E3 2014: The Next-Gen Scale of Batman: Arkham Knight

Batmobility.

by

Most of the discussion around Batman: Arkham Knight has been focused on the batmobile. And justifiably so. It's a central part of Rocksteady's latest outing in the Arkham saga, and a gameplay feature so tightly integrated into the flow of the game that it practically feels like an extension of the batsuit. But now that I've been able to play through some more Arkham Knight here at E3 2014, there's something else I want to talk about.

First, allow me to apologize in advance to everyone who's still clinging to their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles. Those are wonderful systems and I'm sure you'll still have plenty of fun together. But there's just no nice way to say this: holy crap am I glad Arkham Knight is a next-gen exclusive.

It's just plain to see that leaving behind the limitations of the previous generation of console hardware has allowed Rocksteady to boost the scale of the world in a way that makes you feel like that much more devastating of a superhero. Case in point: the Ace Chemicals facility.

This section of the game plays host to a sequence where Batman must rescue a series of hostages while simultaneously thwarting the Scarecrow's latest bomb-building efforts. As I scaled to the top of the facility's towering central building, I was able to soak in a spectacular view of the decaying metropolis beyond me--a gameworld five times larger than Rocksteady's most recent work in Arkham City--as well as the strategic opportunities for pouncing down on the various thugs below. A moment later, I had my sights set on a room far, far down below. I leapt from the building's rooftop and hit square, setting me into a dive bomb headed straight toward those creeps with only a glass ceiling between us.

Batman dropping down onto thugs from above is nothing new, of course. But the sheer height from which I came careening toward these thugs made the moment I smashed through the ceiling that much more satisfying--as though I was some armored comet falling down from the heavens. That sense of scale and fluidity--you can fling yourself all over the place with nary a loading hitch to be felt--can be seen in the way you ascend buildings, too. No longer must you grapple up ledge by ledge; now Batman can string together multiple grappling targets--letting go of one to begin another--in a way that feels a lot like the grapple hook traversal in Just Cause 2.

Add the batmobile into the mix and things just get crazy. You can press one button to calmly step out of the vehicle, and another to leap straight out of it. Take the latter approach when driving along at full speed, and that momentum will send Batman rocketing straight up into the air, gliding up and away like some paper airplane being swept off by a strong wind.

It feels like a wonderful continuation of Arkham City's open-world traversal. That game built upon the fabulous combat mechanics of Arkham Asylum with a much more freeform sense of movement and exploration. Now Arkham Knight takes that sense of movement and expands the landscape considerably, giving you more options with which to glide and grapple around the world and the scale to make every vertical takedown far more satisfying.

Yes, the new lighting effects look terrific, and so does the level of visual detail in the new batsuit. But if you ask me to choose my favorite part about a next-gen Batman game, it's the scale of Arkham City.

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Discussion

104 comments
Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Unreal Engine 3.5 I bet? The one which was supposed to be used on Star Wars 1313.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'm still not digging the new suit at all. Just seems a bit much.

Really looking forward to it all though. Awesome stuff.

colbster
colbster

I just got engaged... I guess we better postpone the wedding a bit! This game looks amazing. Can't wait!

pongley
pongley

So does this mean we can all forget Arkham Origins ever existed? By the way, it's the scale of Gotham, not Arkham City, that was the expanded prison's name.

00J
00J

looks good. ((head nod))

LegendaryBadass
LegendaryBadass

This game is going to justify not having a girlfriend.

wilson2k9
wilson2k9

Imagine how much better gaming could be if we had a Superman, TMNT, Iron Man, Avengers, Xmen, Fantastic Four ect.. superhero games the quality of this Batman game and the series. Next thing closest would be the Spiderman series and that leaves much to be desired. 


I just hope with the kind of success this series has been getting that others are taking notice and trying to step up their quality (referring to superhero games of course, or comic book based games). 



runningman5ksmak
runningman5ksmak

next year is going to be the best year ever for gaming just hope we see know more Delays

NTM23
NTM23

I'm just surprised at how well Unreal 3 transfers over to make yet more fantastic looking games. You could easily question whether they're using Unreal 4, which makes me wonder how great Unreal 4 looks at full potential.

blutfahne
blutfahne

"First, allow me to apologize in advance to everyone who's still clinging to their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles. Those are wonderful systems and I'm sure you'll still have plenty of fun together. But there's just no nice way to say this: holy crap am I glad Arkham Knight is a next-gen exclusive."


This makes zero sense and is kind of stupid to say considering this game could of been released as a PC exclusive 5 years ago and still would be bigger, larger and more next gen.

l3ak3d
l3ak3d

Everything for this title at E3 was shown on a PC

Forcecaster
Forcecaster

So if you compare the grapling to Just Cause 2, which was a last gen title, doesn't it make the "scale on the new hardware" part a bit irrelevant? Bigger map okay, but the rest was possible on last gen too.

aegis_kleais
aegis_kleais

This game is NOT next-gen exclusive, GameSpot. It's being released for PC as well. As I've taken from near all your articles, you use "Next Gen" as a moniker for XB1 and PS4. It's also available to PC, or, if you like labels, you can call it "Cutting-Edge Gen"

chris120379
chris120379

So have they announced a release date on this monster already??????

