What If Batman Arkham Knight Isn't The Best Game Ever Made? - Batman: Arkham Knight - PlayStation 4 - www.GameInformer.com
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Batman: Arkham Knight

What If Batman Arkham Knight Isn't The Best Game Ever Made?

A lot of people are going to tell you Batman: Arkham Knight is one of the best games at the show. I'm not going to argue that. I've seen it, and it's awesome. I got to play the game and I totally love it; but here's a counter argument for what could still go wrong.

I'm a huge Batman fan (I weigh about 200 pounds, but my love for Batman is well over 500). I love the comics, I’ve loved the movies, and I’ve obsessed over Rocksteady’s recent games. Maybe I’m bias, and maybe I just love too much, but there are a few things about Batman: Arkham Knight I want to nitpick about.

The Batmobile shouldn't be a big focus of the game
I think that the Batmobile is a great element of the Batman universe, and I think it makes sense to want to put it in the game, but it looks like Rocksteady is making too big of a push with the car. The Batmobile can transform from racing mode to a battle mode where it performs more like a strafing artillery tank. Like all of Rocksteady’s games, the mechanics and animations are extremely polished, but I worry that the Batmobile’s battle mode mechanic doesn't fit with the overall structure of the Arkham games.

During one part of my demo I remote controlled the Batmobile and had it blow open a wall and then grapple an elevator cable in order to raise and lower the elevator box for Batman to access a new area. I love the idea of incorporating the Batmobile into more puzzles like this. Unfortunately, most of the marketing we’ve seen for the Batmobile so far has focused on the more tank-like battle mode that has Batman strafing drones and blasting them into debris. That kind of gameplay feels a little too much like a generic shooter to me. I hope it’s not a major facet of the gameplay, because it doesn’t fit with my idea of Batman.

This Story Is Still Unproven
The first two Batman games didn’t tell the most complex or narratively rich stories in video games, but they were still incredibly fun tales that incorporated a lot of nice elements from Batman’s mythos. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini helped draft the story. With Arkham Knight, Rocksteady is handling the game’s story in house. This makes me a little nervous.

The team got to create a new character for the game, a villain called Arkham Knight. This new character’s design is great, as he looks kind of like a military inspired version of Batman himself. I know Rocksteady worked with DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns to create the character, and I don’t know how much work Johns has done on the character, but I get the impression Rocksteady is writing a lot of a dialogue themselves. Based on what I saw at E3 this might not be a smart choice. Despite the fact that Arkham Knight looks incredibly badass, most of his dialogue came across as if he were an antsy teenager who was obsessed with killing Batman. Hopefully, Arkham Knight will have an amazing and rich story, but for the moment I feel like Rocksteady is unproven in this particular area.

Why does everything have to be so boxy and edgy and sexualized?
I think the title for this section pretty much speaks for itself, but I’ll go ahead an elaborate on it, because that’s what writers do. The Batman Arkham games have always had a distinct design style. If you’ve played one, or even seen the concept art for the characters, you know exactly what it is. I don’t feel like this style is wrong, but I have started to grow tired of it over the course of the series.

Some gamers have already complained how Harley Quinn and Catwoman have been portrayed as hyper-sexualized beings. Why is this necessary? In fact, I think these kinds of extreme designs take away from the games overall believability (though I understand believability is already stretch somewhat thin for a character who dresses up like a bat to fight crime).

Additionally, Batman, his villains, and pretty much every other character in the game seems over masculinized. Commissioner Gordan looks like he takes creatine in his coffee, and even characters like the Penguin and the Joker seem a littler bulkier than they are in the comics. This bulky design sense carries through to every part of the game – from the Batmobile, to the architecture, to the weapons and tools Batman uses in the game. I don’t want a wimpy looking Batman, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a more grounded and realistic depiction of the character.

Despite these complaints and concerns, I’m still incredibly excited about Arkham Knight and the game could be my game of the show. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, it just means I care too much.

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  • Good article, I feel like these are worthy complaints. As a massive Bat fan myself, the tank Batmobile has me worried as well.
  • That all seems like pretty fair criticisms to me.

