Batman: Arkham Knight Reviews

  • ForsythedForsythed199,449
    06 Jul 2015
    16 9 16
    Finally, the conclusion to Rocksteady's fantastic series of Arkham games has arrived. Having been delayed twice, Arkham Knight was subject to some pretty intense anticipation. Thankfully, it lives up to the Arkham name and the Rocksteady quality that we've all grown accustomed to.

    Let's start off with the story. Since Arkham Asylum released way back in 2009, Rocksteady have consistently provided us with stories that stay true to the Batman lore, while still giving us fresh and exciting stories to play through. Arkham Knight is no exception - it tells us a solid story that sees Bruce Wayne coming up against a physical force much stronger than anything he's faced before all while battling with his own personal demons. There's no let up in the pace; every section of the story feels necessary and keeps you wanting to find out more. When I first heard that Scarecrow would be the main villain I was a bit disappointed, probably because of the somewhat lame portrayal he's had recently. Don't get me wrong, I loved Cillian Murphy's take on the character, but I feel that in both Nolan's universe and Arkham Asylum, he never felt like a real threat to Batman. That's all changed now, and I have a new found respect for Scarecrow! In typical Scarecrow fashion, he wants to flood Gotham with his fear toxin to make everyone crazy scared, and obviously it's up to our favourite brooding orphan to stop him. What stops this from being a generic story is the inclusion of the Arkham Knight, a mysterious new character. He comes armed with a huge army with the sole intention of killing the Batman. It's this military threat that adds another layer of jeopardy to the story as the GCPD themselves are under siege, leaving it up to Batman to single handedly restore peace to Gotham. It's interesting to witness the relationship between the Arkham Knight and Scarecrow - they're working together but it's clear as the story progresses that they both have slightly different intentions and that has an impact on how they work together, certainly towards the end of the game.

    *** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

    The side quests provide exposure for secondary villains, much in the same way they've worked in the past games. Penguin, Two-Face, Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn all make appearances in ways that feel relevant to the rest of the story, which is great. It adds to the feeling of immensity of the task that Batman has. Riddler is in there too, leaving his trophies around and setting clues. He's also found time and money to set up race tracks which were great fun to do. His story also has a bit more weight to it this time round as he's kidnapped (catnapped?) Catwoman, so that adds a proper sense of danger rather than just mild annoyance at Riddler for leaving his shit everywhere. Collecting his trophies is still a drag though, just be glad that your progress carries over into New Game+! Man-Bat, Hush, Professor Pyg, Fire Fly and Deacon Blackfire crop up too, though it doesn't feel like any of them should be there and they act more like filler than having any meaningful story behind them.

    All the stories in Arkham Knight get tied up at the end, and there's no residual feeling of wanting more information. My only gripe (and it's a minuscule detail) is how Batman basically walks off getting shot by the Knight in one scene. Other than that, the story is strong.

    Part of what makes the story so good is the voice work. Once again, we have Kevin Conroy return to the cowl. For me, and many others who grew up watching 'The Animated Series' Conroy IS Batman. He doesn't disappoint in AK, his usual low gravely tones were enough to transport me straight into the heart of Gotham. Mark Hamill also returns and is on top form with the madness he can put into the Joker's voice. Scarecrow is voiced by John Noble (Denethor in LOTR). For his performance, I have one word. Tremendous. What Mark Hamill does for the Joker, Noble does for Scarecrow. Coupled with Scarecrow's updated look, the character really comes alive which adds to the overall game to no end. Commissioner Gordon has a new voice too - Jonathan Banks. Best known for his role as Mike in 'Breaking Bad', that unfortunately plays against him here. Every time Gordon spoke, I found myself thinking of Mike which detracts from the immersion of the game. He does a good job, although perhaps a little bit emotionless when talking about Barbara Gordon, it's just the actor's previous work that I couldn't distance myself from. That's one of the dangers of hiring recognisable people to work. I won't bother saying much about Troy Baker or Nolan North. They're great as always!

    Nick Arundel, who did the music for Asylum and City returns to compose music. It's atmospheric, reminiscent and is in keeping with his previous work. The soundtrack feels just like an evolution of what's come before which makes the world really come alive.

    Moving onto the gameplay side of things, I would say that Arkham Knight takes all the good from the previous entries and improves on them. The combat is slick as every and retains the immense satisfaction you get from taking down a room full of thugs. It flows beautifully and there's enough variation in the enemies you'll face to keep you on your toes about what tactics and gadgets you'll need to use to beat them.

