Bat­man: Arkham Knight

Bat’s all, folks

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Re­viewed on: PS4 Also on: Xbox One, PC Pub­lisher: Warner Bros

The Arkham

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.

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