Batman: Arkham Knight
Bat’s all, folks
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Reviewed on: PS4 Also on: Xbox One, PC Publisher: Warner Bros
series has legitimised licensed games like never before, delivering the ultimate power fantasy while giving us the Dark Knight we truly deserve. Prepare to break into a lipsticks-meared Chelsea smile: this is an utterly brilliant end to the trilogy.
Gorgeous. Bold. Final. Batman: Arkham Knight is a passionate, fitting goodbye to the Caped Crusader. Developer Rocksteady recaptures a pinch of Asylum’s unhinged atmosphere, then drenches it over a Gotham that dwarfs even City’s chunk of criminal real estate. The grace of that iconic fighting system is still unmatched. Stealth sections still tingle with a predatory playfulness. Those immaculate gliding controls ensure there’s no other sandbox where the simple act of just moving is quite so joyous.
It’s ten months after Arkham City. Gotham is in chaos, Scarecrow holding the city hostage with a strain of fear toxin. The Rogues Gallery are all playing nice for the greater greed. New nemesis the Arkham Knight is determined to kill Batman with his drone army. And – oh yeah – it’s Halloween. Better buckle up, Brucie.
Thank the DC overlords for the Batmobile. Wayne’s souped- up ride is an unstoppable beast, from the Burnout- style Pursuit mode, to Battle Mode’s vehicular analog of Bats’ freeflow fisticuffs, to the Riddler’s Revenge Most Wanted missions. The camera’s a bit clunky at times, but for Rocksteady’s first attempt at a videogame car, it’s a heroic effort.
Through the main storyline the interplay of fighting, driving and stealth is expertly balanced, while the main plot beats tap into Batman’s insecurities in fascinating fashion. And without getting too spoilery, we’ll simply say there’s an amazing twist early on which enriches the entire narrative on a constant basis.
There are tears in the cape. It’s so vast, it’s hard not to pine for the original’s scripted simplicity. The Arkham Knight is also a dud villain; too often coming across like a whining teenager. Yet as a showcase for PS4, the game’s constantly smooth action and startling city – all sensational architecture bathed in sumptuous storms – is superb. Put simply, it sends the Dark Knight out in shining style. Dave Meikleham
Hold on if you’re thinking of picking this up on PC – at press time the non- console version has some huge frame rate issues.
Yep, still dark.