    Moving around the beautifully detailed Gotham City is better than it has ever been. Gliding is now a lot quicker than it was in Arkham City which is a blessing, so getting from A to B doesn't feel like such a chore any more. You may have heard about the Batmobile. It's something the fans have been desperate to do finally comes to fruition. It handles great, feels like a solid tank and the combat is sturdy. I would highly recommend changing the control scheme to toggle tank mode on and off - it'll make it a hell of a lot easier in combat situations and will make the driving controls more like a driving game. The missions you do in the Batmobile are a great way to break up the gameplay so that nothing gets boring. The only Batmobile bits I didn't enjoy were the puzzles; they felt unnecessary and only stood to delay you form getting to your destination.
    There's a lot less detective work in Knight as there has been in previous games, which is a shame. Batman is a detective as well as a bad ass fighter, so to have more of his intelligence shown would have been good. These scenes work much the same as they ever have - find something, scan it, follow the trail or piece together what happened in a scene by finding clues and sticking them together. I can understand that people may not have enjoyed these parts so much, so whether it's a plus that there's not so many will be up to you.

    Graphically, this game is beautiful. While not photo-realistic (which is no bad thing!) by any means, all the characters have a sense of life about them, and move and talk in ways that are just incredible. Because Batman is adapted from comic books, the art style is real enough while still staying true to that. Gotham has never looked better - the lighting reflects of surfaces in such a way that I found myself stopping to admire the bill boards and advertisements that are scattered across the city. The rain also is astounding, landing on Batman's cape and rolling off in droplets that look intensely real. Gliding through Gotham in the rain makes you feel like Batman in Gotham; that's how it would feel to be the Caped Crusader. Gotham also feels more alive. Groups of thugs roam the streets and start riots police cars go racing past in pursuit of criminals. There's a lot more going on in Gotham other than Scarecrow taking over.

    Overall Arkham Knight is a fantastic game and if it is to be Rocksteady's last Batman game then it certainly is ending on a high. It's taken all the positive things from before and improved upon them, leaving this as the best game in the series in my opinion. A definite must have for all Batfans out there. I only have a couple of negatives - Riddler trophies were boring as ever to collect, I didn't see the need for some of the extra villains, I think it would have been better to include some of the bigger name villains such as Bain or Mr. Freeze. Also, I could have done without the puzzles in the Batmobile - they were tedious and only felt like a hindrance. Other than that, a compelling story, audibly great, solid gameplay and plenty of side quests to keep you busy. Coupled in with the AR challenges and the forthcoming DLC, Arkham Knight will be staying in your disk drive for a while to come, especially if you want all those achievements!
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    Brushwagg42Forsythed, loved your review. Well-written, fair and to the point. I agree that AK is a fantastic game. It also looks absolutely stunning on the XsX.
    Posted by Brushwagg42 on 08 Feb 21 at 20:55
    Rigpig1919Great game, great review. Thanks👍
    Posted by Rigpig1919 on 01 Apr 21 at 04:43
    ForsythedGlad you liked it, all this time later!

    Was thinking I might replay this, just saw it’s on GamePass...
    Posted by Forsythed on 06 Apr 21 at 11:34
  • Mr VelezbianMr Velezbian363,257
    28 Jul 2015
    3 4 0
    *Note: This review contains mild spoilers. A more in depth look on some of my thoughts that include spoilers are hidden at the end and are optional.*
    The Batman: Arkham series that started back in 2009 with Asylum has since become an icon in the industry. It changed the way consumers and developers look at ways to use comic book properties in video games. The series has always been immersive, passionate, and of the highest of quality. It is all the more impressive when noted that developer Rocksteady had only a single game published prior to bringing to light their concept for a game starring the Caped Crusader. Even WB Montreal did a fine job of keeping the universe in sync when they delivered their prequel Arkham Origins. It has been a long six years or so, but the team at Rocksteady has done nothing but impress each time and they delivered immensely within Arkham Knight.

