A Knight in shining armour
Hi, I’m Batman. At least that’s how I feel like introducing myself after spending the last few days playing the brilliant new Batman Arkham Knight.
Everything from the crisp graphics, effective mood setting lighting and the sheer size of Gotham City as you sit perched high above the chaos below makes you feel like the Caped Crusader.
Add in challenging puzzles set by your old foe the Riddler – who is just one of a number of enemies you face – and your trusty sidekick the Batmobile, a necessity to bail you out of life threatening situations, and you have a title that is surely going to be in the running for game of the year.
A strong main quest and multiple side quests and challenges which you can repeat to improve your scores for the WB Play leaderboard add to the overall package and make things interesting.
But story mode alone, this game will keep you hooked for hours and hours. Attention to detail, a wide range of combat moves and choice are the key factors to the game’s success.
Previous Batman games felt a little bit linear but in AK you really can choose to play using stealth or brute force if the situation will allow it. In fact going in gung ho in some scenarios will only see you fail.
At the time of writing I have played around two-thirds of my way through the engaging story mode. Within that time I probably had one of the best hours of gameplay I think I have ever had the pleasure of playing.
(Spoiler alert) I had to use a crane to lower a ramp into position and get the right angle to jump the batmobile into a building. Not only that but I had to judge the speed when jumping to make sure I didn’t hit the roof on takeoff.
It is certainly not easy to work out what to do next and how to get around obstacles and challenges sometimes which may put off gamers who want a more straightforward experience. But to me that is one of the game’s strengths.
Fighting multiple targets is really fluid as well. While it is essentially button bashing, there are lots of different animated moves Batman uses to add some real gloss to proceedings.
An example of the level of fine detail I referred to earlier came when I hit a building in the batmobile. Instead of just bouncing off and rocketing along like a lot of games where driving is a key element, some of the bricks collapsed onto the car. A small but important touch which shows just how far the franchise has come.
Rating: 9/10. Version reviewed: PS4