings better mind you).

Now as much as the combat just feels almost identical bar a few new gadgets and the fear takedown, gameplay overall has seen some nice additions most notably the Batmobile and dual play fights. Dual play fights make sporadic appearances where one of Batman’s allies will join you in the fray including Nightwing, Robin and Catwoman. In these fights you can switch between the dark knight and chum on the fly allowing for some fresh energized scenarios and honestly it’s a real shame these moments are so sparse.


Now sadly the Batmobile is the polar opposite to this, it’s not bad, in fact I really enjoyed its implementation into the formula. No it’s how much the Batmobile is forced on the player that irked me, a wall needing taken down, a pit needing crossed, a Riddler puzzle stumping you, then the Batmobile is your go to for all of them at least 75% of the time.

At first I was actually pleased with how the Batmobile was more than just a method of travel, you even get to go into battle mode and transform it into a freaking tank. These were pretty fun and were a nice way to add some variety into what had become a rather stale formula however these sections are spread rather thickly throughout the game and are sickeningly dull before even a third of the game is completed.

While driving the Bat’s new ride is passable (the physics though do regularly feel off for lack of a better term) the combat is slow, sluggish and dull. Vehicle combat is simply strafing left to right while slowly firing the cannon shells until all faceless drones have been downed.





























Honestly in the end while I did enjoy my time with Arkham Knight that clocked in at roughly 20 hours, overall I’m just burnt out on the series now. I’m glad at least Rocksteady are (hopefully) ending on a semi decent finale ignoring the atrocious excuse for a PC port, but at the same time I feel we all need a break from Arkham so whoever takes the helm can write up some fresh ideas.
Needless to say Arkham Knight is far from 2015’s GOTY we were expecting it to be.
 


Pros:   

Some great scenes,

Implements some fresh ideas.


Cons:

Hideously optimized for PC,

Rogue gallery feels forced and underplayed,

Story tends to go on tangents,

Invests in characters then drops them,

Rather underwhelming ending.


Final verdict,

Batman: Arkham Knight ends the finale with a 6.5/10.


Written by,

Whistler














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