Let me start off by saying what I liked about Batman: Arkham Knight.
- The controls and game-play maintain themselves considerably well. The video-game doesn't offer a whole lot of deviations from what we had seen with the other titles, but I look at it with a "if it ain't broke" attitude.
- The graphics are terrific. None of the Batman titles are a slouch in this department, but Knight really makes for some brilliant visuals and a terrific landscape to explore.
- The story has interesting psychological themes, tinkering with a lot that had been discussed in other titles, particularly the conceptualizations around The Joker and Batman's need for each other. Mark Hamill is hilarious in his role as well, and is easily my favorite part about the game.
Make no mistake about it, Batman: Arkham Knight is a fun and enjoyable experience from beginning to end. Hours upon hours of game-play, I found myself immersed enough in the offerings to finish the video-game in three mere sittings. But alas, that doesn't necessarily speak high-volumes about it, and in-fact, I find Batman: Arkham Knight to be the weakest title of all four video-games in the series. Here's what I didn't like about it:
- The game-play was mostly copy-and-paste of what we had already seen, and doesn't offer a whole lot new in the gadget department, but the biggest issue is that I find myself feeling a lot less in-control. I find myself shooting all-over with the grapple-hook. The stealth has always taken a noticeable hit. Frankly, the stealth just doesn't feel fun anymore. I asked my friends about it, and they said they found themselves just beating up the guards because of how simplified and uninspired it seemed.
- The Joker isn't even alive in this video-game, but he takes the role of main-antagonist by a country mile. I like Mark Hamill, and I REALLY like The Joker, but four video-games in a row with him as the lead is too much. Batman has a lot of villains and one that's front-and-center shouldn't be taking a backseat. Also, my favorite part about the Batman games might very well be the dynamic between Bats and Mister J, but in this one, I feel like it just seemed forced. They took what had been built organically and escalated it and made it less special for me. The idea that they complete each other is terrific, but in this one, it spells it out about a million times.
- Scarecrow sucks. In Asylum, Scarecrow is one of the best parts about it, and that's why I was so excited that he'd be taking the main-role as bad guy. But we didn't end up getting Scarecrow in this one. Instead, we receive a brooding character that gives lame speeches about fear and doesn't nothing really memorable.
- The Arkham Knight was predictable. In-fact, I called it before I even booted it up for the first time. It was THAT obvious, in-fact, it was so obvious that I was sure they'd do something different in spite of it.
- No Real Boss Battles
- The Batmobile damn-near ruins it. I remember listing the Batmobile as something I wanted in Arkham Knight, but honestly, now I wish they would've left it in the garage. Too many puzzles are based around it, and while we don't get any REAL boss-battles, the closest thing we do get is these terrible missions involving his stupid car. I am sounding petty, but they really were too abundant and it killed a lot of my enjoyment.
- The side-missions are weak. Nothing memorable to see here.
I sound more negative than I am meaning to come off. Batman: Arkham Knight has a lot for it. Even when an Arkham game does something bad, it never really does it THAT bad. Mark Hamill's voice-acting is spectacular and the dynamic of his character remains the most powerful thing about the series, even if it does feel a little saturated. The controls remain fun, and it's still a blast to see the world of Gotham, but the story itself is riddled in cliche and finds itself too dependent on characters like Mark Hamill to keep gamers tuned in the whole way through. I feel like a lot of critics have said it, but I think if the Batmobile wasn't so heavily featured, I'd find myself a lot more relenting on everything as a whole. Because there are some terrific moments in this. Some of the darker flashbacks involving The Joker are some of the best moments in all the Arkham series, and even if Arkham Knight was obvious, I still like the concept. The Batmobile was far too abundant, but there is fun to be had, it's just that for the long haul, it becomes tedious.
In the end, I do truly believe Batman: Arkham Knight to be my least favorite of all of them, (including Arkham Origins) but I still very much enjoyed it.
Rating: Very Good