    Arkham Knight takes place nine months after the events of Arkham City. *SPOILER* In light of the Joker’s death, crime is at an all-time low. It is a case of too much of a good thing, and Commissioner Gordon knows that it cannot last. It is Halloween, and Scarecrow has plans to make it a long one. Mirroring events of the classic Batman comic The Long Halloween, Gotham is evacuated after Scarecrow warns of an imminent city-wide fear toxin attack. Batman and the entire GCPD are called to action as criminals and riots wreak havoc all over the mostly abandoned city. As soon as players are granted control of the Dark Knight, you can feel the true depth the game has. As you are perched, a grand vision of Gotham lay right in front of you. It is the most alive the city has felt across any of the games. Police choppers scan the area, crooks speed by in cars, and a city of equal parts old and new all meld together with a heartbeat you can feel. As the rain runs down your cape, the power of our new shiny current gen systems has hit a new peak. Complete with gorgeous cinematic moments, this is the best looking game on new consoles without a doubt.

    As the story develops, players learn more about Scarecrow’s plans for the night. When the game was first announced, the world learned that an all new villain schemed up by DC and Rocksteady was in the works. That villain is the titular antagonist, the Arkham Knight. He and Crane have teamed up to bring an end to the legacy of Batman. While Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow is openly angry about having been crippled by the Batman and his abuse of power, Arkham Knight’s needs for vengeance are a mystery. What we do know is that he has a well-equipped, well-trained army at his side and that he will stop at nothing to kill the Batman. This is a notion that is not only foreshadowed in the game, but in the TV spots as well. “This is it. This is how the Batman died.” Batman always has contingency plans, and there was no chance that he was going down without a fight.

    Arkham Knight introduces some new toys into the mix as past games in the series have done. This time around the most notable are the new and improved Batsuit V8.03 and the nearly indestructible Batmobile. Both of these tools in his ever growing arsenal come by way of necessity. There is a war to be fought, and Batman needs the upgrades to survive. The Batsuit is by far one of the coolest and most original in the entire history of Batman. It is designed for protection, flexibility, and speed. It allows players to do a new form of takedown called “Fear Takedown.” This lets Batman sneak up on multiple enemies and take them out in a connective flow. It also allows for faster grapnel boost which make for traversing the open world of Gotham a breeze. Traveling by way of the Batmobile is also a blast. It’s fast and easy to control for the most part. The only complaint here is that the traditional brake button (back left trigger on most platforms) is how to switch to the tank mode. It is something that you shake off naturally, but initially is hard to avoid making the mistake. The tank, in my opinion, is a great addition. I have read a lot that the Batmobile nearly ruined the game for them, but I disagree. It is true that it is over used, but otherwise it is a thrill to experience for the first time. It comes with classic afterburners, space for friend and foe alike, and added abilities that further the already deep combat system. When in a fight within the proximity of your vehicle, you can build a combo meter that allows you to take down an enemy with the help of the tanks non-ballistic weaponry. Batman can also launch out of the Batmobile at intense speeds to help ramp up traversal. There are many cool features it can do, like be remote controlled and ride around walls, but to avoid over using it in the review as it was in the game I will leave those for the players to experience.

    The tight controlling combat is back, and works like a breeze. There is a newer upgrade system that is more sectionalized to what you specifically want, as in Batmobile upgrades or Combat upgrades. This lets you pick and choose more as opposed to a single branching upgrade tree. This is one of the ways it has about as much depth as a typical RPG would. There are also Gotham City Stories to unlock that further the lore, and in-depth character descriptions and models. It is jam packed with detail, whether it be written or physical. So much of the city is destructible and ripe for exploration. The docks are grimy and wet, there are abandoned structures and sewage ways, and brightly lit intersections that mimic Times Square. The development team no doubt spent hundreds and hundreds of hours perfecting their most grand rendition of not only the Dark Knight, but of his home city as well.

    There are plenty of side stories to explore in your spare time or post story. Whether it is stopping local villains like Two Face and Penguin or reducing the Arkham Knights chokehold on Gotham, there is a good variety of missions to pursue. Unfortunately within these side missions there is very little variety to be found. Increasing difficulty does not substitute for diverse content. For instance, Two Face’s side story involves stopping his thugs from robbing the various unprotected banks around Gotham. Each is set up as a predator style mission, where at first you stealthily take down foes, and then fight a second wave that is aware you are there. It is like this each time with no change in their initial behavior, few dialogue changes, and similar banks. It’s a shame because many of the side missions are like this, also lacking any real boss fights. Boss fights have been a staple in the series, for better or for worse. It is not to say there is none in the game, but most of the few present are underwhelming. Several side missions require the tank as well, so no dynamic changes are expected of those either. It is also really unfortunate that players do not get to see the villains really work together as was expected from the trailers. Only Arkham Knight and Scarecrow really work together, and even then I do not think there is a moment where you see them in the same room together. You get to do these big sprawling defensive tank battles that are awesome at first but slowly fizzle out.

