OXCGN’s Batman: Arkham Knight Review


To say that I had high expectations for Batman: Arkham Knight would be an understatement. The Arkham series is one of my favourite franchises, and after having platinumed both Asylum and City (I would have platinumed Origins as well had there not been online trophies) I felt prepared to take on the Dark Knight’s final chapter. Arkham Knight is one of the prettiest, most enjoyable games to play that has thus far appeared on the next-gen consoles, and offers perhaps the tightest gameplay in a series renowned for exactly that. However, some odd story choices and lack of challenge maps hurt the overall product, as well as a number of audio and visual glitches that hampered my time with the game. I will note that I played the digital version of the game on PS4 which may have affected how the game plays when compared to the game reading from a physical disc – keep that in mind if you are considering downloading from the PlayStation Store. Since the game has been out for a week or so now, I am not going to shy away from spoilers when discussing story content, though I will relegate that section to the end of the review so that those who do not want anything spoiled for them can read my thoughts on the rest of the game. I will clearly mark when spoilers begin. That said, let’s dive in.

The Arkham series is known for it’s tight and fluid gameplay, and that legacy continues in Arkham Knight, with both Combat and Predator sections receiving just enough new kinks to totally change the experience while remaining incredibly familiar to anyone who has played the previous games. New gadgets, such as the ability to order guards to perform a specific action by mimicking the voice of their leader through a voice shifter, really change up the freedom of Predator encounters – though I still found myself relying on silent takedowns more than anything else.

The new fear-takedown mechanic is a massive addition, as you can instantly incapacitate between 3-5 guards (depending on how you have levelled up the skill) which can completely shift the balance of power in a room filled with armed enemies. It can be a bit difficult to activate, and alerts all other guards to your position. However, it balances the immediate threat with this new mechanic by overpowering the others Batman has at his disposal.

Combat is fantastic, with a multitude of new enemy types appearing for the first time in the series which totally change the balance of fights. Medics can revive fallen comrades, and can give other thugs an electric charge which makes them harmful to attack unless taken down in a specific way. Huge, bulking enemies laugh off your attacks, becoming imposing threats on the battlefield which beg to be defeated last, since they can only be attacked while leaving yourself open.

When a number of these new additions appears in a single fight, the combat becomes less about attacking everything until it is unconscious, and more about ‘which order do I need to defeat these guys in’. It’s an awesome addition, and one that left me defeated in a number of combat scenarios despite 3-starring every combat challenge in the previous games.

Yet, there is a third main pillar of gameplay introduced in Knight that doesn’t hold up nearly as well: The Batmobile.

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Over all, I think the way the Batmobile handles is totally awesome. Zipping through the dark, dank streets of Gotham in a jet black car-tank is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, but Rocksteady seemed to be a little overexcited by the car’s inclusion. There are an absurd amount of tank battle missions in the game, with most (if not all) of the large scale boss fights being some variation on Batmobile vs. Drone Tanks. It’s a shame, considering how good the boss fights have traditionally been in the previous games in the series, that they were done away with in this game. There are a few supervillains that appear who would have lent themselves to awesome one-on-one fist fights, but instead are relegated to stealth-tank fights (which barely makes sense in the first place). It’s a huge missed opportunity – both in that it forces the Batmobile on you and doesn’t capitalize on the strengths of the villains.

The PC version of Arkham Knight has received a lot of flack over the last week, with it launching in an almost unplayable state, and while the PS4 version is definitely head and shoulders above the PC version, I still managed to run into some problems. While soaring around the city, my audio would cut out unexpectedly for about a second, before coming back – not the end of the world, but frustrating. Then, during big tank battles with a lot of explosions and particles my frame rate would drop – again, frustrating considering how often tank battles would appear, but certainly not game breaking.

The biggest problem I ran into was a key character model simply not appearing in a scene it was supposed to be in. For a moment, I thought ‘is Batman going insane? Is he talking to nobody?’, but when a second character began responding to the invisible person I realized it was actually a bug. It has only happened once, and was only active for one scene (a pretty important and emotionally resonant scene, mind you), and afterward the character was visible and able to be interacted with, but it’s just a shame a little more polish time wasn’t taken as it could have completely transformed the game into something far better.

