Bat­man: Arkham Knight

Go­ing hands- on with my new best friend, the Bat­mo­bile.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Sa­muel Roberts

Afew months ago I won­dered if the Bat­mo­bile was just a noisy ad­di­tion to the Arkham canon. But while ac­tion gig­gles are cer­tainly part of its ap­peal, it com­ple­ments Bat­man’s ex­ist­ing skills well, and func­tions more like an AI com­pan­ion.

My demo is set in one iso­lated part of the gi­gan­tic, five-times-big­ger-than- ArkhamCity map, at the Ace Chem­i­cal plant. Bat­man is here to res­cue work­men from the mili­tia of the enig­matic Arkham Knight.

Bat­man has a spe­cial batarang to scope out the sur­viv­ing work­men, which fol­lows sound sig­nals and homes in on them— ba­si­cally it’s a drone that helps you fig­ure out the ob­jec­tive.

Pur­suit and Bat­tle mode can be switched be­tween at any time in the car. Pur­suit is high­speed driv­ing, Bat­tle is when the car’s ar­se­nal rolls out and you have more pre­ci­sion in steer­ing and shoot­ing. You can strafe in this mode on some fancy wheels, dodge, and per­form a combo bonus where you pelt with rock­ets ev­ery en­emy unit you can lock onto. It feels a bit like a deadly hov­er­craft.

It’s en­joy­able, but the less ini­tially ob­vi­ous uses of the Bat­mo­bile are the most ex­cit­ing, such as solv­ing the new en­vi­ron­men­tal puzzles I dis­cover later in the demo. These in­volve re­mote con­trol­ling the Bat­mo­bile to re­move ob­sta­cles—blow­ing up steam

One combo lets you lob a dude in the air and have the car shoot him back to the ground

pipes from ex­te­rior lo­ca­tions, for ex­am­ple—or us­ing the ca­ble-mounted hook to pull down a wall or haul up a lift.

The Bat­mo­bile’s out-of-car op­tions ex­tend to com­bat. By far my fa­vorite part of this demo is when I re­al­ize that when the Bat­mo­bile is nearby, one combo op­tion lets you lob a dude in the air and have the car shoot him back to the ground. I feel like I’m high-fiv­ing Bat­man’s car.

Bat­man’s new moves aren’t just lim­ited to his ride. I try the Fear Take­down, which lets you point the cam­era at en­e­mies and hit B to make Bat­man sprint be­tween armed guards. It can speed up preda­tor sec­tions, use­ful with­out nec­es­sar­ily up­set­ting the bal­ance of sys­tems that al­ready ex­ist. Bats’ new counter-throw is the­atri­cal and vi­o­lent, but again the old move set doesn’t seem to be af­fected. And given the new sword-car­ry­ing en­emy type with mas­ter­ful fight­ing skills, the ex­tra op­tions are wel­come. This demo is mainly about the car, but the rest of the de­sign isn’t on hold, in case you were wor­ried. Bat­man also has a bunch of new con­tex­tual moves in the en­vi­ron­ments, such as throw­ing light fit­tings down on goons.

Ad­di­tions like this shows how much prom­ise and am­bi­tion there is in this fi­nal Rock­steady Arkham in­stall­ment. Con­sid­er­ing this is just one iso­lated part of the city, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how these strate­gic op­tions open up in the gi­gan­tic, gor­geous cityscape that I saw dur­ing the game’s un­veil­ing in March.

Drones, be­cause 2014.

“Look for a man dressed like a small fly­ing cave rat.”

Comic book sound ef­fects, for your plea­sure: “PLINK! PATWANG!”

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