Always been a huge fanatic of the Batman movie franchise, still immersed with the “Dark knight” and the way Nolan delivered three master pieces. On my new born excitement to experience roleplaying batman and guard Gotham from the evil threats, I chose to play “Batman: Arkham Knight” on PS4. I must admit the game completely absorbed me and I had a spell-bounding experience playing as the Batman in this game made perfect from all corners. In this article, I am going to share the different game elements I enjoyed the most, how I got immersed as the Dark Knight saving the city of Gotham from mysterious Arkham Knight and Scarecrow.
Top in the list, of course the Batmobile. Actually for more than a week after finishing this game, I missed cruising this beast around the streets of Gotham, battling against tanks and turning them into ashes. The interesting aspect is the progressive methodology of using the batmobile for combat as the game evolves. During the initial stages of the games, the beast was used to tackle weaker tanks which gave me a thought of “I am too strong for you guys”, but not very late after few episodes I was flabbergasted by challenging enemy tanks which locked missiles, launched rally of ammo, multiple missiles at the same time that I had to battle with. To mention, I did have nightmares to finish a specific episode of blasting a sequence of high tech tanks which could be destroyed by sneaking behind them only and which lead to battle against an equally tough beast driven by the Arkham Knight himself. I also loved controlling the batmobile remotely and using it to solve puzzles that catalyst Batman to progress in different environments of the game. The upgrades batmobile adorned also was quite impressive, specially the scanners. Getting your hands on this beast and driving through Gotham is an experience not to be missed.
The characterization of Batman himself, encountering the fear myths created by Scarecrow and the mysterious ghostly Joker figure. As Batman I did slowly learn to harness the control of fear as the game progress, like in the episodes of interrogation using physical pain to thugs and the pain of losing plant life in Gotham to get ally with Ivy. Said that, the game posed challenge of Batman gaining control over the fear created by Arkham knight, joker and finally Scarecrow. Batman has to defeat his own fears to defeat these super villains was an interesting design merge of narrative and the gameplay.
I also enjoyed travelling the emotional journey Batman goes through with his allies. The episode where Barbara dies and batman mourns for her, made me feel empathetic and I did seek to avenge for Barbara’s posed death episode. However, killing Ivy didn’t move me emotionally as even in the gameplay Batman was able to overcome the loss momentarily and continue with the mission of tracking Scarecrow. A little bit of cinematics would have raised the depth.
Taking a side track of Batman versus the diversified thugs of different bosses, Batman beats up and smashes the gang of thugs which includes medic, ninja, giant man carrying a huge rapid fire gun like the terminator. There is a lot of different combat moves that is deployed in the mechanics, to quote one the fear attack which allows you to take multiple enemies one by one on pointing the camera towards them in slow motion supported by an excellent VFX. However, an interesting improvisation is to introduce a mechanic of extracting information from these thugs by hitting the induced fear in the thugs to a certain mark in the fear meter, thereby surpassing the fear scarecrow has induced in thugs to battle against batman. This would give an additional challenge for the player to strategize their combat to extract clues from the thugs to progress in the game.
I was engaged by the immersive UX of the cut scenes which showed different cinematics and I should appreciate the cinematics only showing things that the characters can do in the game. Making the bat-cave modernized substitution with the clock tower was an interesting improvisation compared to the previous batman games which gave me an experience of visiting home after completion of the missions, to complete few episodes and also for upgrades of the bat-suite.
One more main thing I should highly commend upon is the gadgets used in the gameplay and the upgrades of them, which enhanced the story experience to the next level. We have a kit of gadgets for opening doors of different mechanics – The explosive gel, cryptographic sequencer, remote hacking device though some of these have multiple purposes as well. This was an interesting design idea which makes the player think to choose the right gadget for the right action. Using remote hacking device to control drones and tanks, using voice synthesizer for controlling thugs to open gates and also to lure them to traps were some excellent design ideas that made the gameplay much realistic. Of all the gadget oriented missions, the one which I enjoyed the most was the detective episodes where I had to investigate a crime scene by going forward and backward through the sequence of happenings to get the clues and assemble them in the right sequence to arrive at the clue left. This was mind-blowing, one of kind experience to a player like me.
Finally, the art style which had an impressive blend of comic book style and realism into it. The animation and VFX deployed into cinematics, the finishing moves of batman combat with the thugs, batmobile blasting the tanks were quite top notch and giving a fluid UX in and out of the actual gameplay.
On a whole, in line to their tagline of “Be the Batman” – I did have a splendid experience of being in the bat-suite cruising through the Gotham saving it from the evil hands and emerging as the Master of fear and seeing the epic end of a legendary game trilogy.