I joke. I've been hard at work in the real world with my job, though that doesn't mean I haven't been very active on Twitter. Which I have. One such activity has involved me mentioning various facets of this game, Batman: Arkham Knight...in particular, the Riddler's constant irritant, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. I've also been gearing up for October, wanting to make up for my absence of content with much, much more for Horror Month 2017...whether or not that manifests, we'll see in the October still to come.
But it's rather fortuitous that this is the game to get me back on track for game reviews, given that information, because Batman: Arkham Knight is a game all about fear. Batman himself needs no introduction, though the same cannot be entirely said for the main villain of the piece: Scarecrow. Jonathan Crane, a scientist who wanted to learn all there was to learn about fear, and the only individual in this or any comic book universe who is able to pronounce 'b's and 'p's without possessing any lips.
Truly, the greatest superpower of all.
But it seems that, on a Halloween night some nine months after the events of Arkham City, Scarecrow has issued a warning that Gotham will be gassed with a brand new form of his fear gas...and the entire city evacuates.
What a remarkable coincidence.
Of course, this evacuation has a simple reason: to keep the player from feeling like a total psychopath for charging around the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile. And yes, the Batmobile finally makes its appearance straight out of the Christopher Nolan films (depending on the skin you choose for it). And before anyone jumps down my gullet, the thing controls like ass!
|OHHHH MY GAWD! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR FAAAAAAACE?!?!?!|
But the main story involves Batman trying to hunt down and stop Scarecrow's latest plot. However, it seems that he has a tag-along with him this time, the Joker as once more voiced by Mark Hamill. Much like the original Scarecrow sections in Arkham Asylum, the Joker's presence adds to the screwing with reality in several sections of the game as we're never completely clear for most of it if what Batman's perceiving is, in fact, real.
Also, as if the plot were not already lengthy and convoluted enough (and it is), Scarecrow is assisted in his endeavor by an army of hired guns led by the mysterious Arkham Knight. The Knight is an enigmatic figure who is both well trained and equipped, having a deep knowledge and hatred for Batman that has driven him to go to any leng-it's Jason Todd.
Yeah, no. It's Jason Todd. I really don't know who Rockstead thought they were going to fool on this one.
It's not even a particularly clever twist either, given how Batman can't figure it out even with the Joker basically spoonfeeding him flashbacks to Jason's torture and eventual "death" at his hands. World's greatest detective my pasty white rear! Though it's a little strange seeing as, unlike the DCEU films, I don't think the Arkham series has made even a passing mention to Jason Todd before this point. Correct me if I'm wrong but, like with Batman: The Animated Series in the 90's, I'd assumed that Jason had just been quietly swept under the rug.
The line of progression for Robins went from Dick Grayson (now Nightwing) and then to Tim Drake, and that was it. If he was mentioned, I don't remember it. Not that it's so much of a continuity issue and it's something I can look past. My main question is why they didn't just have him as Red Hood? It's not as if the "shocking twist" is actually that big of a deal, and the reason why he took the alias of the "Arkham Knight" is...kind of just ignored. The title could just as easily to refer to Batman himself and indeed could have just to keep the series naming convention.
Other than that, there isn't too much to say. It's fun to ride around Gotham and totally not send criminals to an early grave by vehicular manslaughter (they're just sleeping, honest!). It's irritating to have Riddler somehow having hacked into all of Gotham's loudspeakers being a man desperately beginning for someone to knee him multiple times in the groin. It's nice to get a final word on the Arkham Universe even if I think it's a little premature to call it quits after four games. Still, it's better to go out on top, and I would say that Arkham Knight is definitely that.
|"Never ending Baaaaaaaatman! Da na na na, na na na, na na na! Batman!"|
Knight gives more finality. It introduces and then wraps up the storyline for Jason Todd, lets Batman say goodbye to his sidekicks, supporting cast, and even his villains, as his final nigh...oh, yeah. Spoiler alert. Batman's identity gets revealed to the world by Scarecrow and he and Alfred potentially die.
If you get the 100% ending, you get a weird bit where a demonic-looking Batman takes out two thugs in an alley...but I didn't get the 100% ending, seeing as the ending where Wayne Manor blows up makes more sense in my head.
Also, despite his compensation issues, if I ever go solving all of the Riddler's riddles, it'll be by accident. Like all the Arkham games and the Batman mythos in general, he's just...really, really annoying. Why Bats doesn't out gadget him and beat the snot out of him, rather than play his really rather stupid game is beyond me.
So, in short. Good game. The combat is good, the gadgets are as fun as ever. The story is even good, even though it's a hodgepodge of a bunch of different Batman stories across multiple forms of media, though that works in its favor rather than as a detraction. Rocksteady dug deep into Batman lore to bring up some many things that I thought would never see the light of day in a Batman game, such as Man-Bat. I'd even say it's the best of the series, with my only real complaints being the Batmobile and the sudden introduction and the hiding of the fact that Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight. Because...reasons?
Batman: Arkham Knight is now avai-
Oh...yeah. The racetracks.
Yeah, I'm not reviewing those. Batman does not do NASCAR.
Batman: Arkham Knight is now available from Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.