When any form of medium releases to the masses, it’s always interesting to find out most individual person’s opinions on it. Why? Simple, really, albeit cliché too. No one person has the same experience and thoughts as the next. That’s the beauty of life. Another cliché. Oh, boy. Anyway… In this case, we’re going to be talking about game developer Rocksteady’s most recent and supposed last entry in the Arkham franchise: “Arkham Knight.”
The general consensus of the game is widely positive. Who’s surprised by that? Since the series’ inception the production value, attention to detail and pristine mechanics have set it apart from all others. Making it one of the staples and standard setters in gaming’s last generation. Now in the current gen of games, Arkham is no longer going to have the same impact as its initial release “Arkham Asylum.” But what it can do is set a bar for other games to hopefully and finally receive a game the new consoles have been yearning for. Much like a Metal Gear or Uncharted game can. We’ll have to wait and see how those two franchises fair in the coming year.
As of right now, post-E3 and into the early part of summer, Arkham Knight has done just that. When Ready At Dawn’s “The Order: 1886” unfairly faltered* and how “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” — although critically acclaimed — is too gigantic an open-world to the point it becomes niche. Knight is the PS4 and Xbox One’s “The Last Us,” as that game was for the PS3. Is it anywhere near the level of all-time greatness? Of course not. TLoU is a special game, a masterpiece that’s sometimes seen once in a generation. Can Knight be, at least, in the conversation for any one player’s all-time favorites? Sure it can.
Knight has all the elements needed for a game to be great: a) The best constructed story in the series with Scarecrow as the big bad and Arkham Knight being a pain in the ass more-so than the fear magnate himself at times. Once Arkham Knight is unmasked, it becomes immediately clear who the main villain is. Even in saying that it doesn’t automatically mean it’s Dr. Jonathan Crane. Or does it? b) Controlling Batman during hand-to-hand combat encounters and also while in predator mode are some of the most satisfying gameplay mechanics in gaming. “Be the Batman” isn’t just a throwaway line to sell the game. Well, it is but it’s so true. Besides his prowess with his fists, Batman’s gadgets feel damn good too, including…wait for it…the newest addition of the Batmobile.** c) Knight looks so shiny. Whatever engine Rocksteady has this game running on other developers should take note. It’s stunning how detailed the characters and environments are and how vast and, actually, open the world is. Gotham City looks like a city minus the populous.
GOY 2015 Nominees
|1. “Arkham Knight”|
|3. “The Order: 1886”|
|4. “Broken Age” (PS4/Vita)|
|5. “Shovel Knight” (PS4/Vita)|
Why wait for an exclusive that may or may not define a single console? Delve into the best game on the PS4 and Xbox One, for now. (Stressing the latter.) When the end of summer hits, which will be here sooner than we know, the likes of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” and “Fallout 4” drop into these consoles, and the conversation will shift for many. Can Phantom Pain reinvigorate a franchise that has felt dull ever since the nostalgia trip of “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots?” And Fallout is Fallout. It’s a juggernaut. It can be argued, however, that Fallout will tread along the same lines it always has in its incredible success while with each new entry the Arkham trilogy has leaped ahead of its own self. With all that being said, Arkham Knight is the game of the year in the first-half of 2015.
* “Unfairly faltered” because:
Loving my time with The Order. Gorgeous, Victorian setting, intriguing story…all plusses. Pacing is a bit off in spots, but great game.
— Jon Reyes (@werdynerdy) July 3, 2015
** From what everyone has said who have played Knight, driving the Batmobile around Gotham isn’t the problem. It’s the car’s “tank mode.” Is it un-Batman-like? Hell yes. Yet it plays well, it makes sense both in the confines of the story and while in combat and it’s the most (forcibly) used gadget in Batman’s utility belt that we probably forget it’s the one we love out of all the ones we’ve been given throughout the trilogy.