Review

Batman: Arkham Knight Review

  • First Released Jun 23, 2015
    released
  • PS4

Only as good as the world allows it to be.

$7.99 on Walmart
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"A clean shot to the head," drones the villain known as Arkham Knight. "That's all it will take." At every opportunity, the Knight speaks of the horrific deeds he might perform, doing his best to drive fear into Batman's heart throughout the open-world adventure game that features his name. Scarecrow similarly trades on Batman's doubts, attempting to convince the troubled hero of his own impotence at every turn. "All eyes, all hopes upon a man who fails his friends," calls out Scarecrow through Gotham's public networks, reminding Bruce Wayne that he, too, bears responsibility for the losses his loved ones endure.

Batman is a troubled hero, and past Arkham games haven't shied away from exploring his dark side. Arkham Knight is no exception: the caped crusader growls his way through one confrontation after another in which he must question his role in Gotham's current crisis. We've seen these themes before, many times over, and Batman: Arkham Knight's villains repeat them ad nauseum, as if you weren't already choking on heavy-handed metaphors at every turn. It's fortunate, then, that Arkham Knight, for all its ham-fisted storytelling and frequent returns to well-trod ground, features the qualities developer Rocksteady has infused its previous games with: superb production values, hard-hitting combat, and a wonderful sense of freedom as you soar above the skies of Gotham.

Hey, it's the Batmobile! Over and over!
Hey, it's the Batmobile! Over and over!

Scarecrow, Arkham Knight, and the legacy of the now-dead Joker loom large over this freedom. There is another, more surprising obstacle which you must overcome if you wish to retain your ownership of Gotham's skies, however: the Batmobile. For the first time in this series, you can leap into the iconic vehicle and zoom down the streets, drifting around tight turns and pursuing key vehicles as they speed away. The driving itself is slick and satisfying, as long as you can overlook Rocksteady's tendency to wrest away camera control to show you some dramatic sight or another. Yet there's no beating the incredible rush of using your line launcher to fling yourself through the sky--and it's worth mentioning that taking to the air is usually faster than settling behind the wheel. As a result, Arkham Knight is constantly trying to justify the Batmobile's presence, forcing it upon you at nearly every opportunity.

Particularly in the latter third of the story, you're frequently forced to take part in vehicular battles against remotely manned drones. When you first engage in this kind of combat, which turns the Batmobile into an agile tank, it's a delight. You strafe from side to side, sliding the vehicle into safe areas between the visible lines that indicate the path of incoming enemy rockets. All the while, you fire your cannons at the drones and use small fire to eliminate missiles fired upon you; the dark sky lights up during these battles, giving vehicular combat an initial spark, and making you the director of a spectacularly violent fireworks display.

Gameplay utilizes Batman's excellent detective skills. His orphan skills go underutilized, however.
Gameplay utilizes Batman's excellent detective skills. His orphan skills go underutilized, however.

But in spite of the upgrades the Batmobile earns over time--EMP blasts, the ability to hack enemy drones, and so forth--the Batmobile battles never become more interesting, just more monotonous, as they seem to go on forever. The story's final hours succumb to a series of same-ish battles that play out more or less like the last, lending an air of tedium to what should be the game's most poignant surprises. The Batmobile is also the centerpiece of a number of mediocre boss encounters, all manner of puzzles, boring cat-and-mouse games with superpowered tanks, and even some of the Riddler's many optional challenges scattered across the city. Don't be surprised should you end up muttering to yourself, "Too. Much. Batmobile."

Arkham Knight is at its best when you are given the freedom of movement you both need and deserve. What a treat it is to look down upon this beautiful and derelict city as you glide through the thick, black air. Gotham has been deserted by most citizenry due to Scarecrow's most recent threat to release a hallucinogenic toxin into the streets, making the clouded heavens and the stoic statues all the more imposing. The bat-symbol cuts an impressive silhouette in the sky, drawing you towards your next mission objective--and the objective itself may be a structure like the grandiose Panessa Movie Studios, where climbing ivy and guardian statues warn you of potential danger.

Arkham Knight is constantly trying to justify the Batmobile's presence, forcing it upon you at nearly every opportunity.

No Caption Provided

Batman is beautifully animated and an absolute joy to control. To soar towards Man-Bat and tackle the shrieking beast in one of the game's many side missions, and to zip to higher vantage points only to descend onto a rioter and deliver a hard kick, are the moments that represent Arkham Knight at its very best. Every mechanical edge is oiled to maximum slickness: Batman glides through Gotham with the confidence of an experienced predator, and exhibits the exact right amount of stickiness as he approaches surfaces. There is an astounding amount of flavor voiceover; Batman comments on the task at hand should you try to leave the area you are confined to, enemies remark on the number of fallen comrades they have counted during stealth encounters, and the annoyingly chatty thugs swarming the streets have more speaking lines than any number of film scripts. Few games are this rich in audiovisual details.

