6 Disappointing Elements Of Batman Arkham KnightJuly 20, 2015
Batman Arkham Knight was the game that both avid gamers and enthusiastic comic fans had been waiting for. This was supposed to be the grande finale, the end of it all. Instead players were giving a lack luster story, an ending that didn’t exactly make sense and frustrating moments throughout the entire game. MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AHEAD FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE SO VENTURE AT YOUR OWN RISK. While I could talk about the infuriating broken PC port, (which has now been rumored not to be fixed until October) or the weird and majorly awkward relationship between Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon there are a few other things that take precedence on this list. For all other details involving gameplay, story and the like, check out the Batman Arkham Knight full review!
Batman: World Of Tanks?
The Batmobile was something the development team of Arkham Knight had been working on since the beginning. This new element was something fans wouldn’t be able to forget as it became a huge selling point for the game, the vehicle even making an appearance on the cover art. This went so far as the image on the Arkham Knight disc itself was a tire, presumably belonging to the Dark Knight’s iconic ride. With the game having been released now for a couple of weeks there are some gamers including myself that feel like the famous car overstayed it’s welcome as it was necessary for over half of the game. Don’t get me wrong I was as excited as any Bat-Mite to finally take control of the Batmobile. Rocksteady had lived up to it’s word at creating the perfect vehicle to roam the streets of Gotham. The gameplay mechanics created an equal balance that surprisingly came together rather well. The races crafted by Riddler as well as the intense car chases through out the city were enough to make anyone feel the intensity of the driver’s seat. However it is the constant waves of drones and the necessity of the Batmobile that tear away from this game. It felt like every other mission had Batman going up against a pesky swarm of these super-powered machines. Not only did these devices overtake most of the story based missions but also a good chunk of the game’s side missions as well. I’m not saying that Arkham Knight shouldn’t have had any sort of drone wave at all, I’m just saying that the game could have used a few dozen less. It’s pretty pathetic when even Deathstroke, a villain known for being a master hand to hand combatant throughout the entirety of the DC Universe is reduced to a mere tank battle. In all honesty this game felt like a glorified version of World of Tanks rather then a proper Arkham game.
Boss Battles (Or Lack There Of)
Arkham City quickly became memorable for many aspects, but one of the most important elements were the iconic boss fights showcasing equally iconic characters. In the second installment of the Arkham franchise players were pitted against some of Gotham’s most notorious villains. Even four years later the battle with Mr. Freeze in the GCPD building feels like one of the most complex moments the series managed to accomplish. The “boss battles” (if we can even call them that) in Arkham Knight were almost non-existent , most of which reduced to mere dog fights in the Bat-Tank. In fact player’s aren’t even given the satisfaction of a final, playable, confrontation with the story’s main antagonist Scarecrow, who hides behind a screen most of the game. Talk about a bummer. Again this is yet another case of just how overshadowed the game was with the Batmobile. This game was supposed to be “Being The Batman” as the game’s tagline would have fans believe. You would think if this were the case it would lead to creative and distinct methods in which the Dark Knight would be forced to take down his foes. Instead these “boss battles” felt like sheer laziness when they were even apparent at all, as the developers forced player’s through similar scenarios with a few flourishes here and there in a hope to make them slightly more challenging.
Iconic Villains Are Underutilized
It could be argued that Batman may have the greatest rogue’s gallery in comic book history. The cast in question is made up of a diverse set of characters ranging from the average psychopath to full blown bio-terrorists. So why is it that Arkham Knight may just have the weakest lineup of villains yet. Iconic characters such as Penguin and Two Face have been reduced to mere side missions, while powerhouse characters such as Mr. Freeze and Bane have been entirely omitted from Arkham’s final game. I mean sure maybe Rocksteady feels like Bane already had his share of the spotlight with Arkham Origins, as it was one of the few things the game seemed to do right, but who doesn’t want more of the luchador genius. Although the developers took the opportunity to introduce new characters to the series including the mad doctor Professor Pyg (which is a favorite Batman villain of mine), as well as Man-Bat, most of the villains in this game felt almost harmless, adding to the rest of the story’s anti-climatic feeling. Even Hush had a mission so obscenely small that it was lessened to a simple counter action. This is extremely disappointing considering his engaging operations (pun totally intended) in the previous game. Yet the biggest letdown might just be the lack of super villain team up amongst Gotham’s biggest criminals. Despite their animosity for each other, from the game’s promos it appeared that this might finally be the grand finale as all these characters would put aside their differences to take down the Batman once and for all. Yet it’s rare that we see two of these villains in the same room, let alone a full blown alliance. There is even bonus content on the game itself of beautiful concept art, featuring a meeting between characters. This was supposed to be the finale of the Arkham series and a climatic finale confrontation between Batman and all those he had been fighting against all these years was something that the game surely needed.