While we are still talking about gameplay, let’s discuss the amount of content that is in the game. The main story is pretty lengthy, and does some awesome things with Gotham City – over the course of the game you will see the skyline of Gotham change multiple times, which is an incredible feat considering the size of the map. There are, in total, 14 side quests – most of which require multiple steps, though some require only one interaction, and others may require over 10.

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Are the side quests as good as in previous games? Not really. There are a few stand outs, the quest to catch a serial killer at large probably being the best one in my opinion, but most of them feel like open-world filler. I would have preferred less ‘destroy the mines around Gotham’ style missions, and more ‘investigate this crime scene and track down the killer’ style quests. But to me, the most glaring omission is the overall lack of challenge map content. Asylum, City and Origins all launched with more challenge content than the last, yet Knight has launched with the least amount of the entire series. While I feel that there was potentially too much content in Origins, I think City had the most balanced amount of content you could realistically get through. Not only that, but each challenge could be undertaken by any unlocked character – also not true in Knight. Some characters can’t even be used in the challenge maps, despite being in the main game, which is incredibly strange and, in my opinion, a really stupid oversight.

Challenge Maps have been confirmed to be in the Season Pass, but really, it’s pretty unacceptable to be expected to pay extra to play as characters that appear in the main game. Red Hood and Harley Quinn, I would understand, as they are already DLC characters, but why aren’t there any challenges for Robin or Catwoman?The music in the game is incredible, as it has been in the preceding titles. The satisfying instrumental score that serves as the backdrop to the game’s predator encounters is beautifully realized, and always kicks in and fades out at the right moments. Audio glitches aside, the game sounds great, with many hilarious lines of dialogue from random thugs and some truly great voice acting by some of the main characters – I still think the Riddler is one of the best voiced characters in video games.And now, we come to the story. For those of you who still wish to remain unspoiled, feel free to scroll down past the text below: I’ll leave spoilers out of the final paragraph where I’ll post up my final thoughts. For those of you who have finished the game, or just don’t care, read on.

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SPOILERS BELOW

I think, when compared to Arkham City, Knight’s story stands out in some ways as far better, and in some ways as far worse. The fact that it is centered mainly on 3 villains, with the occasional appearance by another being a short diversion, or serving to more fully flesh out those main 3, is a welcome change as it allows you to really focus your efforts on defeating these enemies and makes the main narrative thread far easier to follow.

This main story thread is certainly the most ambitious Rocksteady has attempted, particularly the areas where Gotham is bathed in fear gas, and you view it from both above and below the noxious cloud. This moment is amazing, as it shows you how serious Scarecrow is in his mission, when compared to the villains of the previous games who never really achieved anything quite as horrible. I found the ending that, essentially, all the mental and physical issues that Batman had been struggling through the entire game suddenly don’t matter and he can just will his way through them to be pretty disappointing. I’d just spent 20 hours watching Batman, little by little, eroded away in front of me, so for him to just decide that everything he feared no longer scared him was a bit of a cop out.

Moving on, the moment Barbara Gordon was killed off had a huge amount of emotional weight. Seeing Batman kneeling down before her corpse was striking, and set the tone for what I thought was to be a far more brutal game going forward. Instead, the story backpedals on this move a few hours later, showing that even in a self-contained comic book universe main characters will never die: Except for Joker, of course.

I can’t stress how great it was that Joker didn’t get magically revived somehow, though the concept that his blood is somehow infecting a few people – Batman included – slowly turning them into him is one of the goofier things I’ve ever seen. Some cool scenes came out of it, but ultimately it was a pretty stupid idea.

Where I believe the game has it’s biggest story misstep, however, is with the side quests. Considering there are so many opportunities to tell interesting stories about the other villains of Gotham who have apparently joined forces against the Batman (I can’t remember a single moment where this alliance was important or noticeable in the game), it is disappointing how the majority of these side missions play out. Most of them have to be unlocked organically across the city as you play, a great idea in theory that gets bogged down with you, realizing how hard it is to find a single building with a flaming bat atop it, or a random murder victim crucified on the side of a different one.