Don't forget: Batman isn't killing anyone in his rampage against Gotham's enemies, though he delights just enough in breaking bones that it's hard not to nod your head along to the Arkham Knight's insistence that Batman is just as responsible for Gotham's dereliction as anyone else. The storytelling gymnastics the game performs to remind you that Bruce Wayne is not a murderer are ridiculous. The Batmobile is using nonlethal rounds, you are told, and when you run over criminals, a little zap lets you know that you're not squishing them under your tires, just giving them an electrical jolt as you pass. I could dismiss this mounting nonsense easily as forgivable video game logic if the narrative didn't devote so much time explaining (and re-explaining, and re-re-explaining) that Batman lives by a non-killing code. Rocksteady tries to have it both ways, representing this code as an emotional conflict that figures heavily into the story, then letting you plow through crowds of bad guys without consequence. Even in the oft-illogical world of video games, the dissonance is striking.

No Caption Provided
Everyone loves a good crane-moving puzzle.
Everyone loves a good crane-moving puzzle.

Then again, this is a story about a billionaire in a bat suit, so perhaps there is only so much plausibility to be expected. It might be hard to believe Batman isn't sending men to the morgue during Arkham Knight's melee battles, but the series' rhythmic hand-to-hand combat continues to set the bar high. Batman is a frightening, almost otherworldly creature as he tumbles and slides from one target to another, and his fists exhibit the raw power of any hammer or club. Stealth combat sequences, which offer astounding flexibility in how you approach enemies, are as good as ever. Slinking through vents, taking down a goon, and zipping away is as rewarding as it is to sabotage your armed foes with your disruptor rifle, causing their weapons to malfunction and leaving their owners open to attack. Smart level design and a large array of gadgets--a remote electrical charge, a machine that emulates villains' voices, a hacking device, and so forth--keep each predator room as interesting as the last.

Batman's many talents give rise to a terrific amount of variety. He is a scientist and a detective in addition to being Gotham's scowling savior; he has a computer that knows the answers to every imaginable question (except the ones that drive the plot, of course); and he possesses the memory of an elephant rather than a bat--a nice skill to have when solving the murder mystery that serves as one of the game's better side plots. Arkham Knight finds great ways of incorporating these talents into gameplay. For instance, you re-create a kidnapping by activating the returning bat-vision mode and scouring the street for clues. The crime's events are then depicted on screen, allowing you to forward and reverse through them at will in your search for answers.

Poison Ivy is dressed for success, and like almost every one of Arkham Knight's female characters, is in need of rescue.
Poison Ivy is dressed for success, and like almost every one of Arkham Knight's female characters, is in need of rescue.

Puzzles like this are clever, and the related tasks, such as scanning a corpse's tissue to find anomalies, make you feel like an active participant in a real forensic analysis. The game constantly digresses, asking you to team up with comrades like Nightwing and Robin to deliver cooperative beatdowns, and to perform all number of secondary missions, which incorporate villains like Penguin, Two-Face, and Firefly. Some set pieces, such as one in which you defuse a set of bombs as a villain stands on a rotating platform, are particularly noteworthy for smart use of camera angles, and for the way the gameplay assists in characterization, teaching you about the miscreants at hand not just through dialogue and plotting, but through the way you interact with them.

Arkham Knight is loaded with villains, actually, including the one that gives the game its name: Arkham Knight himself. His identity is meant to be the game's greatest mystery, but conspicuous foreshadowing, and a reliance on age-old storytelling cliches, make every reveal as surprising as the time The Mighty Ducks won that big hockey game. There are some tense story beats and moving events, but your two primary goals--to stop Scarecrow's evil toxin plot, and to confront and unmask the Arkham Knight--are too predictable to be compelling.

Pow! Crunch! Whiff! Harumph!
Pow! Crunch! Whiff! Harumph!


What Batman: Arkham Knight does well, however, it does really well. Gotham is a dazzling playground where neon lights pierce through the rain and mist; all it takes is a single glimpse to tell you that this is a city in need. Moreover, many individual elements are so carefully constructed, and presented with such flair, that appreciation is the only reasonable reaction. Yet most of these elements--excellent acting, wonderful animations, moody soundtrack--are ones that Batman: Arkham City also excelled in, making Arkham Knight's missteps all the more noticeable. Rather than escape the pull of the games that spawned it, The Bat's newest adventure refines the fundamentals; it is a safe but satisfying return to the world's most tormented megalopolis.