    The best thing to come out of the side missions is that we get to see Batman work together with his allies side by side for the first time ever. Nightwing, Catwoman, and Robin are all present here. Best of all is they are all playable as well. Players can jump back and forth between characters while in fights while also building up a co-op takedown that links the two together. After these awesome takedowns, you are automatically switched back to the opposite player. These feature brings together something classic from the Batman universe that we have not gotten to experience so naturally before. It works out great, and it’s awesome to be able to experience fights as other famous DC faces. These are not the only people Batman has at his sides though.

    My favorite thing about this game is that Mark Hamill came back, and it was thankfully for most of the game. “But Joker is dead, how can that be?” you may be asking. Through a series of events, Batman has hallucinations and can see the Joker. If you are a fan of the Showtime series Dexter, you will absolutely understand why this is so great. Joker serves almost as a bad conscious for Bruce Wayne, popping up at the worst times and taunting him. Hamill serves some of the most well written and hilarious dialogue from the whole series here. Not only that but during segments of the game he will lead you to the next spot if you inherently get stuck. He can be seen waving a thumb at a gate switch, or calling you names as he mentions sly remarks as to where you should be. Though the game could have worked without the Jokers presence, he fits so perfectly into the overall psyche of the game and really picks the brain of the Dark Knight.

    Hamill as the Joker and the timeless Kevin Conroy as Batman are a dream team as usual. With the supporting cast also doing great, it’s no surprise here that the dialogue is top notch. John Noble’s Scarecrow is terrifying and punctual in the best way possible. Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad fame takes up the role of Commissioner Gordon and really embodies a gruff man with emotional ties to his job. The ever popular Troy Baker is also present, reprising his role as Harvey Dent aka Two Face. He also does well as a few other characters, most notably the angry and mysterious Arkham Knight. Crisp sounds fill the game with ease and really set the mood. The Dark Knight’s fluid movements bring him to life with a swoop of his cape and impact of his punch. The Batmobile feels like the real deal, slinging mud while you drift and revving it up as your controller vibrates to tie it all together. On par with the impressiveness of the voice acting is the beautiful score. Equal parts classical and eerie, it brings shivers to my skin even after 30 hours of gameplay. It echoes the intensity of Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer’s Dark Knight Trilogy while keeping the deep orchestral tunes of Batman: The Animated Series fame.

    Batman Arkham Knight is a masterpiece, there is no doubt about it. Being such a big fan makes it hard not to be biased, but I can see where the game fell short. I am always going to want more from the universe, and the lack of dynamic side missions or boss fights hurt it. The over use of the Batmobile and massive amount of Riddler trophies also made for tedious moments too. Where the developers dropped the ball however, they certainly more than
    made up for everywhere else. Top notch production within the graphics and voice acting made for one of the highest quality games I have ever played. Aside from the troubling PC issues, the game rarely ever underperformed on my Xbox One and ran beautifully. Some big moments in the main story fall flat, but it has enough immersive moment and twists that you will not second guess it one bit. Arkham Knight brings end to an era of wonderful games that may never be topped. It is a work of art and a homage to fans of Batman and gamers alike.

    *Originally posted on (check it out for more of my reviews)
    Thanks for reading!
  • Mr BlackMagikMr BlackMagik1,484,582
    28 Jun 2015 28 Jun 2015
    5 7 2
    *Originally posted at

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    Batman Arkham Knight is the third and final entry to the Rocksteady Batman series. Packed with villains, the biggest open world of the series, the Batmobile, and more. Does Arkham Knight go out in a bang? Or is this just another killing joke? Read on to find out!

    Set nine months after the events of Arkham City (AC), Arkham Knight (AK) sees the rise of a tandem duo in Scarecrow and the menacing new villain Arkham Knight. The story focuses around these two villains but plenty of others show up in the form of side missions. In contrast to how villains in AC were handled, AK relegates all villains other than the core duo to these side missions. All of them are completely optional from the main story yet add to the life of the city. The Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, Firefly, and even a few surprises make an appearance as Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight are keeping Batman occupied.

