Batman Arkham Knight is the epic conclusion to Rocksteady’s Arkham series. Gotham is under attack, again, this time headed up by Scarecrow and a mysterious armored villain known as Arkham Knight. Other baddies show their faces in sub plots such as Two-Face and The Penguin. The side stories are weaker this time around with the villainous acts of Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight taking center point. The returning cast, such as Kevin Conroy’s Batman, do a terrific job as well as newcomers like John Noble’s Scarecrow. However, the animations make these excellent performances seem stoic at times along with a few undeveloped plotlines. That said it’s hard to put down.
Melee combat remains just as addictive, fast, and fluid as before. Certain missions even allow Nightwing, or Catwoman to be playable in tag team bouts. The Dark Knight’s gadgets still feel great too and zipping around the city, tackling thugs from above never gets old. What does is the biggest new addition to the game: The Batmobile. Using it in puzzles is inventive and destroying drones in the tank mode feels great. However, actually driving it is another, wonky story. The Batmobile would have been a nice accompaniment to the game had it been an optional tool, but it’s not. It’s jammed down players throat in a seemingly desperate attempt to innovate the series, but instead leads to frustrating and tedious gameplay.
While the aforementioned character animations feel a bit robotic, it’s clear the team pulled their resources into making this world feel alive from the rampaging goons to the radio chatter. It’s the most gorgeous, neon brightened Gotham yet. Plus, again, voice work and music are stellar. On a sour note, side quests can be blatantly obscure and require players to finish them all in order to get an actual ending to the game. What?
Batman Arkham Knight is ambitious, but it fails to end the series on its best note. That said, some of the best moments in the series happen within, twisting convectional Batman lore on its sides. Controlling Batman and exploring Gotham never felt better. The obscurity of the side missions and the emphasis on the Batmobile weigh down the experience though. It’s a great game, but a disappointing end to what was one of the best adaptions of a license. Ever.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 30, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.