Every Damsel Was In Distress
Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Oracle oh my. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these iconic ladies in the Arkham franchise. However in Arkham Knight their roles take a rather ridiculous turn as each of these four women are reduced to being a damsel in distress at one point or another. Harley Quinn seems more useless then usual, her crippling obsession with the Joker even after his death adding to her misdirection. There’s even a moment when Batman throws her over his shoulder, giving players a controlled view at her behind. Poison Ivy though not our highest offender on this list is still a prisoner of Scarecrow at the beginning of the game, only to have Batman throw her into a cell until he finds use of her. Catwoman finds herself in the hands of the Riddler as she becomes a mere rescue mission for the Dark Knight. This even goes so far to give Gotham’s favorite cat a Saw-esque bomb collar in which the player is forced to go through puzzle after puzzle to retrieve the keys for the heroine’s release. Even Talia’s death is served as a constant reminder of Batman’s previous failure. Yet the most offensive of all these distress calls might just be the treatment of Oracle. The graphic and violent events that surround the character, a woman who has triumphed over tragedy time and time again, is just plain insulting Not only are players forced to relive through a crucial moment in the Killing Joke but they are forced to feel helpless as they listen to Barbara crying in pain on the floor for help as they are pushed into a panic at the attempt to make the scene transition. The same goes for a moment later in the game when players are forced to watch Oracle’s apparent suicide under the influence of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. The representation of these women felt a little uncomfortable, some moments in the game more so then others, and left a sour taste throughout most of the story.
Duel Play is a Joke
Duel play, the idea of it alone sounds phenomenal. While Rocksteady hadn’t released much on the concept ahead of the game’s release, fans speculated that this may have been the cooperative multiplayer mode they had been waiting for. Others theorized that this new duel play feature would work very much like the character load out mechanic in Grand Theft Auto V, as players would be able to switch out between classic characters, allowing them the chance to free roam Gotham much like the previous games maybe even having the chance to partake in missions exclusive to that character. Unfortunately neither of these notions were correct. As promised fans were once again given the chance to take control of iconic characters such as Catwoman, Robin and even Nightwing. However when these opportunities do arrive, which are a seldom few, they are reduced to small sections that barely allow the player to have any real fun with the character. These bits were normally contained to combat challenges. This is unfortunate as all of these characters were equipped with full load outs yet there is never any opportunity to use these unique gadgets. These sections always felt watered down and honestly left me wanting more time to utilize the character. Dedicated fans have already created mods which allow players to take these characters into the free roam environment.
DLC Falls Extremely Short
There’s a reason why both the Harley Quinn and Red Hood story pack were free DLC as a preorder purchase. The fact that anyone would be forced to pay for these bonus missions is complete blasphemy. Both of these packs were obscenely small and extremely limited. The fact that either of these bonus content sets are called “story packs” is misconstrued. The Red Hood DLC boils down to ten minutes of gameplay, consisting of a tutorial of sorts, one predator map and one final combat challenge. The “story” in itself is a watered down version of Jason Todd’s rivalry with Black Mask as featured in Under The Red Hood. Yet for mainstream fans there is no why or how this hatred between these two characters even began. Harley Quinn’s DLC is given a little more, as the gameplay takes around twenty minutes to complete (fifteen if you’re not looking for Easter Eggs) and has the same miniscule variation. However her story serves as a sort of prequel for the Arkham Knight story line as it features her endeavor to break Poison Ivy out of a Bludhaven prison. These characters could have been utilized so much more then what players were given. Harley Quinn and Red Hood were distinct compared to any other playable character that we’ve seen in the Arkham franchise. Red Hood had his gun play methods while Harley had a unique Mayhem Mode which allowed her to become temporarily unstoppable as her attacks became one hit knockouts. I personally was extremely excited to finally get a chance to play as Jason Todd but was only met with regret as both of these narratives fell short of their full potential.
Do you agree with this list? Do you feel like Batman Arkham Knight lacked what it truly needed to be the finale in an epic series? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!