    As previously stated, the side missions can be completely skipped but they can serve as a way to mix up the gameplay. The Riddler missions, for example, have Batman solving puzzles and riddles to save Catwoman. In the Two-Face missions, a new stealth element comes into play which allows you to perform loud takedowns without alerting the other enemies. Another has you solving mysterious murders. The manner in which these missions were implemented is exceptional and gives players the option of playing the story, side missions, or mixing both into their playthrough.

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    One feature that doesn’t have as much player choice is the Batmobile. Right from the start it is evident that the Batmobile is a central part of the game. It’s used during story missions, side missions, AR challenges, and until you get a few upgrades it’s the fastest way around the city. I welcomed the Batmobile as a fresh new mechanic to the Arkham series. The seamlessness is what really sold me. The ability to drive down a street, switch to Battle Mode to destroy a few enemy tanks, switch back to driving mode, eject and glide into the air, and then land back into the Batmobile down the street is amazing.

    One aspect that I feel the Batmobile undeservedly took over was the AR Challenges (challenge maps in previous games). The Combat and Predator challenges have been a hallmark of the Arkham series since Asylum. While AC arguably had too many, AK has too little. As of writing this review, there are 23 challenges: 15 Batmobile, 4 Predator, and 4 Combat. The Batmobile challenges are divided into racing, combat, and hybrid. While these challenges can be fun, I can’t forgive the decision to drastically reduce the number of Combat and Predator challenges. For comparison: Arkham Asylum has 8 Combat and Predator maps while AC has 12 of each (half normal, half extreme). AC also included Campaign maps which combined three Predator or Combat maps along with modifiers. Not to mention the later DLC allowed you to play with Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing (all of which are playable in AK) in the challenges. It’s possible more AR Challenges will be added with later DLC, and even the ability to play with other characters, but as of now this is a serious step back from the previous titles.

    The other hallmark of the Arkham series is the combat. Fret not, the combat is still as smooth as ever. With the same base controls as the previous games, AK adds a few small additions that make it new and fresh. Special moves make a return with the usual two-button combos allowing Batman to perform a variety of different takedowns. The quick fire gadgets are also back allowing Batman to use Batarangs, Explosive Gel, Smoke Pellets, Freeze Grenades, and Electric Charges during the heat of combat. The new additions come in the form of three takedowns: Fear, Environmental, and Batmobile assisted. The Fear takedowns allow you to quickly dispatch multiple enemies before you begin a fight. Once fully upgraded you can sneak up behind a group of five enemies and trigger a slow motion sequence in which Batman zips from one enemy to the next taking each down in quick succession. The environmental takedowns can be used when an interactable object, which is displayed with a blue glow, is in the area. These include light fixtures, electrical boxes, and other objects that Batman can use to instantly K.O. even the largest of enemies. Finally, the Batmobile assisted takedowns can be performed during combat when the Batmobile is in the area. When an enemy glows blue (which is also the trigger for the Environmental takedowns, Fear is yellow) Batman can knock an enemy into the air for the Batmobile to hit him with a stunning shot.

    The story of AK revolves around Scarecrow trying to take down Batman now that Joker is out of the way. With a plan to mass produce his fear toxin and use it on the entire city, Batman must team up with friend and foe alike to save the Gotham yet again. The Arkham Knight is a central figure to the story. A mysterious character who appears to have extensive knowledge on Batman and displays expertise in combat and military strategy. His identity is revealed by the end of the game, but I'll leave that for you to find out. It's worth noting that the "true" ending doesn't occur until after the player initiates the "Knightfall protocol" after reaching 100% game completion (which I have yet to do). The story in AK is much improved over the jumbled mess in AC, thanks to focus of a few villains while the rest appear in side missions.

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    The world of Arkham Knight is what holds all of these different aspects together. From finding side missions while gliding around, to roaming the streets in your badass Batmobile, Arkham Knight is the best Batman experience yet. Even the chatter from the thugs around the street with lines such as, “How many billionaires does it take to make a superhero? Three. Two to die and one to never get over it.” But nothing is perfect. Arkham Knight does have its issues including a heavy focus on the Batmobile which causes other areas to take a step back, ill-placed tutorials which lead me to write this article, and a few other small items. But don’t let those steer you away from this masterpiece. Fans of Batman, the Arkham series, and action games in general will enjoy Arkham Knight. Rocksteady Studios did an amazing job with this franchise and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

    + Graphics
    + Combat
    + Side missions
    + Arkham Knight
    + Seamless transition with Batmobile
    - Number of Combat and Predator Challenges
    - Weird tutorial system

    Score: 9.5/10 "Amazing"