“What we don't want is for you to know more than what Batman knows in the game.”
Since Arkham Asylum arrived in 2009, the Batman Arkham video game series has proven with each new release that it can take the test of time.
The award-winning series revolves around the titular prison, better known as Arkham prison, for the criminally insane.
Super villains will take over parts of Arkham or Gotham City until Batman declares a one-man war against them to restore order.
The first two instalments in the trilogy and the prequel, Arkham Origins, have hit high marks. This is thanks to Rocksteady’s success in skilfully capturing the essence of Batman.
But will Arkham Knight be the ultimate finale that we have been waiting for? DESIblitz finds out if Rocksteady can raise the bar one last time to give the critically-acclaimed trilogy a perfect ending.
Be the Batman
For the first time in the series, the story of Arkham Knight is set out before you – the player, so you only know as much as Batman does.
Arkham Knight’s brand marketing producer, Dax Ginn, explained: “What we don’t want is for, while you’re playing, to know more than what Batman knows in the game.
“Because then you don’t feel like Batman–you actually feel like you, as a player, are smarter than Batman, which makes him feel like he’s a bit of a dud.”
This is a good way to present the story, as too many times in the past we have been given insider information which the characters do not learn about until later.
Without any sub scenario or checking up on other characters’ activities, you experience Gotham as Batman does, making the game less immersion breaking.
A new feature to the series is the ability to use the Batmobile without any constraints, and boy do you need it to fend off the enemies’ big guns!
In Arkham City and Arkham Origins, the fast travel system made use of the Batwing, although they could not be used by players. Now Arkham Knight brings Bruce Wayne’s wealth to full glory, so that the iconic Batmobile is no longer just a background prop.
The Open World
The series is not new to the open world, but the previous instalments pale in comparison to the scale of the world of Arkham Knight.
As the game writer, Sefton Hill, described, Arkham Knight is ‘trying to create a really rich, vibrant, dense open world’.
The arena of battle is the entire Gotham, as the city has been evacuated because of the villain, Scarecrow. Many other villains also join the fray, such as Poison Ivy and Two-Face, to unleash terror upon Gotham.
At Scarecrow’s right hand is the mysterious Arkham Knight. With Gotham in a state of panic and decay, Batman must navigate around this massive city with control and precision.
Graphically speaking, Arkham Knight is meant to be the masterstroke on Rocksteady’s canvas.
In a move to satisfy all parties, Rocksteady is aiming for graphic parity which means each system will achieve the same graphical output. It will run at 1080p on the PS4, though resolution for Xbox One is yet to be confirmed.
Compared with Arkham City and Arkham Origins’ native resolution at 720p, the visual of Arkham Knight will no doubt be lorded above all others as a new milestone.
Every new area will brim with life, turning Gotham into the dark and brooding battleground that it is supposed to be.
The Batman Family
Arkham Knight is the biggest title in the series, boasting a plethora of sidekicks to help and villains to keep at bay.
It boasts the most number of playable characters to date including Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Red Hood.
Batman is a lone figure – most of the time anyway. He is not one to take help if it is offered and despite having a sidekick, he does not rely on him all that much.
So far Batman seems happy to work with others, as he teams up with Nightwing, Catwoman and Robin in the trailer. Perhaps the Dark Knight finally feels outmatched in face of a vast city held captive by its most wanted criminals.
You can watch the trailer here:
With any good series, it is always the developers’ and gamer’s dream to go out with a bang. Arkham Knight is capable of that. Its features, content and storyline are all pointed towards one conclusive ending.
It may have to contend with some fierce competition to be named ‘game of the year’. But for now, the game’s top form will give the rest a run for their money.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be released worldwide on June 23, 2015 for PS4, Xbox One and Windows.