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

I am also happy that Rocksteady went only for current Gen. It's annoying seeing developers still limiting their titles will old gen hardware.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

"Batman is a man in this game?  Sexist!  Batman needs to be a woman or Rocksteady is sexist!  And would it kill them to make Mr. Freeze a woman too?  Geez, stupid world with a bunch of men in it!"  ---  Aspiring Gamespot editor.

endorbr
endorbr

@pongley Yeah I hung up on that when I read it too.  We have the whole of Gotham at our disposal now, not just whatever incarnation Arkham Asylum is taking now.

haze0986
haze0986

@LegendaryBadass my girl says i can play my games whenever, but from being in a lot of relationships i can tell you that shes lying lol

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@LegendaryBadass And for those of us who do have a significant other, it's likely to put a strain on the relationship. :)

00J
00J

@wilson2k9 Oh and i see hints of Ironman in Batman. Look at how his armour locks up and clicks into place... They could do Ironman so good! 

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@wilson2k9 Spider-Man definitely needs to be taken away from Beenox and given to a studio that gets what gamers like in a game. 


Not that I blame Beenox or anything. They surely have to work within many many constraints. But when I see a game that uses a button to do more of the fun stuff than the player gets to do on his own, I start thinking maybe they're working backwards. 


Spidey needs an "Arkham" level game ASAP. 

00J
00J

@wilson2k9 I'd like a Superman game using these mechanics. Just tweak Batman's glide ability just a bit and you've got Superman. Throw in some Super Strength "throwing objects" and his powers X-Ray vision to see hidden enemies, Heat Vision for long range attacks and Super Freeze Breath for Stunning or Super Breath to put distance between you and your enemies or just to knock them out, again non-lethal and you've got Superman...

endorbr
endorbr

@blutfahne Because like it or not, even though the Batman Arkham games are multiplatform they're for all intents and purposes console games.  The sales figure will tell you that.  If the first one would have been a PC exclusive game odds are it wouldn't be a franchise now.

NTM23
NTM23

@blutfahne 


Point is, last-gen consoles can't run a game that looks this good, so the response that PC could run it is absolutely pointless because it's a different set of players if you consider people that mainly play consoles. This being said, while I think the console versions will look nearly this good, the demo I'm sure he played, and was shown at the conference, if not too surprising, was being done on PC.

sirdan357
sirdan357

@blutfahne No, it couldn't have been released as a PC exclusive. Neither Arkham game sold anywhere near enough copies on PC to be profitable.

shadow580
shadow580

@blutfahne Nothing stupid about that comment. Now they can release on 3 platforms instead of 1. 

NTM23
NTM23

@aegis_kleais I don't think they said it was exclusive to consoles, but it is exclusive to next-gen hardware as opposed to last-gen consoles. PC is a given and you don't need them to outright say PC.

TacticaI
TacticaI

Lol what is with the PC gamers always demanding recognition, I rather read Sony/MS fanboys go at it. What a pathetic comment.

ctlaltbatman
ctlaltbatman

@aegis_kleais Get over yourself, bro. Computers aren't apart of "generations" as they can always be upgraded, and are not dedicated game players. 

conradramos31
conradramos31

Have you heard of Batgirl? Maybe you should read a comic book than jumping to a conclusion that all men are sexist

NTM23
NTM23

@ZZoMBiE13 


Depends on who you're with, and how much you play, which I imagine most wouldn't spend an inordinate amount of time playing to the extent of straining a relationship, otherwise that's just idiotic. (An inordinate amount of time is where you do nothing but play games, and I don't see most people doing that.)

00J
00J

@ZZoMBiE13 @wilson2k9 Heh, they need to contract out Rocksteady... Remember Rare a few years ago? Nintendo's specialists? 

turtleparkour
turtleparkour

@sirdan357 @blutfahne Source your claim please. It's extremely likely that you're incorrect as they would've just stopped making Batman games for the PC if what you're saying is true. Warner Brothers isn't a charity, they don't make games for free so if they weren't making money on the PC version they wouldn't continue making them. I repeat WB is a business and not a charity, you are incorrect.

NTM23
NTM23

@sirdan357 I think that's beside the point really. It's the simple idea of running it on PC hardware.

TacticaI
TacticaI

Beat me to it, my first question is how many people play this game for PC?

Gatman32
Gatman32

That went completely over your head.

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

@NTM23 @ZZoMBiE13 Well that's certainly true. And of course I wouldn't let any game come between my lady and myself. She's a great woman who deserves all the attention and love that I can muster.  


However my comment was meant in jest. Hence the ":)" at the end. Not meant to be taken quite so literally. 

shadow580
shadow580

@turtleparkour @sirdan357 @blutfahne dude, that's not what he's saying. You can make back more than it costs to port a game to a certain system. To develop the game from ground up is much more expensive.

69
69

@TacticaI I played them on PC. I also went back after I got NVidia 3D vision and replayed them because they looked and played amazing in 3D.

TacticaI
TacticaI

That's fine, doesn't seem worth taking Shaun's statement out of context and using it as yet another springboard to assert the dominance of a high-end PC though.