Its been a long road for Rocksteady. Just over seven years ago, I remember the ridicule and furor that surrounded the announcement that Rocksteady, a relatively unknown British developer with only a luke warm first person shooter to their name would be making a new Batman game.
Rocksteady ultimately had the last laugh, as the critical and community acclaim for Arkham Asylum continued to pour in and a new precedent for superhero games was set.
Fast Forward to 2015 and their planned Batman trilogy has finally been completed with Arkham Knight.
Following the death of the Joker at the culmination of Arkham City, Gotham’s crime levels have dropped, but like a festering sore, the criminal element were just waiting for the moment to erupt back onto the streets, and this time they have gone big.
Scarecrow has unleashed a devastating new fear toxin in the city, and after the mass evacuation the gangs of penguin, two-face, riddler and Rocksteady’s own creation, the Arkham Knight, have flooded out to take the streets.
Bruce Wayne, along with his Oracle, Robin and the Gotham PD, must once more don the cape and armour to face the denizens of Gotham on behalf of the good people of the city.
The vision of Gotham has been reimagined with a vast array of missions, enemies and collectables around every corner, which will occupy at least 20 hours of your time.
If you have played any of the previous iterations, then combat will come as no surprise. Your vast array of combat moves, utility weapon and counters to unlock and upgrade all make a reappearance along with a few new modifications and toys with which to play, most notably of course, the batmobile itself.
Drawing inspiration from the Tumbler created for the Nolan Dark Knight series, this armoured behemoth has the workhouse tank design, but with the added bonus of video game trickery to allow you to switch between speed and power at the press (or hold) of a button.
For a vehicle that is effectively a tank, the one thing you will notice immediately is that it handles extremely well. Before long you will be roaring round corners to chase down the many gang cars and apc’s that you encounter throughout the city.
Graphically, Arkham Knight is unsurprisingly good looking. Water effects are surprisingly natural for the Unreal engine, reflections of the countless Neon lighting that illuminates the grimy city bring it to life while gas effects seen later in the game have a viscous and permeating look to them. Finally, particle effects in weather and pollen distribution is unbelievably complex.
Given the scale of the game I was initially apprehensive, as the open world presented in Arkham City was for the most part overwhelming. Even though Gotham is as large, if not larger than its predecessor, the inclusion of the batmobile lead me to never experience that same sense of dread when seeing the distance I would need to cover to my next main or side mission.
Unfortunately, it seems Rocksteady loved the batmobile far more than I did, as it seems that every other mission requires its use and by the point late in the game that the car was destroyed I was actually relieved…for all of two minutes until a replacement was shuttled in by the batplane.
Rocksteady promised a surprise with their creation, the titular Arkham Knight, and in my opinion they have succeeded. Those familiar with the batman comics will no doubt be less taken by the origins and conclusions of the Arkham Knight but there is enough to the core story to entertain those not so knowledgeable.
Overall, besides my minor gripe about the overuse of the batmobile, Batman Arkham Knight is a fantastic end to a well-constructed trilogy and Rocksteady have seen fit to leave us with just enough hanging to allow for further games in the series should someone else decide to take up the baton.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Format: PS4/XboxOne/PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Batman : Arkham Knight by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.