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September 2nd - Batman: Arkham Knight - Xbox One (100% Story and Most Wanted Missions)
Finally got this one done. Picked it up not long after release, played through about a quarter then it's been sitting on the hard drive for two years, right up until an Xbox rewards quest gave points for getting an achievement in the game last month and that gave me the kick I needed to get this one off from the pile of shame
As with the other games in the series, this is all (apart from the opening prologue and final ending) meant to take place in one night and is the culmination of the arc of Batman and his interaction with both his rogues gallery (especially Joker) and with Gotham.
Individually most aspects of this game are very good - graphics are still of a high standard and the soundtrack is great. The cast perform well and inhabit their characters. Batman moves like a man at the height of his abilities and it's a pretty featured moveset even from the beginning of the game. The city is well laid out (despite the Midgar thing happening on one of the Islands)and the care that Rocksteady have put into this game is apparent at every turn.
And yet ... and yet ....
just feels a little off in the game overall. Take the Batmobile for instance. Finally drivable, this thing is a beast and a clear iteration from Burton- and Nolan-verse versions. It's lovely to drive (except when in a curved tunnel) and was great fun to use. On occasion. However, it is massively overused throughout the game - there are far too many tank battles, chases and at least three boss sequences plus all the Riddler race tracks and my God I grew to hate sections where the Batmobile featured. There were also a couple of encounters that I just had to keep trying and failing at (Elliot Hospital militia tower; northernmost bomb on Founder's Island) but others that I think should have been tricky which I breezed through (Ryker Heights militia tower felt like I should have found it harder than I did). A couple of these were certainly the near two years between play sessions and at least one is that I'm a bit too much of a button masher.
There's a point where Batman is unable to use the streets and is meant to stay to the rooftops to get across the city - but we just had the Batwing swooping around. So why wouldn't I just call up the Batwing and fly over? As I would do in Origins (which I was glad to see was made canon here) but wasn't an option here?
I wanted to like this game more than I ended up doing and I can't pin down quite why. Certainly the unceaseless Batmobile sections didn't help but there was just something that didn't quite click throughout. I have no real intention of getting any of the dlc but I'm keen to watch playthroughs of Season of Infamy
etc. Riddle collecting wasn't the chore it was in City
but the final fight against the Riddler wasn't satisfying - how he is dealt with is actually more enjoyable in both Asylum
and the Catwoman dlc for this game.
Xbox tells me I've spent over 40 hours in this game and some of that for certain is going through the lore uncovered in the game. I think ultimately this is a game that is less than the sum of it's parts. Individual sections remain enjoyable (storming through a predator map is always great) but I doubt this is a game I will come back to.
Though game Pass does now have the Return To Arkham
set and I'm intrigued to play Asylum
again, just not right now.
As a side note, I'd like to see Rocksteady tackle other members of the Justice League - I'd love to see their take on the characters and abilities and they all exist in the Arkham-verse ...