Penguin and Two Face have pretty meaty side quests, with one focusing on combat and the other stealth, but for some reason these super villains never collaborate. Why couldn’t there have been one side quest, where each stage jumps from combat to predator, and you are hunting down the united criminals and dealing with their combined forces? Instead, you get to hear them have a few lines of dialogue together after you’ve already brought them both to the GCPD, which essentially amounts too saying ‘I never should have trusted you’ to one another for the rest of time. A wasted opportunity, yes, but that is nothing compared to how disappointing Hush is.

In City, Hush was easily the most interesting part of the entire game: A maniacal serial killer who has stolen Bruce Wayne’s face in order to enact some kind of revenge against him? Awesome. Waiting years to find out what kind of huge plan he had in store was excruciating, and that it turned out to be ‘walk into Wayne Enterprises, beat up the CEO and take him hostage while trying to rob them’ is just… what? For someone who, in the comics, was a criminal mastermind to have a one part quest where you literally talk to him, and hit a single QTE was a terrible choice by Rocksteady, in my opinion.

One last thing: The Arkham Knight’s identity is telegraphed for hours before the reveal, which was a let down for me. I think Jason Todd is an awesome character, and would have been fine with the Knight being him, if only he didn’t take off his mask and then whine for the entirety of his ‘boss fight’, only to change his mind and not want to kill Batman anymore after an entire game where that is all he will talk about. Comic-book logic, I guess, but there are so many ways this character could have been handled better.

END OF SPOILERS

In the end, I really want to like Arkham Knight more than I do. It brings a lot of new things to the Arkhamverse, which is great, even when some of them don’t work 100% of the time. The overuse of tank battles in lieu of actual fist fights is frustrating, especially considering how polished the combat and predator sections of the game are. The lack of challenge maps sting right now, and I think it’s unfair to ask people to pay extra for something that has been a series staple until now.

However, there is a lot to like in this game, and after a few patches it’ll probably be even better. The combat is tight, soaring through Gotham feels fantastic, and hunting down criminals from atop a gargoyle is still one of my favourite things to do. It’s just a shame that between those parts there are many, many tank missions.

7/10

Note: Arkham Knight was reviewed based on a PSN code supplied by Warner Brothers

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer, Gotham Is Mine, Trailer Shows A Cavalcade Of Enemies Desperate To Bring Down Bats Once And For All


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today released the latest video from Batman: Arkham KnightThe Official Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer – “Gotham is Mine” features a closer look at some of the story’s most infamous super-villains. As Scarecrow unites the Rogues Gallery, including Two-Face, The Penguin, the Riddler, the Arkham Knight, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, they bring all-out war as they try to take down The Dark Knight, and claim Gotham City as their own.

Batman: Arkham Knight is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license and will be available on 2 June 2015 exclusively for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Arrow Pack Available, Inspired by the TV show with Stephen Amell


Look out Bruce Wayne, a new high profile billionaire is coming to LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. The new Arrow Pack, inspired by the hit TV series and featuring Stephen Amell as Green Arrow stranded on the island, is available to download starting from today for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, for US$2.99.

Check out Green Arrow in action, plus get a glimpse of Slade Wilson, Black Canary, Malcolm Merlyn and more by in the new trailer:

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham players will also soon gain access to the Rainbow Character Pack, a free downloadable add-on available starting 20 January. In the new pack, Batman uses his usual array of Bat-Gadgets and a laser-deflecting Rainbow suit to square off against Rainbow Raider, an artist turned evil who proves to be his most colourful challenge yet.

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Conan O’Brien, Stephen Amell and Kevin Smith Starring in New LEGO Batman 3 Trailer


At this year’s New York Comic Con, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed that Conan O’Brien, Stephen Amell and Kevin Smith joined the incredible cast of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Now you can see all three stars in a brand new trailer that takes you behind the scenes of this year’s ultimate superhero adventure for the entire family.

They have also released screenshots for newly announced characters including Arrow, Conan, Condiment King, Deathstroke, Music Meister, Polka Dot Man, Green Loontern, Man Bat, Deadshot, and many more, including world-renowned comic book artist and Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, Jim Lee . These are just a few of the characters revealed, so be sure to check out the new images yourself to see if your favourite character is included.

