I have beaten the Batman: Arkham Knight game and having sat there thinking “wow, what a great game”, I then thought “now what to play?” and, heck, I only had Williams Pinball and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag as my only options so I started up Assassin’s Creed.
AND NONE OF THE CONTROLS ARE THE SAME. You don’t counter with triangle, you counter with circle. You don’t run with X, you run with right trigger. And on and on and on. I reached the point where I had combat *DOWN* for Batman and now I’m playing Assassin’s Creed like I’ve never picked up a controller before.
Dang, that’s frustrating.
So, while doing errands after work today, I picked up Shadow of Mordor for the PS4 (Game of the Year edition) and was delighted to find that it has a very, very similar control scheme to Batman.
As such, I’ll be playing that for a while.
Anyway, Arkham Knight.
Waaaaay back in 2002-2003, the Batman comics had a storyline called “Hush” in which a new supervillain was introduced in a storyline that included all of the greatest hits. Joker, Harley, Ivy, Croc, R’as al Ghul, Clayface, Catwoman. Looking back, that storyline was a hair… overwrought. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Well, the Batman videogames take that storyline and kick it up a notch. Anybody you’ve heard of an a handful of people you haven’t. All of the above including Riddler, Two Face, Penguin, Mister Freeze, Firefly, Mad Hatter, Calendar Man, Solomon Grundy, Scarecrow, the character we introduced in Hush, and all of the supporting cast, and even little tiny throwaway mentions of Killer Moth and Ventriloquist. Arkham Asylum set the scene establishing The Joker as the greatest of Batman’s rivals, Arkham City gave us the battle in which we knew that either Batman or Joker would have to kill the other (Joker ended up dead but it wasn’t Batman’s fault, really), Arkham Origins said “Man, wasn’t Joker awesome? I know! We could have him again if we told a Batman Origin Story!”
And Arkham Knight has us playing a game in which Batman is processing the death of The Joker (Joker left a lot of loose ends, you see) and a good chunk of all of the above show up. Scarecrow is filling the Joker void by use of his fear gas and he enlisted the help of Riddler, Two Face, Penguin, and Poison Ivy to mess with Batman’s head and so Riddler kidnaps Catwoman to create his own storyline, Penguin is running guns, Two Face is robbing banks, and all sorts of hilarity ensues culminating in one heck of a spoiler of an ending. (Remember Amazon spoiling the ending of the game? Yeah. That’s in the storyline too.)
There are a handful of storyline issues that, post-Sarkeesian, made me wonder if there wasn’t going to be an essay worth writing in there, but, then again, there’s all sorts of abuse, rabbit trails, and big reveals that help redeem some of the bad treatment, a little. (For example, sure, Catwoman was kidnapped, but she’s also responsible for a really awesome moment later on in the game that demonstrates that she’s not merely the damsel in distress.)
As for the gameplay itself? I really can’t complain about a thing. My main complaints involve me having sausage fingers and not figuring this or that or the other thing out until halfway through the game (swooping down and shooting my explosive at a nearby baddie still eludes me).
All in all, a game that almost, but not quite, takes itself way too seriously. Instead, it takes itself just too seriously enough. A true pleasure.
It makes me look forward to the sequel already.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission.)