Five Things Getting Me Excited For Arkham Knight
In 2009, Rocksteady’s first instalment of the Batman: Arkham series (Arkham Asylum) was released, within a very short space of time it became an instant classic with its unforgiving and unforgettable story line, smooth game play and characters that the player could invest in emotionally; for the first time players actually felt what it was like to become The Dark Knight. Winning numerous awards including, three Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences awards,the Spike Video Game Award for Studio of the Year (2009), as well as three BAFTA video game awards.
Asylum was followed up in 2011 with Arkham City featuring more villains open world game play and another cracking story from Paul Dini and co, City proved that Rocksteady had not just ‘struck lucky’ and were ready to create a series that would not only revolutionise the action/adventure genre and set the bar for quality that few would match after.
Fast forward six years and finally we are ready to see what Rocksteady are claiming to be the final instalment of ‘their’ trilogy Batman Arkham Knight.
This being by Rocksteady’s own words the last Batman in their series promises to be the best Arkham yet, and as the release date draws closer the excitement from fans is palpable. I am just one of those fans so I decided to count down the five things I’m most excited for in Batman: Arkham Knight.
5: The Combat.
Now it goes without saying that the way combat works in all the Arkham games has been second to none, but with this being the first Arkham game to be on next gen, it is clear by the game play released that the combat style has been dramatically improved. During the game play we saw two weeks ago on Batman Arkham’s Official YouTube Channel, you can see the process of Batman’s movement is a lot more fluid; as well as that, the use of surrounding weapons that either he finds around him or on the bodies of his opponents has been increased and appears far more contextual . Another element that is noticeably different is the audio during the fighting, during the above video where you see Batman using a baseball bat he has taken from an enemy, every hit feels so much more brutal, each swing as it connects is graced with a thud that makes you flinch and it’s clear that the audio team have been just as hard at work as the art department. Overall the combat looks even more powerful and detailed than before and as a long time Arkham fan this can only be a great thing.
4: The World.
The Arkham series has always prided itself on its attention to detail and fan service in the playgrounds they create. With recent news that the map for Arkham Knight is five times bigger than that of the map found in Arkham City, I for one am excited to explore just what secrets Rockseteady have hidden for us to find anyone remember Hush...Obviously with a map this size travelling around might be an issue however Rocksteady have you covered with the introduction of the franchise staple...the Batmobile. Rocksteady have always been amazing at referencing the DC universe in the Arkham series and now that they have given us the Batmobile to drive too, not sure there is anything else they could add.
3: The Characters.
One thing that fans of Batman have always been massively invested in is the level of back story given to each and every character that steps foot into the Batman universe, whether it’s a member of the Wayne family or a major villain like The Joker, the back story and personality for these characters are meticulously crafted. Arkham Knight, sees the return of some characters that we haven’t seen since Asylum such a Scarecrow (excluding post credit scene in City), who is being billed the main Protagonist for this instalment; his nightmare like side missions in Asylum really captured me and is still something I still talk about today, I think it’s a great move by Rock Steady to make him the lead villain in Arkham Knight. However its not just about Scarecrow and Arkham Knight sees the return of quite the menagerie of villains from the series previous games. This will be incredibly interesting in the sense of how each of those characters evolved since City.
SPOILERS WARNING...with the Joker’s death and the fall of Arkham City/Protocol 10 itself, there would clearly have been a power vacuum and alliances will have been mad AND broken in the time since then, scripting has always been first class so the interplay between these characters is an exciting prospect.
I am sure we will see the introduction of some new characters such as the Red Hood announced recently and who is possibly one of the Batman universes most popular characters. However let’s not forget possibly the most important character of this game, The Arkham Knight himself. Not a lot of information has been released about the Knight however there are a few things we do know based from an interview from Albert Feliu (Lead Character Artist) . First of all, it has been confirmed that there is someone in the suit and that the mask we can see, is, like most characters in this universe, to hide their identity. The robot type eyes you see on the mask are in fact a screen which tells The Knight what his forces are doing. So with the news of a mask and it covering the identity of this character we have to ask the question, WHO IS UNDER THE MASK?
2: The Easter Eggs.
I touched on this earlier but this is by far, my favourite part of the Arkham series. Each game is renowned for having these secrets scattered around the world for only the most dedicated players to find, some of which even led to details of the next game in the case of Arkham Asylums secret room containing the map for Arkham City. Some reference other characters in the DC Universe such as conversations about Superman in the last game, others are just overall creepy secrets hidden in the nooks, and crannies of the map that, at 11pm when you are all vigilante’d out stumble upon and just scare the shit out you. Like I said previously with a bigger map and more streets I can only imagine what secrets lurk around each corner.
1: The Story.
If you’ve played any of the Arkham stories all the way through, you’ll know exactly what I mean by this. The stories for these games are what make them, the mix of action, horror, sadness and adventure; all of it comes together and creates a story that is gripping and compelling and will make you keep playing till the early hours of the morning. The reason this made my number one spot was purely down the fact that after everything that’s happened in the last two games has been leading up to this moment, and this is last time to put everything right for Batman. Fans need to see how The Dark Knight is going to finish I NEED TO KNOW how the Dark Knight will finish. I have invested so much into this incredible arc and suffered along with the Bat all the torture and torment the villains have laid down, this climax has been building and it is one I cannot wait to reach. For that reason above all others the story is what has me most excited.
So there we go the top five things I’m most excited for in Batman: Arkham Knight. I can only hope that it’s as good as it looks. But most of all I hope Batman truly brings justice to Gotham.
Batman Arkham Knight is out: 23/06/15 to XBOX ON, PS4, PC, MAC and LINUX
Take that crime you shit.
Jack Ames. Editor (Assistant to the Regional Manager)