Be The Batman. I thought this was a simple Hashtag or a line to sell Rocksteady’s latest, and final addition to the Batman Arkham games. But how wrong I was. In my first few hours playing this stunning game I realised this it’s actually Rocksteady’s big goal for Batman Arkham Knight and, even in the first few hours, they nail it as hard as one of Batman’s bone breaking take-downs.
Everything about BAK is pure quality and it’s the Batman game I’ve always wanted to play.
If you had checked out my previous gameplay diary, The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt on Death March Difficultly, you’ll know how much I love these open world games. I’ll also point out The Witcher one is still going to continue, but the little man below arrived a few weeks ago and slowed my gaming a little. Still, you can see he’s ready to Be The Batman Too:
— My Games Lounge (@MyGamesLounge) June 21, 2015
In this first entry I’m going to keep it to spoiler free impressions and a word on THAT review from Gamespot where they did another The Last of Us! These will continue daily this week until Friday when the special review will be ready.
Holy levels of detail Batman
My one and only bad Robin joke I promise!
One of my biggest issues with this generation of consoles so far, is the big titles that try to keep the game capable of working on the 360 and PS3. While they scale down and other technical changes. there is some serious limitations in doing so, and Batman Arkham Knight is proof of just that.
Everything in this game is made for the PS4 and Xbox One (I will not mention the PC version in fact, no one mention it… What PC version??) and you can see it in everything that happens. From the facial expressions, beautiful city and the drops of rain rolling down Batman’s mask as he talks on a holographic communicator.
It just looks utterly stunning.
Add to that a performance level that is magnificent. Not a stutter or a tear in the frames as they flow beautifully with the action whatever that might be.
One of the best looking in game engines I’ve seen on a console is The Order 1886 and, despite everything wrong with it as a game, it looked amazing. I’d argue Batman looks as good at times and does it all about 100 times faster too.
Characters like Jim Gordon, Robin, Catwoman, Scarecrow & The Arkham Knight, not to mention Batman himself, just look amazing whether in general gameplay or up close in conversation.
A Great and Rather Clever Start
I like to keep things as a surprise with games I really enjoy so, while it’s awesome to be part of MGL, its tough to hide from trailers and leaks. But Rocksteady made a very clever decision with the game and included so much of the gameplay mechanics and options very early in the game. All of the gameplay teased so far is pretty much from the first few hours of the game, including the awesome new suit that gives you the Fear Takedowns where you zip from one villain to the next taking them down one after the other.
That really does feel like The Batman!
And one thing that had to happen to truly give that authentic Batman experience is, The Batmobile! I was looking forward to finally experiencing a true representation of the Batmobile in a game since the old Mega Drive/Genesis Batman back in the 90s.
It’s safe to say this is a slight step up from the 16bit experience.
Now, despite doing a decent job on Project Cars Recently, I am not particularly great at racing games so I try not to get behind the digital wheel too much. But here you can’t stop yourself, I personally think they got the feel of it spot on. Battle mode is tricky to get used to in you have to hold down Left Trigger to enter that mode, but it really works nicely otherwise. There is a little overuse of the Batmobile to solve puzzles that may get tedious down the line but otherwise, its a beast and I love it.
Plot and gameplay wise they really make everything happen fast in the opening stages of the game, within a few hours your right in the thick of Scarecrow and The Arkham Knight’s madness and you get sucked along so much you may well lose track of time. A supposed one hour session lasted over 3, and I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty either!
In the game Batman is thrust into a situation where Scarecrow is about to unleash a toxin across Gotham and therefore most of the population evacuates but this is exactly what Scarecrow and The Arkham Knight wants. Because of this dramatic start you get introduced to a lot of the gameplay mechanics early. Attack and counter combat is as fluid as ever, and with the option to use environmental take-downs, stealing weapons and even teaming up for take-downs with your partners, everything just feels fantastic.
I can honestly say this is one of the best first impressions a game has ever left on me, and this continues as you go deeper but more on that tomorrow.
I know from my own experience that reviewing a game is tough and people can really have differing opinions. For example, Bound by Flame for me was a good game given the budget it was made on and worth playing. Others hated it and that perfectly in their rights to.
For me, the guy at Gamespot who gave Batman AK a 7 out of 10 has somewhat of a point in what he says. The Batmobile is more prevalent than I thought and it’s needed pretty regularly even in the first 10 hours of the game I’ve played so far. But it’s the key gameplay mechanic for this title, it’s what the game is mainly based around it it was always going to be the case.
I get it’s his own take on the experience but I also this the score reduction due to it is way out of line with what the game is showing so far.
All I will say is, expect the Batmobile to take a large chunk of the experience and if you really hate all forms of racing/driving in games, it will be less impressive for you. It’s possible to get around without it and swoop high in the sky, zipping around with your grapple and launch ability and sometimes I’ve been doing that to break up the Batmobile missions, just to keep things different.
So far I can honestly say this is up with the best of the games available on the new consoles right now, time will tell if I think it is THE best but it certainly has the potential after a magnificent start. More tomorrow gamers!