Warning: Full Spoilers Below..Do not read if you have not played through at least the main story of Batman: Arkham Knight. Seriously, its a great game, and you will want to play it. Also note that we won’t talk about Batman: Arkham Orgins at all.
I am just going to come out and say it, Batman: Arkham Knight kinda sucked. Do not get me wrong, I had a great time during my 25 or so hours with it, but I just don’t have that same, “damn I gotta play this again” feeling that I had with previous Batman games. Here are my reasons why Batman: Arkham Knight kinda sucked.
I, like many other overly concerned Nerds on the internet, was a bit worried when they announced that AK would feature the Batmobile. That fear was alleviated during the first act of the game. At first, I dug the souped up tank version of the Cape Crusaders Classic Car. It was awesome calling the Batmobile with a touch of a button, cruising around the streets of Gotham while running over thugs in a non-lethal way, then ejecting out of the car into a sweet glide and soaring around Gotham. At first, I even dug the cars battle mode, which was also just a button press away. I felt like they got they Batmobile right!
While using the Batmobile as an actual means of transportation was fun throughout my play through, the tank portions itself made me wish the Arkham Knight spent a little less on drones and a lot more on actual soldiers for me to beat up. It seemed like I could not have 30 mins of action without being force fed another tank mission. These missions themselves came in 2 variety’s. 1, Destroy the unmanned drones, which never actually increase in difficulty or strategy, but only in numbers. 2, The mandatory stealth alternative, where your two-ton tank somehow pulls its best Solid Snake impression and sneaks up on the Arkham Knights Mega Drones. Despite having a Deathstar like “shoot me here and I will Explode” porthole in their back, these mega tanks provides no surveillance to this weak spot. These are multi million dollar mega-tanks specifically built to destroy Batman, and they didn’t even think to put some Go-Pros on the back in case Batman decided to sneak up on them? Not to mention the fact that if they just put a god damn human in these tanks instead of using them like a milllion dollar remote control car, Batman would have been proven powerless by his inability to break his no kill rule. The excitement that overcame me when the Arkham Knight crushes the Batmobile in the last act of the game is only topped by the feeling of despair after Batman states, “Don”t worry, Lucius made me spare”….Fuck you Lucius Fox, it would have been cooler if you made me a Batwing that I could actually fly.
The Lack of Detective work
Arkham Asylum(AA) and Arkham City(AC) both remembered that the Cape Crusader is a detective first, bad ass gadget wielding super hero second. The first two games were littered with puzzles and crime scenes. “Where did that bullet come from? Can I blow up this wall? How do I get to that area? I bet I need to throw my Batarang to hit that switch 3 rooms down. Maybe I use this new electric gadget to open that door…” It was fun, intuitive, and did a great job of providing some brain work in between beating up an endless supply of unarmed, over matched criminals. The puzzles in the first 2 games not only made great use of Batmans gadgets, but made you actually feel like a Detective. For some reason, Arkham Knight ditched all that. Gone is the need for brain work, replaced with almost hand holding puzzles and some futuristic Hololens like technology that basically does all the detective work for you. Instead of using my brain to put two and two together, the games detective portions involve grainy videotape footage and Batman literally seeing how the crimes happened to provide the next clue. You never really get the sense that your solving any crimes, more that your just seeing a recreation of the criminal activity. Granted, some of the side missions help alleviate the need to do your best “Gotham Cop” impression, but I miss the “ahhhh that’s how you do that” feeling that made AA and ACs puzzles and detective work so great.
Seriously, where are the boss fights in the main story? AA and AC provided an almost Zelda like experience at times. If Batman got a new gadget, you better believe that gadget was going to come in handy against one of Gothams many villians later on. Think the fight with Mr Freeze in AC, where Batman is basically powerless, until you realize you can use the environment and your electric shot to take him down. That sense of fear, knowing you can’t just beat everyone up, is gone in AK. Two Face is there, but his story ends up with you knocking him out in a stealth mission. Instead of a long fight against Harley Quinn and her hammer, you simply sneak up on her from a grate and knock her as if she was a common street thug. Batman has some of the coolest, baddest bad guys in history, and AK basically ignores most of that in favor of shoving more Batmobile tank missions down your throat. Did I mention I really hate the Bat-tank?
Not enough use of Batmans friends
Batman AK features the best combat in the series. It seamlessly integrates all of the Dark Knights gadgets, punches, kicks, flips and knockouts to create some pretty awesome images on screen, leaving the player thinking, “Damn, I can’t believe I pulled that off”. This feeling is doubled when you introduce one of the Bats alleys into the mix for some boner inducing dual combat action. These fights are the peak of the game, providing not only the different game play of Robin, Nightwing, and the is-it-ok-to-be-attracted-to-polygons- Catwoman, but also end up being the best action moments in the game. The problem is, those moments are few and far between. Why not have whole sections where we play as Nightwing? Why can’t we play with Catwoman as a tandem to hunt down the Riddler after she is freed? The best parts of the game happen when Batman teams up with friends, and the game misses a major opportunity to not only let us control some of Bruces homies more often, but to simply let them kick more ass. #TeamRobin
Batman isn’t easy to root for.
I am just going to come out and say it…Batman is kinda a dick in this game. First of all, he is locking up people infected with the Joker Virus, when he himself is also infected. Lets not even get into the moral grey area of the citizens arrest, instead focus on the fact of the hypocrisy of policing his fellow infected while he rolls around the city drunk on Joker while driving the already mentioned crappy Bat-Tank (Seriously, does Jim Gordan lock him up and suspend his Bat License after he finds this out?). Barbra Gordon seemingly “dies” and Bats keeps telling her boyfriend, despite constant questions about her safety, “Nah she’s fine, you just keep working on that cure.”. When offered real help from Nightwing, Bats basically brushes him off and says, “Why don’t you head back to pretty little Bludhaven or go lead Teen Titans or something. This is mans work”. I know what your saying “But POO, Batman was as high on joker blood as an Arizona State co-ed at Cochella“. True, but that still doesn’t excuse what he does to Jason Todd, revealed through Bats hallucinations. I understand you might not be able to find every hostage ever Batman, but if your going to replace your currently being tortured Robin, make up a new name for the sidekick. When it was revealed that Todd was still in the hands of the Joker when Batman replaced him with Tim Drake, it not only tipped off who the Arkham Knight is, but also made me want the Arkham Knight to win. Batman kinda deserves everything that happens to him in this game.
Riddler really didn’t do to many Riddles..
“Hey Batman, I bet you can’t take that Batmobile that I made you bring down here and race it around this track really fast, this will really get that brain perplexed.” Seriously, I don’t know if the former Mr. Nygma is running out of ideas or simply just getting lazy, but The Riddler didn’t really do many riddles in this game. Sure, the Trophies are still there and still fun to collect, but even those are generally hide-and-go-seek compared to ACs more puzzle focused trophies. I know we have been doing this for a while Mr. Nygma, but get your shit together man. Your better then this.
So what do you think? Was this the Batman game we wanted, or the Batman game we deserved? Let us know in the comments!