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LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will be launching on 14 November 2014 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS and PC.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Gets the First Ever LEGO Game Season Pass


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed its first season pass for its upcoming LEGO video game, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. The Season Pass will include 6 DLC packs each with a unique themed mission level with story and free play modes. Players will be able to unlock a total of over 40 characters, vehicles, achievements and more. The first three of the DLC packs will be available on launch day and 3 more will be announced at a later date. The Season Pass will be made available only for the PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC for AUD$21.55. Alternatively each pack can be purchased separately at AUD$4.35.

The Season Pass includes:

  • The Dark Knight Pack
    Experience the heart-pounding chase scene from the iconic film complete with cool vehicles and explosive action. Play as the legendary Dark Knight and Commissioner Gordon, as well as the Joker and his goons as they chase down Harvey Dent’s police escort. Bane and Catwoman from the third film are also playable.
  • Man of Steel Pack
    Help Jor-El, his wife Lara and their robot Kelex send the infant Superman “Kal-el” into space towards the safety of Earth as Krypton falls into chaos. Find a way inside Jor-El’s home, fight General Zod’s invading forces and battle against Zod himself to save Superman.
  • Batman 75th Pack
    Play as Joker and Harley, setting up a variety of celebration set pieces. Be the Batman and play as some of the most iconic faces of Batman through the years, including his first appearance in Detective Comics #27.
  • Access to Future DLC Content
    Gain access to three additional game packs, featuring new playable characters, vehicles and levels. Details about the additional content will be revealed at a later date.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will be launching on 14 November 2014 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS and PC.

Lego Batman 3 Beyond Gotham Season Pass

Batman: Arkham Knight Gets a Release Date and Limited Editions


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have announced Batman: Arkham Knight is scheduled to release worldwide on 2 June 2015. They have also revealed the editions that will be available for the game, the Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition and Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition. Both will be available in limited quantities at launch in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition

The Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition will be retailing for £74.99 for PC version and £89.99 for the console versions and will include the following:

  • Custom Art Book – 80 Page, Full Colour Art Book Showcasing the concept art of Batman Arkham Knight
  • Limited Edition SteelBook – Unique SteelBook case and game disc
  • Comic Book – Limited Edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book
  • Exclusive Character Skin Pack – Three Unique Skins from DC Comics – The New 52
  • Batman Memorial Statue – Imposing statue commemorating Gotham’s Protector, the Dark Knight

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Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition

The Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition will be retailing at £169.99 and will be only available for consoles. It will include all the things from the limited edition but instead of the Batman Memorial Statue, you will be getting a transforming Batmobile Statues. The contents of the Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition will include:

· Custom Art Book – 80 Page, Full Colour Art Book Showcasing the concept art of Batman Arkham Knight
· Limited Edition SteelBook – Unique SteelBook case and game disc
· Comic Book – Limited Edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book
· Exclusive Character Skin Pack – Three Unique Skins from DC Comics – The New 52
· Transforming Batmobile Statue – Fully transformable Batmobile statue realised in exquisite detail by TriForce

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Gotham Themed Xbox One Controller Pops up on Amazon


Xbox has released a sneak peek into the “Gotham: The Legend Reborn” TV Series that will be starting up this September. Gotham is the origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. Before there was Batman, there was Gotham. In the sneak peek, it shows what it takes for Commissioner Gordon to navigate the layers of corruption in the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains, Gotham City.

At the same time, an Amazon listing with the description of “Microsoft – Gotham Wireless Controller (Xbox One)” has been spotted. We have also grabbed a screenshot just in case the listing gets removed. The Gotham themed Xbox One controller is listed for a preorder price of Euros 58,31 with a release date of 18 November. So do you think it was all by luck or planned? Also what design would you like to see on the themed controller?

Xbox One Gotham Controller

 

Latest LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Trailer Reveals Brainiac’s Diabolical Plan


WB Games have released a new trailer for LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham which shows a deeper insight to Brainiac’s diabolical plan to shrink the Earth and take control of his enemies using the power of the Lantern Rings. Now, the super heroes of the DC Comics universe must join forces with the Legion of Doom on a journey across the Lantern Worlds to stop the nefarious evildoer from his twisted growing collection of cities leading to adding Earth and the rest of the galaxy to his massive collection. Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Joker and Cheetah prepare to blast off on an out-of-this-world adventure.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is planned to release on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS and PC this year.