GamingFirst Look at Batman Arkham Knight

First Look at Batman Arkham Knight

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I got a special sneak peak at Batman: Arkham Knight, and here are my thoughts on it.

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In the explosive finale to the Arkham series, Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city he is sworn to protect. The Scarecrow returns to unite an impressive roster of super villains, including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, to destroy The Dark Knight forever. Batman: Arkham Knight introduces Rocksteady’s uniquely designed version of the Batmobile, which is drivable for the first time in the franchise. The addition of this legendary vehicle, combined with the acclaimed gameplay of the Batman Arkham series, offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City.

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The first major point to note about Batman: Arkham Knight is that it will only be available on next gen consoles, so the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, and also Windows PC. This next gen only decision was taken by Rocksteady in order to make the game they wanted to make, including the sheer size and scale of the entire Gotham City, along with a lot of the graphics elements. Rocksteady wanted to ensure that the player felt like they actually were the Dark Knight himself.

Arkham Knight takes place about 12 months after the events in Batman: Arkham City. With the death of the Joker, there was a period of stability in Gotham City, as crime started to fall and the city started to get on its feet again, however, all that is about to change with the return of The Scarerow, last seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

The game starts as The Scarecrow has issued a chemical threat against the whole of Arkham City, and the majority of it’s citizens have fled to safety, leaving only the criminal elements, the police and one Dark Knight, along with Oracle to deal with the threats.

Batman must make his way to meet with Commissioner Gordon on the roof of the Gotham City Police Department, and this is where you see just how far the graphics elements have come, with helicopter lights bouncing off his cape whilst it moves around in the wind as he swoops around the city and rain drops running down Batman’s cowl. It’s something that Rocksteady refer to as “epic verticality” and is something that could only be achieved with next gen.

Each part of Gotham City has a unique look and feel, and it does look amazing. We got to see parts of Chinatown, with neon lights bouncing off puddles of water – there is a lot of detail there!

In Arkham City, Batman had the capability to use his grappling gun to move around the city, in Arkham Knight, Rocksteady have introduced the full grapple reversal, which enables Batman to instantly change direction, something very useful if you are going the wrong way, or suddenly decide to deal with some of the criminal elements around the city.

Another thing that Rocksteady have integrated very well into the game are narrative cut scenes. It’s fairly common place for the gameplay to stop, then for the narrative to start, then back to gameplay, but for the player to actually see a pause or a small beat. With Arkham Knight this is seamless – Batman swoops down onto the roof of the GCPD and the narrative kicks straight in without any pause.

From there you are given a number of tasks which you have to deal with, such as helping an Gotham City Police Officer who is surrounded, and finding a stolen truck – and this is just the beginning.

There is another new element that has been introduced called Gadgets While Gliding. This enables Batman to use various items, including Batarrangs, whilst gliding. This gives us the ability to take out some of the bad guys before we have even landed! Which brings us nicely onto combat.

The combat elements that made the Arkham series famous are still there, and they have been enhanced somewhat. There is a throw counter so you can pick up a bad guy and throw him at other bad guys. You can also take weapons from bad guys and use them yourself. You can also use various environmental elements depending on your location at the time.

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The biggest addition to the game is the Batmobile. For the first time in the Arkham series, the Batmobile is included, and is an integral part of the game. You can call the Batmobile and it will come to you, or you can go to it. You can even jump out of it whilst it’s in motion, straight into flight and not worry where you left it. There is a great sequence where the Batmobile comes screeching round the corner towards you, spins, the top slides open and Batman leaps up, and in, driving away without missing a beat. Rocksteady worked closely with DC Comics to bring their own unique interpretation of the Batmobile to the game, and it looks good!

In Arkham City, Oracle (Barbara Gordon) had a role to play, although she was just a voice. In Arkham Knight, her role is dramatically increased, and this time we actually see and interact with her. Her base of operations is the Clock Tower, and its a location that we can visit, access the Bat computer, and more. She also helps guide you around the city and adds a more personal element to the game.

The sneak peak ended with a brief introduction of the title character – the Arkham Knight.

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We don’t know much about him yet, but his suit looks rather a lot like Batman’s, and the A on the front looks like Arkham Asylum. He manages to get the drop on Batman, puts a gun to Batman’s head, and the screen fades to black as we hear a gunshot. One thing is certain, Batman has his work cut out for him. Arkham Knight is a brand new character developed by Rocksteady in conjunction with DC Comics.

Kevin Conroy returns as the voice of Batman, and given that characters such as Harley Quinn, Penguin, The Riddler and Two-Face are in the game, expect the return of Nolan North, Troy Baker and Tara Strong too!

And talking of Harley, if you pre-order the game you get a playable Harley character – now who wouldn’t want to play her?

Because Arkham Knight is the last in the Rocksteady Batman trilogy, they really wanted to go out with a bang and create something special, and certainly from the gameplay that I have seen, I think they may just have pulled it off. I cant wait to see more, and get some hands-on for myself!

You can see some more screenshots here, and watch my interview with Dax Ginn from Rocksteady here.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released later in 2014 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

Andrew Edneyhttps://moviesgamesandtechcom.wpcomstaging.com
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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