The latest in the well-known Batman franchise has finally launched too much anticipation, but is Batman: Arkham Knight innovative enough to satisfy hungry gamers?
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Batman Battles For Gotham:
Batman: Arkham Knight is once again set in the infamous Gotham but this time Batman isn't just facing off versus the who's who of Gotham criminals, he is facing a criminal element that is well funded and has amassed an army of soldiers and even tanks!
The game takes place in the center of the city, which is split into three island areas, with various districts such as the neon-tinged Chinatown, and the industrial shipping yard.
This version of Gotham is approximately five times the scale of the open-air Arkham City prison in Arkham City and the criminal element has scattered throughout the war torn ghost town forcing the Bat to tackle them one by one all over the various sectors of the city.
If that doesn't sound bad enough, the Gotham Police department are woefully understaffed and offer little aid in Batman's quest to reel in the dangerous criminals now controlling all aspects of Gotham.
WTH Is Going On?
If you wondering how the criminals of Gotham were able to overtake the entire city you only need to hear one word…SCARECROW!
That's right; I said Scarecrow and not Joker.
You see, the JOKER IS DEAD!
At the start of the game the impressively detailed cinematic showcases the incineration of the Joker's carcass! However, this only serves to give false hope that the Joker and his evil doings are gone forever (we'll touch on this point a little later).
The entire plot of Batman: Arkham Knight Centers on the mastermind Scarecrow who develops a new stronger fear toxin. Scarecrow disperses that toxin upon a small portion of the Gotham population that literally tears each other apart when exposed.
Scarecrow then offers the remaining cities population the opportunity to evacuate the metropolitan before another batch of fear toxin is released.
The majority of the six million citizens of Arkham City take Scarecrow's offer to evacuate and that leaves the criminally insane to do as they wish with the city.
Only Batman and a small number of Gotham City Police are left behind to tackle the everyday thugs, as well as the criminal masterminds like Scarecrow.
If those odds were not already stacked against the Cape Crusader, throwing Scarecrow's mysterious, "Arkham Knight", partner into the equation certainly doesn't stack the odds in favor of the good guys.
Uh… I thought Batman Had A Partner too?
For the most part Robin is MIA during the most intense struggles that face Batman and the Gotham Police. Now, Robin didn't run and hide, in fact, he actually wants to be on the front lines with Batman but the Bat refuses to allow Robin to join the fight.
Now, you may be wondering why on earth Batman wouldn't want his partner by his side facing such huge obstacles. Well, the truth is he has Robin on a very important mission of his own.
You see before the Joker died, he donated his contaminated blood and purposely infected others with it. Currently six otherwise regular citizens were infected with the Jokers blood and are slowly turning into the Joker!
Only one of those six people has not displayed Joker like symptoms and Batman has Robin trying to create a synthetic cure from the lone unaffected person that can be distributed to the others that are infected.
This means Robin is stuck in the lab while Batman tackles the plaque that has engulfed Gotham.
Even though Robin is currently tied up with the Joker problem, Batman does have a few Allies left in the city that can help him try to retake "his" city.
Another awesome feature introduced in Arkham Knight is the "Dual Play".
This feature allows players to seamlessly switch control of Batman to one of his allies: Robin, Nightwing, or Catwoman while in Free Flow Combat.
Each successful, uninterrupted attack adds to the players' combat score, which carries over between each controlled character, and unlocks double-team takedowns on opponents at higher scores.
Below is a list of "allies" that fight alongside (or contribute in some way) to Batman.
Oracle: Oracle (Barbara Gordon) Daughter of Commissioner James Gordon and a former sidekick of Batman. Barbara's A.K.A Batgirl's days as a sidekick ended when the Joker shot her through the spine paralyzing her from the waist down forcing her into a wheelchair. Barbara now serves as Batman's technology expert, updating and aiding his missions!
Lucius Fox: Lucius Fox is an employee at Wayne Enterprises, and an ally to both Bruce Wayne and Batman. He is also the one who helps Bruce Wayne develop some of his gadgets, such as the armor of his suit.
Alfred Pennyworth: Alfred Pennyworth, after a varied career, was employed as the Wayne family's butler when Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Alfred raised the young orphan and reluctantly aided him in his quest to become the Batman.
