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June 17
2014

E3 2014: Batman: Arkham Knight

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BAK_Sshot001 (2)
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[editor's note: Arkham Knight is the fourth, not third, installment of the Batman Arkham series. Thanks commenter Gyro for the correction.]

The bat is back for his third installment in the Arkham series with Batman: Arkham Knight, and it looks to be more of all the glorious same that made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City a thrill to play. Let’s take a look at the return of Scarecrow and what wonderful toys Wayne Enterprises has for us this time.

So yeah, Scarecrow is the apparent big bad this time and has taken over the Ace Chemical Factory in order to release enough of his fear toxin to cover the entire east coast. Aiding him in his endeavor is the titular mysterious Arkham Knight, a guy in full techno body armor with a major vendetta against Batman…as if the entire criminal underground didn’t have one of those already.

Batman & the Arkham Knight

Batman & the Arkham Knight

When the bridge into the chemical factory gets blown up we were shown that the Batmobile is not only present for the game but features heavily into the game play, sort of like a machine gun-mounted Epona complete with “anywhere, anytime” outdoor summoning capabilities. After launching a grappling hook into the rubble of the bridge, the Batmobile went into reverse, pulled the road up into a makeshift ramp, rocket-boosted across the gap, and then for a dose of high-speed adrenaline one sees only this side of a good Sonic game launched Batman out of the cockpit right into the stratosphere for him to glide to a tactical vantage point. Just watching all of that happen was tons of fun; one can only imagine how it will feel to play.

Combat will be familiar to anyone who’s played the other entries in the series with a few fun bonuses. If you can catch a group of baddies by surprise, you can launch into a series of “fear takedowns” where you rapidly knock them out one after the other for a no muss no fuss encounter. Should a surprise attack be impossible (or bungled), different environments will have various set pieces that can be used in combat, such as smashing a thug into a fuse box or cutting a lamp to drop on the head of another for some dramatic knockouts.

BAK_Sshot008 (2)

For extra fun, the Batmobile can be used for combat shenanigans. There are some expected bits where you drive around shooting up tanks and other robotics that get in your way, but it’s the melee combat where things get really interesting. If you know where a group of thugs are, the Batmobile can launch you across the map (within reason) to get a high-powered drop on them that’s pretty much guaranteed to knock out the first baddie you land out. Alternatively, if the Batmobile is nearby it can create a distraction by firing on your assailants, at which point Bats can launch anyone he’s fighting with up into the air for the Batmobile to automatically take out with a well-aimed riot suppressor shot.

The Batmobile

The Batmobile

Dreamworks’ Megamind comes to mind after watching this demo. When combating Tighten in the movie’s climax, Megamind asks him if he knows the difference between a villain and a super villain. The answer? Presentation. It would seem that the same holds true for heroes as well as Batman: Arkham Knight is filled with so much presentation and style that there is no question that this game will be anything but super.

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About Christian Walters

(Writer) Christian lives in El Cerrito, CA which is close enough to San Francisco to count. When not busy being unimpressed by press releases and AAA hype, he spends his time singing, finding heavy things to pick up and put down, and occasionally going out on the town in naught but cowhide. He has worked in the industry with companies like Sega of America and Trion Worlds, and one day hopes to design a game of his very own.

6 Responses

  1. avatar Gyro says:

    Wouldn’t Batman: Arkham Knight be the fourth in the series? You have it listed as the third for some reason.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Batman: Arkham City
    Batman: Arkham Origins
    Batman: Arkham Knight

  2. avatar Bill says:

    No, Knight is the third in the series. Origins is an offshoot & not in the main trilogy. So you’re both right in a way, but in the context of the article Christian is right this time.

    • avatar Gyro says:

      I don’t know about that. I mean, it does exist as a batman game with the Arkham name on it and has about 12 hours of gameplay. It is not like it was just a DLC pack.

      • avatar Bill says:

        Yeah it has Arkham but, one WB Montreal did Origins, not Rocksteady. The higher ups wanted to push out a $$ maker interim Arkham game between City & the then un-named Knight.

        Two, I don’t remember where I read it but I read an article with a developer at Rocksteady & he mentioned it being the third of a trilogy. Sorry I can’t remember where it was. Maybe Game Informer(???)?

        Three, being a Asylum prequel it wouldn’t fit into Rocksteady’s timeline.

        Sorry if this sounds snarky, I don’t mean it to be. Just an honest reply of my thoughts :)

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