Batman: Arkham Knight
I loved Batman Arkham Asylum. I liked Batman Arkham City. I did not like this one, Arkham Knight. (I own it, but I still didn’t play Arkham Origins)
Upon release, Batman: Arkham Knight, was plagued with bugs in its PC appearance. So much that the developer had to pull it off from the shelves to polish it for a bit more time. I was, thankfully, not affected by this incident because I only acquired it much later. That said, I had a lot of issues regarding performance, bugs and crashes. I have faced major crashes during the course of the game. Lame.
Visually, the game is more colorful than ever. Definitively it makes use of more modern technology (I believe it uses the latest Unreal Engine). While it seems more realistic, I felt less pleasing. Gotham is too flashy, too busy. There are visual pollution all over the city. Back in the Asylum, the visual was more cartoony, but it was consistent. The visual effects and explosions, however, are more impressive than before. I liked it.
Another strange thing that I noticed it that almost all character 3D models changed dramatically. Bruce Wayne, Batman, Harley Quinn, Penguin.. everybody had a substantial visual transformation, like when studios reboot a movie franchise. I felt a little annoyed that my character from previous games simply changed.
Gameplay wise, the Batman Arkham series was migrating from a stealth game towards a very action driven. I remember in the first installment the tutorials were always very serious about being stealth is the way to play. The super vision goggles was implemented and was unlimited just to reinforce the behavior into players. Gas bombs, grappling from above or bellow, use of remote gadgets were all crucial for this play style. More than a play style, it was proposed gameplay.
It was all lost with City and mostly Knight. There are so many enemies spread across the map that it is simply not practical anymore to solve problems using stealth. It would take ages to complete the game. Instead, most of the time you will to a frontal assault, eventually using hit-and-run tactical. For me, the open-world feature, while amazing at the first glance, was detrimental to the series. It was better when it was confined in compartments. It was about solving puzzles, not brute force your way.
The main attraction of the game is the use of the Batmobile. Unlike the Arkham City, the game encourages the player to traverse the city using the car. I was positively impressed who responsive and fun was to use it. It’s dual mode, car and tank, makes the gameplay very fluid. However, the developers force the use of it by inserting several plots into the story that requires it. After a while, it gets repetitive.
The side missions and collectibles are forgettable. The trademark Riddle riddles are more repetitive than ever. After a while I knew that I would not be interested in completing it entirely. I would only go for the main storyline.
Story wide is once again very convoluted. The whole plot is thin, and even the twists are not that interesting. So twists are so intense that makes you feel that everything that you did until that moment was kind irrelevant. The same for the villains actions (if he knew that form the start, why he did all this?). Batman is too much powerful to be believable. Even on the brink of the death, the player never feel that he is actually in danger. Joker plots against Batman and Batman plots against the player. The main villains are boring with weird motivations.
Overall, I had a negative experience. I cannot recommend this game, unless you already have played the previous games and really want to give a Batmobile a ride.