Batman: Arkham Knight ReviewPrice:
PC, Xbox One, PS4
Before we discuss how good Arkham Knight is at being a videogame in which you drive, glide and punch your way around Gotham City while dressed as a flying mammal, it's important I clarify the angle this review is coming from. By now you may have heard that the PC version of Arkham Knight is more broken than a hoodlum on the receiving end of one of the Dark Knight's signature beatdowns. So broken, in fact, that Warner Bros have removed the PC version from sale until such time as the performance issues are fixed.
My review is based upon this version of the game. However, my experience was stable enough (though not completely stable, as I'll discuss shortly) that I'm happy to talk about about what the game behind the performance debacle is like. That way, if you're thinking about picking it up on another platform, you know whether or not it's worth the expenditure. I'll cover any troubles I did encounter in the PC version, but I won't be talking much about performance woes, because it isn't what I experienced.
Nevertheless, it's a shame and a scandal that Warner Bros have so massively cocked up the PC version for so many, because despite the surface similarities, this isn't another Assassin's Creed: Unity situation. With Ubisoft's game the bugs and performance issues were merely the icing on a confused and uninspired cake. Here, they act as a thundercloud obscuring the light of another stellar bat 'em up from Rocksteady Studios. Arkham Knight sees Rocksteady commit properly to the idea of an open-world Batman game, while also spinning what is probably the best tale they've told using the DC universe yet.
As Arkham Knight begins, we see Batman's hard work brutalising every criminal in Gotham finally begin to pay off. The events of Arkham City have resulted in a dramatic fall in crime, and in the opening scenes we catch a brief glimpse of a relatively peaceful city. Of course, it isn't long before everything goes wrong. Again. A terror threat from Scarecrow results in the general population evacuating Gotham's central islands for a third time. Naturally, all of Gotham's miscreants attempt to take advantage of the situation, while the private army of the mysterious Arkham Knight prowls the streets and the skies with the sole objective of putting an end to Batman once and for all.
Rocksteady are keen to reunite players with Batman as quickly as possible. Within minutes you're gliding freely around a larger, more open and tremendously detailed Gotham. The city of Arkham Knight is a beautiful yet thoroughly grim place. Slick with rain and drenched in neon, its church spires and skyscrapers stab at the heavily clouded sky, while the twisting roads and alleyways are alive with the sound of police-sirens and gunfire. It's New York by way of Edinburgh, blending neo-gothic stonework with the glass and steel of Manhattan, while rigorously plotted grid systems sit alongside districts where the roads entwine over and under one another like vines crawling up a tree.
It's a remarkable sight, though at times the detail can be overwhelming. This is especially the case when driving around in the newly introduced Batmobile. There's so much happening on screen it can be difficult to focus on anything. This issue isn't limited to the game's visual elements either.