I finished Batman: Arkham Knight and I wanted to talk about it, but I didn't want to write a review because I wanted this to be more stream of thought.
Contain unmarked spoilers for the Arkham Series.
I played the first two games and liked them well enough, though they never left much of an impact after I finished them. I didn't play Arkham Origins because I heard bad things about it and figured it wouldn't be considered canon. I was wrong.
My biggest thoughts are on the story. Arkham Asylum was okay, but I didn't like the plot of Arkham City. I didn't like how Arkham City sounded like it was going to be this cool confrontation between Batman and Hugo Strange who could get inside Batman's head but, like so many Batman stories, it got hijacked by the Joker and devolved into dealing with the Joker's bullshit.
Here I'm glad the main plot was firmly about Scarecrow and Arkham Knight's weird complicated plan, and it stays that way throughout the game. It never gets hijacked, it's all about Batman and Scarecrow trying to outrace each other.
However I do not like the c-plot about Batman hallucinating Joker and still being poisoned from the last game and maybe that's why he's hallucinating Joker because it does not make any sense and feels like it's just an excuse to have Joker in the game again. Why would Joker's toxic blood make other people into the Joker? The Titan formula didn't do that. Why would a poison give someone a different personality? Did Batman hallucinate the Joker before the first bunch of fear toxin, since otherwise he didn't seem to be changing into the Joker in other ways? And how was it resolved? Why did Scarecrow's fear toxin cure whatever Batman had when all the work Tim did accomplished nothing? It had too many plot holes and should never have been in the game.
And while I did like the main plot for the most part I did not like how many times it kept going because Batman would do stupid things like get jumped or attack Scarecrow blindly or get distracted.
I enjoyed the parts of the story about Batman’s no-kill policy biting him in the ass. That’s always been a problem with Batman, partially because the medium won’t let him, but it was nice to see all his weak instory excuses for not killing the Joker or Scarecrow blow up in his face. But they don’t take it far enough, Barbara should have remained dead. Same with his “not trusting his partners” problem, it was great to see Batman get chewed out for that but it should have had more serious consequences.
I thought I saw a screenshot online that spoiled the ending to Arkham Knight. I’m glad it was fake and I was a little surprised by the ending, though it played out mostly how I expected it to. Now I want a new game to tie up all the loose ends, it doesn’t needs Batman, I’m happy with his supporting cast. Or maybe Rocksteady could make a Batman Beyond game, that way we could get a new map.
I also enjoyed how Batman’s supporting cast got bigger roles in this one compared to the past two games, especially Nightwing and Robin, Robin especially deserved a bigger role. All the little hints to DC comics all over the world are fun too.
Speaking of the world, while the first two islands were decent, the third island felt underused, which is a shame because the new Gotham being built over the old Gotham could be its own story, plus all the high tech parts are cool and the invasion by Lexcorp is interesting.
Gameplay wise the sneaking around and picking off thugs remains the best part of the game, and I like the addition of multi-man takedowns, though its activation can be finicky. The fighting and combo system is still the worst part, a fight system based on hitting people fluidly in a row without interruption shouldn’t randomly choose who you are going hit next, you can’t form a strategy around that.
I heard people complain about all the Batmobile segments, I agree there were too many but they were not terrible. It just felt like someone had made their own game and shoehorned it into Arkham Knight.
Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are always a delight to hear, Tara Strong is still a horrible choice for Harley Quinn, everyone else sounds find.
The character models look like ass, Poison Ivy and Catwoman are hideous and Bruce Wayne looks like a Neanderthal.
That’s it, glad I got that off my chest. I would still like another Batman game by Rocksteady, assuming they haven’t run out of steam.