Commissioner James Gordon: Police Commissioner James W. Gordon dedicated his career to cleaning up the corruption in the Gotham City Police Department, a goal he has come a long way towards accomplishing. He has been equally tough on crime, and in the pursuit of making Gotham City safe for all its citizens, Gordon has forged an uneasy alliance with Gotham's other top crime fighter, the mysterious vigilante known as Batman.
Nightwing: Raised by his parents, (Who were better known as the "Flying Graysons") in a circus, Dick Grayson was trained to be incredibly acrobatic. His parents were killed after criminals had failed to extort money from the circus. Dick Grayson was soon adopted by billionaire Bruce Wayne, who shared his secret identity and extensively trained the boy to become Batman's sidekick, the first Robin. After helping Batman for years, Grayson eventually moved on and become a hero. As Nightwing, he wandered both Gotham City and Blüdhaven, and worked with the Dark Knight no longer as a sidekick, but as an ally.
Catwoman: Selina Kyle, also known by her alias Catwoman, was an orphan who learned to survive on Gotham City's streets. She took to thievery to survive, but was determined to do it in her own style. She learned martial arts and trained extensively to perfect her own skills at cat burglary. Her criminal activities are often tempered by a reluctant altruism, making her an inconstant villain and occasional heroine. She steals objects with feline names or motifs. She regularly eludes capture by the Dark Knight, and maintains a complicated, adversarial relationship with Batman that frequently turns flirtatious and occasionally romantic. Both of them are strong allies.
Talia al Ghul: The headstrong daughter of Ra's al Ghul and on-again/off-again lover of Bruce Wayne, Talia al Ghul is second in command of the League of Assassins. A master of hand-to-hand combat and swordplay, Talia has dueled with Batman on several occasions and considers him an honorable opponent. Despite Batman's elusiveness, her attraction to him has only increased - an attraction that her father encourages in his mad quest for a male heir.
Talia knows that one day she may be forced to choose between her father and her beloved.
You're Gonna Love The New Battank:
Speaking of the Batmobile (AKA Apex Predator) this one of a kind Battank is fantastic and adds a whole new aspect to the game. The cosmetic features of the Batmobile are phenomenal ! The sleek black look and hardcore armored styling goes perfect with not only Batman but the dark and raining setting of Gotham!
Looks are fine and all but we know you want substance. This thing has to hit like a prime Mike Tyson right? The combat with the Batmobile is actually very simple and easier than you think. Battle mode is activated by holding L2 and by doing so you are able to strafe side to side and back to front. Now you do navigate at a much more decreased speed but that's a good thing, as pointed out in the tutorial it's much easier to maneuver in tight places and is much needed at most times. You will find yourself initiated in battle mode more often than driving mode.
The strafing is so well done it's like the Battank (this is what we like to call it) is gliding on ice. The little details of how the wheels move as you maneuver the tank just adds to the overall awesomeness of the vehicle.
Now let's not forget that Mike Tyson punch we are looking for. As far as destructive weapons go, the Apex has a stock rocket launcher mostly used in vehicle to vehicle combat, a rapid firing minigun for eliminating hostiles, and auto targeting missiles. There are a multitude of weapon upgrades you can purchase as you progress and "level up". It's a simple points based system with each upgrade offer various perks and coasting various points.
Learning and mastering the Battank is a must because you rely heavily on its capabilities throughout the game (don't skip that tutorial!).
The Batmobile isn't just for mass destruction; you will need the Batmobile to complete missions. Whether you need to pull, push, or latch onto something, the Batmobile can do it!
Counter Like Floyd Mayweather:
The hand to hand combat system in Batman: Arkham Knight is that of past versions. Veterans of previous Batman games will quickly fall right into place when using the hand to hand combat system.
With that said, if you want to live you better learn how to counter punch with the best of them. The good news is that countering is not intensely difficult it just takes a small portion of reflexes to do so.
But one cannot underestimate the use of the countering system when facing multiple attackers coming at you from all angles with not only their first but melee weapons as well. Not to mention the occasional football tackle added into the mix.
Just like with the Battank, in the hand to hand arena there are upgrades you can purchase to make your time dancing in the street easier and more effective for you as well.
Again, once you get in your combat groove, you will be able to better ascertain which upgrade will give you the most bank for the buck.