  • *facepalm* Ben, then you can complain about every game, including the past three Arkhams. Hypocrisy? You just answered your own question Ben.
  • The Arkham knight sounds like an angsty teenager? Jason Todd as Arkham knight confirmed!
  • Are we only just NOW complaining about the game's design style? Also, regardless of how believable they are, Harley Quinn and Catwoman have been "sexualized" for quite a while in the comics. Hell, I think Harley's outfits in the series have even been more conservative than her comic counterpart's.
  • I think the battle mode looks cool, don't get me wrong, but the tank stuff feels too superfluous to push like they did at E3. "Shooting" itself is so antithetical to Batman and so prevalent in video games themselves that it feels uninspired. I also am wary of the Batmobile sequences feeling repetitive. It looks great, I just hope they're pushing what made those other two games great instead of an essentially unproven concept.
  • interesting argument, but I think the focus on the batmobile is for advertisement to get you hyped. As for the Arkham Knight I still believe that the one under the mask is someone we know. There is a chance that they introduce a new character, and do a comic series about him if his new. We can analyse the game, and find many things we may not like, but I think this game will be a huge step for a Batman game, and I'm excited about it. P.S: I know this may sound greedy, but I'm hoping that Rocksteady's next project will be something in DC comics. Maybe Justice League, or Superman.
  • Wow. Way to kill my enthusiasm! ; )

  • If a commenter were to say this in an article it'd be world war 8.
  • I don't agree with any of these points; I love the emphasis on the batmobile in gameplay, I think Rocksteady will do a great job with the story, and I think the character models are fine.
  • Interesting criticism, and definitely well-founded. It's always good to give the big, popular games a jab that they could use.

  • Who doesn't love a sexy, bad ass girl? Sexy Harley Quinn? Uh yes please
  • All I wanted was a full scale Gotham City to explore. The glide mechanic is possibly the best ever programmed into a game so I doubt I'll be too tempted to drive the Bat "tank." Each DC Universe (here its the Arkham-verse) is different or we would see the same build and model of each character every time so no complaints on how muscular/sexualized they appear. The only thing I'm worried about is the in-house script. Especially if they abandon how the death of the Joker was affecting Bats in the HQR DLC. Ben's points are all valid but if you love Batman lore enough, you always want more no matter how rewarding this series has been.

  • Catwoman is SUPPOSE to be hyper sexual and sexualized; that's her personality and her "personal" choice of clothing. Throughout all batman media. And I find your last point the weekest out of all these.
  • I agree with the first two criticisms, but I disagree with the 3rd. The Batman universe isn't meant to be so grounded in reality. In fact I rather like how they stray away from reality at times. Nolan's films are great but it seems they have created this expectation that Batman needs to be dead serious and real in every way. I also don't mind that characters are hyper sexualized. It's escapism to me, and again, not everything has to be a simulation of reality. It is based off a comic after all. It could very well fall to the hype machine though. It is hard to match or out-do yourself when you have set the bar so high. Especially when everyone is nostalgic and will judge the game based on its predecessor instead of on its own merit.
  • Well, it will be the best game ever. I thought Arkham City had a great story, but I do kind of agree with the Batmobile part. The new gameplay video of the Batmobile's battle mode turned the game into Call of Duty.
  • Commissioner Gorgon? GORGON???
  • "Commissioner Gorgon" - I know this was likely just a typo but I giggled imagining Commisioner Gordon with snakes for hair. Your points are all worth considering Ben but I'm stil very confident that Arkham Knight will be the proper sendoff for Batman that Rocksteady is hoping it will be. If anything, it will at least be better than the over-hyped and mediocre Arkham Origins. I agree about all the male characters being so jacked; it makes sense for Batman since he's trained for years to reach maximum physical capacity but when I think of villains like Scarecrow and Joker, I picture thin, wiry dudes and when I imagine Penguin, he's squat and kinda fat. Even characters with more "normal" body types like Two-Face probably wouldn't be as physically fit as the Dark Knight. One could argue that Catwoman and Harley Quinn use their sexuality to coerce and manipulate people but I agree there's sexy, and then there's *too* sexy. Having Harley Quinn wear a tight-fitting outfit is one thing, putting her in a short skirt, knee-high boots, and an unbuttoned blouse is quite another. I understand developers need to make their games appealing to the male demographic but blatantly overt sex appeal just makes me think developers see me as nothing more than a sex-starved neanderthal and I don't imagine it makes female gamers feel any better.
  • I'm calling it right now that Arkham Knight doesn't end up as "GOTY" for anyone, but with that being said, I think the game's review scores and longevity of people talking about it will be high. I'm expecting the lowest score to be a very high 7.
  • I wasn't a huge fan of the story in Arkham City so I'm curious to see what Rocksteady comes up with.

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