We gamers love a good distraction while we play, and over the past few days I’ve been enjoying the various optional missions in Batman Arkham Knight  with some great moments to be found. Previous editions of this gameplay diary have shown that the Main Plot Makes a Great Start and that the Voice Acting is Awesome (Mild Spoilers in this one) especially for the villains. But here, it’s all about Gotham’s Most Wanted.

Again, I will point out that I may divulge some mild !SPOILERS! on the game but I won’t reveal anything major other than a few characters that appear early on..

And it’s exactly this that makes the side quests so good: the characters. Batman has a number of enemies and we know that they are all completely mad, sadistic or a combination of the two. As you play you use the D-Pad as your mission selector and choose from a number of available missions including some colourful characters.

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Gotham’s Most Wanted is a number of cases left unsolved that the police cannot handle, so you need to go out there as Batman and apprehend the criminals. This paced really nicely, there are moments where the story gets to a nice break where you will be waiting on some piece of tech being made by Fox or an update from an NPC. While you can go straight there and carry on, you are encouraged to look at some of the cases and bring in some of the criminals.

The Arkham Knight plays a part in a few of these, the militia are building up their presence around Gotham and a number of side missions see you taking out vehicles, soldiers and bombs. Yes, there are explosives planted all over the city and you need to hack it and blow it up safely. This is the standard, activate something and wait while wave of enemies come at you; after they are defeated you are free to carry on and, in this case, destroy the bomb.

While I say the word standard I only mean that as a way to describe the mission since the actual action is Batmobile combat so it’s actually lots of fun. You enter battle mode and blow up the drones and as you level up your Batmobile you can do some nice tricks to stay ahead too. Other missions similar to this are quicker such as hunting down vehicles and freeing buildings military control but all are kept nice and separated so you can see exactly where you are up to and what you need to do next.

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The best side missions are those lead by a Batman classic villain and both Two Face (Troy “My Voice is In All Games For the Next 30years” Baker) and Penguin (Nolan “Whoops! I revealed The Last of Us 2” North) have a nice part to play in the game. Two Face and his gang are robbing banks and you have to take down his men while they attempt to rob the place. The faster you take them down the better your score. Once you take them out you have to survive being the hunted instead of the hunter as they all pile in and try and kill you.

As a fan of the predator style of play I really enjoyed these missions, they are a nice challenge too that you can replay so it’s worth having a few goes at them.

As for The Penguin, he and his gang are trading in weapons and Nightwing is tracking them across town. In these missions you track some of Penguin’s goons to his hideout then take out the gang in partnership with Nightwing and this leads to some really cool fights and combos! Flicking between the two characters to build up your combos is awesome in itself but then there are the team-take-downs that have you both working together to knock enemies out and it all works so smoothly.

Both of these make for a fun distraction but there is a case to say Two Face and The Penguin are big enough villains to get more than a few side missions that are not overly difficult to complete. They do make the game a deeper experience, but perhaps they could have more influence… although they may down the line as I’m not finished just yet.

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My two favourite distractions are The Perfect Crime murder mystery where random bodies are all across Gotham with strange opera music playing and a corpse with no identity. With Batman’s abilities this isn’t so bad however, you simply scan them to find out who they are based on tissue scars or muscle problems. It a nice change of pace and an interesting case to investigate with, hopefully an interesting conclusion.

But you can’t really see past the Riddler for the main distraction since you are always looking to solve those riddles, find the trophies and save Catwoman! This time he has you jumping through hoops to help Selena escape an exploding collar, which has you doing a variety of challenges, however a number of these involve the Batmobile.

Now, I like the car, while some people are not fans of it I personally think it’s cool, but the negative with this game so far is the over use of it to solve puzzles. These challenges are not best use of the iconic car of the Dark Knight.

Saying that, they are not bad but they do lack the same enjoyment of all the other gameplay options. The Riddler himself is very entertaining and I really do find it impossible to resist trying to get those trophies, the worst ones have to be when you CAN’T get them without an upgrade you didn’t use yet!! Nightmare.

Add a few other things to get involved with including a maniac burning buildings and a strange creature flying around you have a massive amount of things to do outside of the main story missions. I really like them, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are all really amazing and rich like the adventures you can find in The Witcher for example. But as a break from the main plot they work nicely and each of them has a gameplay mechanic that makes them a little different to what you may have experienced in other games.

But now it’s back onto the story! More coming up gamers, keep in My Games Lounge for more Batman Arkham Knight as we build up to the final review.

Game On

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