But I Want Melee Weapons Too:
Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros know what you like. This time around you can now wield enemy weapons like baseball bats and batons. Obtainable weapons are highlighted and can be picked up off the ground, or grabbed from an opponent after they've been stunned.
These melee weapons deal more damage and ignore enemy defenses, but can only be used for a limited time. You can purchase upgrades that increase the amount of time these weapons can be used for.
There are a ton of different combat moves and combinations available for use for Batman. It's important to follow the tutorials and generally get a good feel for what the Batman is capable of while you battle for the streets of Gotham.
As time passes and you start to develop a combat playing style it will allow for easier point pending for upgrades in areas you tend to use most and are most effective using.
It's Like Watching A Movie:
The cinematics are downright amazing! Considering it's a game revolving around combat I would hope to see decent cinematics involving any type of action or combat, but even non-combat cut scenes are fantastic.
In the very first cinematic shot (Joker being incinerated) the detail in the face of the Joker is astonishing and you keep waiting for him to pop open his eyes!
The cinematics that involve Batman are of course stunning. There is one cinematic where he is upgrading his standard suit to a stronger version and the detail and presentation of the switching of the suits keeps you entertained enough to watch the entire sequence from start to finish.
Then there are the close ups of Batman with a rain drenched Batsuit where you can see little details of not only the suit but the environment he is currently in as well.
The Battank is awesome by itself, but the cinematics make you feel like it is a real vehicle that has been customized to that Bat's taste.
These are just a few instances of where the cinematics shine, there are many more throughout the game that will certainly those with an eye for details happy.
Choose Your Path Wisely:
Batman: Arkham Knight features side missions that can be attempted at any time, and feature prominent characters from the Batman universe.
Batman is able to investigate crimes such as murders, using his scanner to locate clues and identify the perpetrators similar to the feature introduced in Arkham Origins.
Gone are the days of running from one point to another, just completing the game as fast as humanly possible. If you want to get lost in side mission after side mission you will certainly be as entertained as you are while completing the major objectives in the game.
You have a wide selection of gadgets to choose from such as the Batarang, Remote Electrical Charge Gun, Shock Gloves, Explosive Gel and more. You have a wheel like display that is activated by pressing down on the directional pad; this allows you to choose your desired gadget.
Within your gadgets menu you will find that you can remotely use the Batmobile to aid whichever mission you are partaking in. Specific missions will require using the Batmobile remotely.
In one such instance you will have to use the Batmobile to power objects serving as a portable generator, by doing this remotely it allows Batman to continue on his selected mission without interruption.
There is a wide diversity of gadgets to choose from and the specific gadget that I personally like so far is the plain and simple Batarang, it's fast, easy to fire, and stuns enemies with no problem.
This is an especially effective tool for fighting multiple enemies at once; you could say it acts as a ninja star. Because in reality you need something that will stun effectively and quickly, allowing you to stun and occupy multiple targets; thus giving you room to breathe in heavy combat situations.
Both the Batarang and the Remote Electrical Charge Gun are great gadgets to use versus a charging football tackle. If you hit the enemy right as he is about to charge you (red icon above his head) you can nullify the impending "rush" attack.
Coming in third place is the Explosive Gel. This nifty little gadget is small put powerful and was actually used in a combat situation, as a riot control tool. But the majority of the time it will only get used in destructible spots within Gotham.
At the end of the day, Batman: Arkham Knight keeps true to its original gameplay but adds a whole lot more to the gaming experience.
Although some gamers may find the combat system a little steep in difficulty, if you take the time to follow and learn from the tutorials and practice your various skillsets at every opportunity, you will quickly figure out what works and doesn't work for you.
The exact same advice should be heeded for the Battank. If you take the time to focus on how to properly maneuver the bad boy, it will quickly become your best friend and add an entirely separate feel to the game that is extremely enjoyable.
For those of you that have played and enjoyed previous Batman titles, you are going to love this! For those of you that didn't enjoy past versions, it doesn't matter; you're going to love this!
At the end of the day, Batman: Arkham Knight keeps true to its original gameplay but adds a whole lot more to the gaming experience. For those of you that have played and enjoyed previous Batman titles, you are going to love this! For those of you that didn't enjoy past versions, it doesn't matter; you're going to love this!(Krakrabbit.com)
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