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Now Playing: Batman: Arkham Knight - Video Review

Back To Top
The Good
Soaring above Gotham is a consistent treat
Smart crime-solving sequences
Lots of mission variety
Imaginative stealth and combat encounters
Impressive audiovisual details
The Bad
Forced use of the Batmobile puts a damper on fun and freedom
Ham-fisted dialogue and predictable reveals damage the story
Monotonous encounters and mediocre boss fights hurt the second half
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kevin is now well into a new-game plus in Batman: Arkham Knight, and has spent about 30 hours with the game in all. He played the PlayStation 4 version provided by WB Games on a debug console. He welcomes debate on whether Arkham City or Arkham Asylum is the better game, but scoffs at anyone who thinks it's Arkham Origins.
2987 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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strrckshn

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I don't think it is awful, but Rocksteady's obsession with cramming it down your throat is.

I really did like this game, but it was lacking the stellar pacing of all the previous titles. I never felt like I was in a groove in this game. Also, that metroidvania level design sadly took a back seat to cram the batmobile into every minute of the game.

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TehMasterer2

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Personally I looove the batmobile. I thought it would basically be a fancy car you can drive around, but it's actually more like another one of Batman's gadgets. It just integrates so seamlessly with the rest of the gameplay.

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Strangerzzzzz

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Edited By Strangerzzzzz

All I got to say is that I agree with this review. Match every con and pro in this game. Also you can look at the average rating, match it perfectly.

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nomailx

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omg! Witcher wild hunt boring repetitive uninteresting flawed fighting and leveling mechanics gets a 10. But Batman Arkham Knight, with physics based realistic melee combat, different characters, car chases, puzzles, car puzzles, scene investigation, melee combat, city roaming, gliding, diving, gadgets, challenges, riddles, and the mixture of all of the above and even more... gets a "7"...

lol! Kevin thinks he's a French Movie reviewer! He and the other Gamespot reviewers are forgetting the "Game" part when reviewing "Games", cause you know that this is a game right? It's not a movie or tv series. Yes, there will be cars and tanks and shooting!

And then, they give a 10 to a game cause peasants tell their life story, even though the "game" part of the game is almost non-existent!

I seriously recommend any user to follow metacritics at least to have a better Idea on the game they will purchase. Don't even read gamespot's reviews.

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Warriors30

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@nomailx: Kevin's review is a subjective opinion... it's not the be all end all of opinions, and it's not his job to match your/my opinion or the general opinion. Different strokes for different folks. He liked Witcher more than Batman and gave it a higher score... big fucking deal.

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nomailx

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@warriors30: lol! Dude, pls google "reviewer" and then come back and read what you just wrote! you gonna laugh too and sleep smarter tonight!

(Unless you're being sarcastic. Then it's cool).

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Warriors30

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@nomailx: Nah, I don't need to google anything... I'm right and you're just a butthurt fanboy. ;)

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nomailx

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@warriors30: Woww... Someone got burned and got angry! hahaha. Well, at least now you know what a reviewer is!

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BoboTheMighty

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Edited By BoboTheMighty

@nomailx: Hahaha...combat based on realistic physics? You mean those found in the universe based on instant acceleration that you currently live in? Car and riddle puzzles that come in only a few variations, but you have to repeat each one 50 times regardless? Sluggish car controls with neverending tank battles? Cartoonish story and characters, written to be engaging for morons, just on the same level as you?Monotonous atmosphere? Poor facial animations? Dlc scams and season pass milking of cows?

You're right about one thing...read the user reviews which cover also the negative aspects of this game and the overall score is actually very close the one from Kevin here.

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nomailx

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Edited By nomailx

@bobothemighty: Oh wait! For you realistic physics is Witcher 3 physics where you stab a monster in the chest and then for some reason its head pops up right?

"Sluggish"? lol! Dude, if you're retarded (which is ok), don't play games. Play legos, it will teach you to use your hands and mind in coordination. You will be able to use forks to eat and hold a pencil to draw.

No need to thank me. Enjoy the first small spark your brain ever emitted cause you got to answer one of my posts!

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BoboTheMighty

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@nomailx: Hate do admit it, but I'm impressed you managed to scratch your ass and spout all that filth at the same time. Grow up child and stop feeling threatened by anyone who doesn't share your point of view.

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nomailx

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@bobothemighty: Why would you watch my ass if you think I'm a child...? Poor choice of words dude...

