The Batman: Arkham franchise has had a long and happy history since Arkham Asylum hit shelves back in 2009. The fourth and final entry, Arkham Knight, was just as successful as always – at least on consoles. Unfortunately, the PC version of the game was bogged down by a multitude of graphical bugs, frame-rate drops, and crashes. The game’s reputation among PC gamers unsurprisingly plummeted.
Since its release in 2015, however, Rocksteady Studios has all but bent over backwards to release patch after patch in an attempt to punch the game back into playable shape. Thankfully, their efforts have been mostly successful. So now that the game-breaking bugs are effectively gone, how good is the actual game?
The answer is pretty astoundingly good. I’ve always been a fan of the Arkham franchise, and the fourth entry is a very fitting finale. The storyline is simple, but effective: after being missing for years, the super-villain known as Scarecrow returns to destroy Gotham City. With the help of a strange Batman copycat known as the Arkham Knight, he sets out to finally bring down the Dark Knight and his allies for good.
It’s a great game. But even with the bugs gone, it still has some detracting issues. My biggest complaint regards the Batmobile skins. Some very cool Batmobiles – such as the ’89 Tim Burton version and even the car from the ’60s TV show – are shoved into racing mini-games and restricted from open play. The reason for this is that the alternate Batmobiles apparently don’t support all the guns of the normal option. This is a very annoying feature that seriously detracts from the fun of the Batmobile. Adding weapon support for The Dark Knight’s Tumbler would have won over the hearts of gamers across the globe. How difficult would it have been to simply shove in weapon support and be done with it?
Another complaint is that some of the side-quests (Riddler’s in particular) get very tedious as the game wears on. Arkham Knight is definitely a game that is worth spending some time on, but the game sometimes demands more than most players are willing to give. That, coupled with slightly predictable storylines and a Mary-Sue-ish Batman can make the game a little stiff at times.
Despite its rocky introduction to the market and its several glaring faults, this game is still the quintessential Batman experience. Every element that made the previous titles so entertaining have been tweaked, streamlined, and perfected. The addition of the Batmobile, restricted as it is, serves as an incredible asset to the gameplay. Every other element of the game, from animation to voice acting to music is even better than previous Arkham adventures. There were very few moments of the game that were boring or unenjoyable. Thanks to Rocksteady’s patches, the game runs smoother and stronger than ever before. And even though the story got a little predictable toward the final act, it was still a very enjoyable experience from start to finish.