Preview Batman: Arkham Knight Preview – Knight Rider

Rocky Mar 27, 2014

  1. Ro

    Rocky Guest

    Arguably the brightest light to come out of the last generation in terms of developers was the London-based Rocksteady Studios. Despite being founded in 2004 and amusing video game fans with Urban Chaos on the PlayStation 2 in 2006, it wasn’t until last generation that the studio really came to life, all thanks to their outstanding work on the Batman franchise. Two games, two hits – both commercially and critically – but alas, that generation is now all but over. Here we are then, at the helm of a new generation with new hardware, but the same ol’ Batman, and finally one of the first batch of next-gen only third party games that we’ve all been clamouring for. Rejoice.

    Set 12 months after the events of Arkham City, Arkham Knight sees Gotham City under threat once again, with Scarecrow returning to lead villain duty after sitting out Arkham City, something Rocksteady say was a conscious decision from way back when. Dr. Jonathan Crane and his batshit crazy alter ego, Scarecrow, have issued a citywide, WMD threat, which in turn has triggered the evacuation of Gotham City leaving it in the dire need of a hero once again *ahem* Batman, that’s your cue.


    Arkham Knight has been in the works conceptually since 2010, according to Dax Ginn, Brand Marketing Producer at Rocksteady Studios, and is set to provide an explosive conclusion to the trilogy that the studio has been telling since pre-2009. The next-gen only experience takes place in a world 20-times the size of Arkham Asylum, one with incredible draw-distances and high-visual fidelity that ranges from some superb neon lighting to some purdy reflections in what I can only describe as some incredibly realistic looking puddles, all of which bring the term next-gen into a new light – excuse the pun – from a looks perspective, anyway. In terms of gameplay, it’s probably fair to describe Knight as Arkham City on amphetamines – everything is much bigger, slicker and ramped up to the max, something that will come abundantly clear in the next 700 words or so.

    With the city under lockdown and populated by only the bravest law enforcement officers, vigilantes and Gotham’s bottom of the barrel, scum-sucking villains, we pick up proceedings with the Dark Knight trying to get to the bottom of Scarecrow’s sinister plot.

    I could sit here and gush about the draw distances and talk about how stunning the game looks, especially as the rain soaks a dimly lit and atmospheric Gotham City, but this is next-gen, we expect that now, or at least we soon will. What I will do though is run through the salient details of the demo, giving them context when needed, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

    Like I said previously, Arkham Knight’s gameplay is no doubt a result of what would happen if Arkham City went out on a weekend bender, dosed to the eyeballs on enough amphetamines to make your local politician seem like an “ok guy.” My point is: everything is amped to the max.


    Batman moves much quicker, can shoot his grapple further, swoop quicker, dive faster than ever before, and even the new moves like the Full Grapple Reverse – which allows you to 180 in an instant – are designed to make you traverse the environment much quicker and more purposefully than ever before. Considering the size of Gotham that’s a fair enough addition, however, its design is to take into account the inclusion of Arkham Knight’s shining new and central addition: the motherfucking Batmobile.

    The Batmobile, according to Ginn, is designed to be the “epi-centre” of the game and they have “informed and crafted every aspect of the gameplay experience” to fit inline with this. That’s not to say it’s suddenly become a racing game, oh no, but it’s definitely a core pillar of the Arkham Knight experience.

    “We didn’t want the game just to feel like a driving game,” said Ginn, “Similarly we also wanted the Batmobile to kind of feel like it’s bringing you in and letting you have this experience to navigate the city.”

    It’s about the “in-out” nature of Batman’s city navigational options, from gliding around Gotham one minute, to summoning your Batmobile mid-flight and seamlessly landing in it the next minute. You can glide, you can drive, you can do both, it’s up to you, but when your partner-in-crime is armed to the teeth with afterburners, immobilisers and more, this battering ram of a vehicle is going to be too hard to pass up.


    The majority of the demo saw the Batmobile take centre stage: whether Rocksteady were using it to perform non-lethal takedowns on stolen military vehicles in order to interrogate the driver or racing it around one of Riddler’s dynamic underground puzzle-racetracks – where you have to control pieces of the track with the joypad while you race around recklessly – in an aptly named “Riddler Cave,” it was at the forefront of the experience.

    In terms of the on-foot and combat driven improvements, Rocksteady have done a lot to put more power into your hands, further strengthening the power fantasy that you’re thrust into. Whether that’s using gadgets while gliding now, disarming goons and using their weapons – a baseball bat on this occasion – against them or using the new ‘Fear Takedown,’ which allows you to take down three armed goons in lightning quick succession. There’s even cool stuff like environmental counters and new moves for goons that make for nice subtle improvements too.

    From start to finish, Arkham Knight’s debut showing at GDC to the press was a strong one, if only maybe let down by a few frame-rate issues – at this stage of development though, we’re not worried about that at all. The epic scale of Gotham City, its stunning visuals, the seamless transition from a swooping figure of justice to a tank driving beast, the new moves, the gameplay amped to 10, and so on, this all makes for a good start for Arkham Knight. Sure, it’s far removed from Arkham Asylum’s tightly woven narrative, which might upset a few people, but with Rocksteady staying tight-lipped about the game’s title character, we’re hoping that they can deliver on that aspect too. It’s early days for sure, but they’ve come out all guns blazing.

    Batman: Arkham Knight is scheduled for a fall 2014 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

    Source - X360A

Share This Page