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BoboTheMighty

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@nomailx: It was meant as a reference that you can't quite figure out the difference between your ass and your head, even when they are both spouting filth at the same time.

But you seem to have trouble with grasping a few things. No need to worry about it, my good boy! I'm sure everyone loves to tell you that you're a very, very special child.

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Warriors30

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Edited By Warriors30

@nomailx: You're an asshole. Seriously. He even agreed with parts of your comment and you give him the most dickish reply ever. What the hell is wrong with you? I'd say go see a doctor, but...

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a3/6d/8a/a36d8aa7f965f7eeef7bc43add5b131f.gif

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Rasiterita

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@nomailx: I agree 100% with you. While I agree Arkham Knight had some huge flaws I must say it does NOT deserve a 7 if the Witcher deserves a 10. Never ever trust a single reviewer, always look on metacritic and read a few reviews with different scores there instead of just trusting someone who may very well say something completely else than you would.

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metalkid9

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Coming from a GTA fan I think GTA5 deserved this score more than batman AK.

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spiddyman007

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@metalkid9: this was the only comment on gamespot that makes sense.

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GwynBleidd123

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I just finished the game. I agree with too much batmobile. It wasn't the driving, I love driving it, it was the tank sections. They got pretty annoying by the end of the game. The most dissapointing thing was the boss battles, there was nothing that stood out. I was hoping for another awesome fight with deathstroke by I just got a tank battle section. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and think it's amazing. Just too many tank battles and the dissapointing boss battles are the things I dislike.

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Spiderjensen

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Edited By Spiderjensen

Started playing this today. I love it. I don't agree with Kevin's comments about the batmobile. Sure the game wants u to use it alot but why not? It's fun. Also there is still plenty of hand to hand combat, light stealth and puzzles. The gameplay is balanced between all these elements, the batmobile definately doesn't tip the balance in its favour like Kevin suggests.

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Rasiterita

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@spiderjensen It does in the latter third of the game!

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Paoksis

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Did the change Gamespot to Gayspot? WTF is this new logo

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jalapen0

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@Paoksis: it's become gaymspot

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UnbornCorpser

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@Paoksis: It's to show support what are you 12?

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88MIKElll

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Edited By 88MIKElll

@UnbornCorpser: so many ppl who have no sense of humor, go garden something grandpa

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UnbornCorpser

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@88mikelll: That wasn't humor that Paoksis posted just shows he is probably homophobic. And on the off chance I'm wrong and he was trying to be humorous it wasn't even comedic in any fashion.

But defend a random person that clearly "deserves" it. Always great to see a keyboard warrior.

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KostasFavatas

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GS: Too Much Batmobile 7/10 ....why does this seem to me like those troll comments? For me Arkham Knight is an excellent game (for PS4/X1 since i have AMD GPU ugh..) and is worth it's money since it has what arkham fans wanted...THE BATMOBILE so stop saying too much batmobile...you use it IF you want dammit.

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DatDarkOne

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Edited By DatDarkOne

@KostasFavatas: That AMD GPU comment is too funny. Especially since PS4 and X1 both use AMD GPUs and don't have any problems with the game. The PC version was just a really bad port. Nothing more and nothing less.

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kenundrum7

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@KostasFavatas: I loved the Batmobile in this game. Nice addition I think. Hope they Iron out the issues for the PC users (they specifically mentioned AMD users) that are having problems.

Thumbs up on you comment.

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KGBinUSA

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@kenundrum7: Not just AMD users...lol. That's what Nvidia wants everybody to think, that only AMD has issues, while in fact majority of Nvidia users are also having issues.

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Jerry4050

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Don't be so harsh on Kevin. I have it on PC so I have the worst end giving it a 3/10 for being poorly optimized. I was thinking of getting it again on PS4 but then I thought about it. The game looks good but the Riddler levels using the Batmobile isn't fun, its very frustrating so I understand Kevins reasons of not liking those parts. I am at a part that is a spoiler that I really hate that is impacting the story so I have to say this isnt my game of the year. I am glad I can play it in some section for the PC version but it still runs like a mess after a few minutes of gameplay, I do get 10fps to single digets with lots of blur when it starts with the batmobile sections or cutscenes. Sucks Im playing it on a bad port. I should of gotten it on the PS4 to enjoy it more. The Batmobile sections are pretty bad in the riddler sections of the game. I do hate Catwomans personality in this game.

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weisguy119

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Ugh. I couldn't agree more. WAY. TOO. MUCH. BATMOBILE. It's like a racing game hijacked my Batman game.

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medafor

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Stop crying about the Batmobile, if Kevin VanBOARD wouldn't have whined about it so much a great percentage of you wouldn't have said anything.

