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    Batman: Arkham Knight, Preview

    When Batman: Arkham City came out in 2011, barely only 2 years after its predecessor, Arkham Asylum, it blew the collective mind of gamers, comic book fans, and generally humanity as a whole. But as we know, all franchises come in threes, and it was a question of when rather than whether we would see the final game in what would be the Arkham trilogy. Developers Rocksteady knew that they had cap the series with something big and spectacular and with a new console generation so close around the corner it was decided that the final game, Arkham Knight, would be released only on next generation consoles so as to allow the new hardware to finally realise Rocksteady’s awesome vision for Batman. The downside for players was that a four year wait then ensued, along with the accompanying hype. We were given Arkham: Origins to tide us over and as fun as it was,  it  wasn’t  the true sequel Arkham fans were hoping for. But holy final piece of the trilogy Batman! What will Arkham night actually have, and be about?

    Storywise Arkham Knight follows on directly from Arkham City, set on Halloween night one year after the events of the preceding game. Batman’s  greatest  enemy  this time will be none other than Scarecrow, who franchise players will remember from some of the most excellent parts of Arkham Asylum, and the titular Arkham Knight. But these two don’t stand as the only threats to Batman his fully rogues gallery featuring Penguin, Two Face, Harely Quinn, Riddler, Firefly, and Poison Ivy will be also out looking to take a piece out of Batman. But lucky for Batman he has allies allies in the shape of Commissioner Gordon and Oracle, and he is a true superhero at the height of his powers, and he’ll need all of these if he wants to survive this hallows eve in Gotham. 

    Indeed, Gotham itself serves as much of the setting for this epic story of Batman and is a draw dropping five times larger than the previous sandbox found in Arkham City. That’s not just big but huge. The five times larger multiplier doesn’t just apply to the size of the world that  players will fight in, it  will also apply to the amount of enemies they fight. To this effect Rocksteady have stated that there will up to five times more enemies on screen than Arkham City, which should lead to some truly epic bat-brawls. Indeed riots are a feature, and can contain up to a massive fifty on screen enemies interacting with the environment. Arkham Knight runs on the Apex physics simulation engine as well which allows for super realistic actions of Batman’s clothing, environments, and enemies. It will be as close to being Batman as you can get without being Batman, and as we all love our parents that is probably a good thing.

     The gameplay looks to maintain the same combo based brawling that Arkham Asylum first pioneered six long years ago that has now become an industry standard in third person action games. But Rocksteady were the first to pioneer its ingenious use of combos, blocks, and special moves and one should easily expect them to outdo themselves third go round and deliver the combat the Arkham series made its name on tough, tactile, and terrific. Indeed slight improvements have been made, such as the ability to take out prone enemies without breaking a combo. Of course Batman’s many gadgets will make a return as well the now ubiquitous detective vision also a recent staple of many games that saw its origins with the Arkham franchise.

    The biggest addition to Batman’s arsenal this time around is the Batmobile. It is kind of astounding that we never got to play it till now but Rocksteady have clearly saved the best for last. The Batmobile can be ejected from at any time, and summoned at will either airborne or on foot and allows the player to do some sweet bat-jumps, bat-boosts, and generally all kind of awesome things that a bulletproof half tank half race-car could do. The Batmobile isn’t without firepower  either,  packing  missiles that can immobilise enemy vehicles as well having the ability to smash through all kinds of obstacles. Anticipating the players varying needs for speed and power, Rocksteady have introduced two modes: battle and pursuit which function much like they sound enabling the Batmobile to focus on speed or power (all of it non-lethal, of course), depending on the situation at hand. If that weren’t  enough  the  Batmobile  can also be controlled remotely for solving other puzzles or those Sunday afternoons when you just want to go for a drive and defend Gotham City.

    Good things come to those who wait, as the saying goes, and with Arkham Knight is almost here after four long years, like Batman coming out of retirement ala The Dark Knight  Returns, it’s time to get excited. We can finally get the Batman game we both need and deserve.

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