Batman: Arkham Knight – The Grand Finale – Minor Spoilers!

Batman AK 6The Rocksteady series of Batman games have been some of the best and undoubtedly, one of the best super hero games to date. Does Arkham Knight follow suit? Yes, yes it does.

So this is the first and last of the series to run on next generation consoles and its safe to say, it didn’t go well. It seems as if a lot of games designed for the next-gen consoles seem to have huge optimisation issues on the PC. The issue was so bad, it led to WB pulling it from PC sale until its at a good standard. Now considering I played it on the Xbox One, I can’t complain. The low runner in the current generation, the expectations aren’t for 1080p, 60 FPS, 4K sorta’ stuff but it held its own and looked gorgeous. Visually the game was stunning (as ever) but we suffer from the issue of ‘Detective Mode’. The X-ray vision is almost in current use if you’re trying to find something among the clutter of buildings and lights. Orange people normally mean some sort of outpost and any respectful completionist will get all of these. The same goes for the ridiculous amounts of Riddler trophies and riddles, just so you can fight him. While you’re in detective mode, you are taken out of the world. Your view of the world is a menagerie of blues and oranges with a range of a couple hundred yards and finding anything outside of this view is near impossible without an online guide. I’ll never deny how useful this device is, in fact it has aided me in my near completion of the game. However, given the chance, I would like to be able to find things in the world substantially easier. I don’t want to wait for intel and I don’t want to spend hours looking for the firemen in obscure areas of the map that you just can’t admire.

But enough about that. Lets talk about what we are really here for. The story, the story of the Bat. Turns out the antidote against Joker’s blood in Arkham City didn’t actually fix anything. Batman is left with the blood coursing through his veins and is in a desperate chase to find a cure. While doing so, Scarecrow and the goonies decide to take over Gotham with the help of the Arkham Knight. A face completely unknown to Batsie until clues are literally slapped across your face like a wet fish. Perhaps a slightly more subtle approach would have created a huge gasp of excitement and glee but considering I can’t remember much of the previous games, the clues gave me a good reminder. So, the Knight and his Militia crew join forces with Scarecrow, Penguin and Two-Face to take down Batman. Batman AK 1Penguin and Two-Face supply the goods and Scarecrow gases the whole city in a new fear toxin while the Arkham Knight orchestrates it all in an attempt to kill Batman. All very simple and understandable. However, it runs for quite some time. You can either divert and do the side-missions for each villain in the game or you can plough on with the main quest as you are haunted by the Joker which was honestly my favourite part of the whole thing. I spent 2 days playing, with at least 20 hours in game with a respectable ending percentage. All the side quests were fun, the stories were intriguing but the boss battles at the end were repetitive.

Repetitive, how? you ask. There is very little skill involved in beating these bosses. With a 3 or 4 stage sequence that doesn’t alter as you progress, it feels like the mechanics never change. In fact, one of them isn’t even a boss fight. You simply have to keep pace with them while they wear themselves out, 4 times. The combat is good but the nature of repeating yourself 3 times for the majority of the bosses lacks any individuality or excitement. Its a turd in the industry of boss fighting. We get very little variation from a platform based game like Dante’s Inferno because they are limited to that scale but you had to put some sort of effort in. Simply brute forcing it would get you no-where while this, you can do very easily, especially when the AI is stupid enough to run in front of Batman’s new tank. I’m not saying its all bad. The combat is still fluid, even though you still occasionally leap from one side of the room to the next, you still get that sense of achievement when you wipe out a room of goons with a few tactical advantages, even more so when its an uninterrupted combo streak. I previously mentioned the Batmobile and honestly, its incredible. Its rotation capabilities and speed is great and the combat missions with them is so much fun. Outnumbered by 40 other tanks, they have balanced it enough to be quite the task if you aren’t paying attention and extremely fast paced.

Honestly the games haven’t changed much from what they were. Is it a worthy send off for the series? Hell yes. Should you get it? Hell yes. Is it the greatest game? No. Yes we have many big name voices that give depth to the characters such as Telltale’s Dave Fennoy who voiced Lee in the Walking Dead episodical series, John Nobel who voice Scarecrow. Mark Hamill who recites his role as The Joker and my favourite, Troy Baker, who voices a whole host of characters. The cast is simply perfect. The voice acting was spot on but the audio was an issue. It was never very clear or just cut off all of a sudden. Some things were simply too loud while others were so quiet, you hear half the conversation among the various other environmental sounds and people chatting over others is a huge annoyance. In all fairness, I can’t reward it for its poor optimisation for PC users. That is a huge cock-up and a mark down and the elongated story that could have ended 5 times earlier were enough to make me wonder about the vast knowledge these super villains are supposed to have, even more so with Riddler. Honestly, in what world is shooting buttons in the order they light up or racing through an underground track deemed as a puzzle!? Its almost as if this instalment has taken the best of the previous and done very little to improve or derive something new, compelling and extreme enough to be any bit daring. Enjoyable, stunning and good fun, the game deserves a 7/10. Taking into factor the poor launch with a 3.5GB day one update and the general predictability, this could have been the greatest in the series but it played it way to safe.

Batman AK 2

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Posted on 30/06/2015, in Games, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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