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88MIKElll

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@medafor: ikr, ppl are such sheep

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Roland3710

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Completely agree with the comments about the Batmobile. Blowing up drones lacks the satisfaction of going against thugs and militia in predator and brawler encounters, especially when the Batmobile sequences seem to drag on endlessly as you are required to destroy thirty or forty drone tanks in a single encounter (those numbers are not exaggerations).

Aside from that my only other major complaint is that the primary story arc needed more villains. You essentially spend the entire game chasing after the Arkham Knight and Scarecrow. You'll encounter each of them three or four times before you finally get them, which makes it a bit annoying because it makes it feel as if you aren't really getting anywhere throughout most of the game. Add to that the fact that the Arkham Knight is a rather whiny and uninteresting villain and I can't help but feel that throwing more villains into the mix could have made the arc more enjoyable. Of course it seems that they wanted to reserve most of the villains for their "most wanted" missions.

Despite my complaints I still enjoyed this game. The Arkham games have been some of my favorites over the past few years and I'm a little disappointed to see the series go but I suppose it's always better to end the series on a high note rather than put out so many games the series becomes an amorphous blob with no sense of its own self.

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HughTheHand88

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The batmobile is fine until the second half of the game, then it's just tedious and repetitive. However overall the game is great, the story is fantastic, and the world is well crafted. I also disagree with the assertions about the portrayal of women.

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bonander

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I am not a fan of the batmobile. Is this game called Batman, or Batmobile? It did not need to be integrated into every single activity. It is fun on occasion. And can make for a fun distraction. But it is not fun having to have the thing "connected to your hip" the whole time. It has ruined the Riddler rooms for me. These were my favorite activities in the past games. Now I just dread them.

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StevenSpencer

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Absolutly nothing wrong with this game. First off, if you're not a fan of The Bat, don't play it. I don't think it deserves a 10 but a 7? I don't know what game you're playing. So go back and play that stupid game where you're chasing a scarf around that was on the ps3. 9/10 I believe.

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santinegrete

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@stevenspencer: I think Batman Arkham games are good enough to enjoy it without being a fan (like myself). Oh well, I'll play this one later, very later as it seems: I can't purchase it on PC

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Rolento25

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@stevenspencer: I love how you think a 7 is bad...

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KahnArtizt

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@stevenspencer: that game was incredible. If you couldn't enjoy that game, you don't have a heart. That game was the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever felt.

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Edited By ck02623

I'm about two hours in and I'm not as into this one as I was the other ones. I can't quite put my finger on why. The graphics are great. Great sound. I hate the fear takedowns and I don't like the batmobile. The game just feels a little bloated with mechanics.

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medafor

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Batmobile is awesome in this game. I really don't see the complaint it definitely gives a fresh experience to these Arkham games. Otherwise this game would have been just like the last one and the one before that. I am loving this game so far, feels very organic.

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oj1029_

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@medafor: batmobile combat is repetitive, if you like repetitive combat well you'll love this game

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medafor

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@oj1029_: so is playing as Batman on foot and grappling around for the what, the 3rd time in this Arkham series?

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crix01

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Kevin VanOrd is right! I hate the batmobile. The tagline of the game is "be the Batman" but that batmobile is not Batman at all. Every time you enter that thing you stop being the Batman and you become some robot from anime.

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UnbornCorpser

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@crix01: What...? The batmobile is in the comics and he uses it often enough so why would its inclusion change being the batman?

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Edited By crix01

@UnbornCorpser: He uses a car not a transformer tank. And he does not go around shooting things. Shooty, shooty, pew, pew, pew........that's not Batman.

This batmobile turns the game into a mediocre shooter just for change's sake.

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UnbornCorpser

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Edited By UnbornCorpser

@crix01: And? There are 3 other batman games you can play instead of this one. I enjoy the change in pace with the batmobile in this game. Maybe could have been used a tad less but overall good inclusion.

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Mon_Dieu_Mel

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... thirty hours for a "C+" game seems a bit at odds with the reviewer's sentiments, here.

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Batman: Arkham Knight More Info

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  • First Released Jun 23, 2015
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city he is sworn to protect. The Scarecrow returns to unite an impressive roster of super villains, including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, to destroy The Dark Knight forever. The game introduces Rocksteady's uniquely designed version of the Batmobile---drivable for the first time in the franchise. Batman: Arkham Knight offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City.
    8.1
    Average Rating796 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Batman: Arkham Knight
    Developed by:
    Iron Galaxy Studios, Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Montreal
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros.
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Theme(s):
    Fantasy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence