Preview: Arkham Knight

Arkham Knight will be the latest and possibly final instalment in the hugely successful Arkham series created by Rocksteady. It is five years since Arkham Asylum was released and it’s safe to say that this title blew away every other Batman game that had come before it; unlike many of the previous games starring the Dark Knight this was not based on one of the many movies. Instead Rocksteady created a movie within a game, and the storyline was fantastic. Batman himself was also incredibly fun to play as and realised in a way no other super hero has been.

Possibly the greatest aspect of the Arkham series of games is the free flow fighting mechanics. Basic in nature but complex to string together it has the ability to make you feel empowered as you take on several henchmen at once. It is hard to explain what it is exactly that makes the fighting so brilliant but if you have played these games I am sure you too will know exactly what I mean by feeling empowered, and more importantly you do feel as though you are Batman himself, not an easy feat to pull off.

Arkham Asylum has spawned two sequels. City was set after the events of the first game and a huge improvement on an already impressive game, bringing the caped crusader’s fight to the streets of Gotham and introducing even more of the enemies from the Batman universe. This was followed up by Origins which as the name suggests shows Batman early on in his crime fighting career and still learning the ropes. This title was developed by Warner Brothers Montreal and not Rocksteady as they were concentrating on this new next gen outing. Whilst at the time it was received with a slightly negative reception as it didn’t live up to its predecessors I have recently replayed through it and I certainly enjoyed it more second time round, and feel that while it doesn’t introduce many new gameplay mechanics it isn’t any worse than Asylum or City and is a very good game.

While Warner Brothers Montreal were handed the reigns to the Arkham name to work on Origins Rocksteady were working away on Arkham Knight which is coming only to the new consoles, this is a welcome change to many games that have been released on both generations of console and I feel to the detriment of the new hardware with developers doing little more than enhancing the visuals. With this in mind I have even more hope that Arkham Knight will be a step ahead of the game with not just incredible visuals but more mechanics that can only be realised on the PS4 and Xbox One.

The map is allegedly five times the size of the area of Arkham City opening up much more of Gotham for Batman to explore. As the map is so much larger it introduces something that all Batman fans have been waiting for: the Batmobile is playable and will be an integral part to help traverse the massive map. There have been a few gameplay videos released showing the Batmobile in action and so far it looks great and will be more than just a way of getting round the city, it has a battle mode where it will be able to use 360 degree movement and weapons against opposing vehicles to help clear the streets of Gotham. The Batmobile will also play parts in missions and help solve puzzles through out the game.

Following the ending of Arkham City Batman has a huge hole in his life and the remaining enemies of Gotham have decided to band together and kill Batman once and for all, and this time they are lead by Scarecrow. Rocksteady also introduce a new enemy, the Arkham Knight, who is described as a militarised version of Batman. I am excited to learn more about this character and feel a fresh face could be just what is needed to keep the games form going stale.

As in the previous Arkham titles Batman will earn XP as he progresses through missions and can use this XP to upgrade various aspects of himself from armour to more effective gadgets, added to this I fully expect the new Batmobile to be upgradable too. Old allies of Batman will return with Alfred, Jim Gordon and The Orcale all going to be heavily involved in the story line with The Oracle in particular confirmed to have been given a more prominent part.

I am hugely excited for this title, it follows on from some of the best games created and with Rocksteady having a few years to get to grips with the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One hardware I fully anticipate Arkham Knight to be the best yet, and following the unexpected ending of Arkham City I think Rocksteady will have a few twists and turns to come, especially if this is their final game. They will, after all, want to go out with a bang. Arkham Knight is expected to be released around the end of February and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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