About four months ago, you may have heard a girlish squee coming from a seventh floor apartment in North East Ohio. If you did, that was me as I watched the first trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, the third game in the series by Rocksteady (with one additional game from Warner Brothers Games). If you’ve read my other posts about the Arkham series, you probably know that my slightly horrifying obsession with Scarecrow was a large part of my excitement, as he was clearly the main antagonist in the trailer.
Now I did a post about Arkham Origins and reasons to be excited. The game, while decent, did not necessarily live up to the Arkhamverse standard. On the other hand, Arkham Knight appears to be the game that we deserve. At the release of Origins, it just wasn’t the game we needed (har har har). Rocksteady is back in charge, and Arkham Knight could be the best in the series. Here’s a list of things that I want to see, and that Rocksteady should avoid to make that happen.
It’s already been announced that, for the first time, the Batmobile will be drivable in the Arkham Universe. As of this time, the vehicle contains weapons, the ability to stand idle and be summoned, seats for “allies”, and several other features. So far, so good. I’m extremely excited to drive the Batmobile in this game, as it looks like my dreams of actually owning a replica went down the drain when I decided to become a therapist, making thoroughly middle-class wages.
Now, while I am excited to have the Batmobile included in the game, I am concerned that the game will over-rely on this mechanic alone. Rocksteady needs to find a good balance between missions that require the Batmobile and missions that do not. Too much and the vehicle may wear out its welcome in the series. Too little and it will feel like it was simply added as a gimmick to ship more copies of the game. They have already announced that it will be involved with some Riddler challenges and appears that it will appear in some story missions, but finding the balance will be important.
Batman is all about his gadgets. They’re a part of who he is and I’m always excited to utilize those wonderful toys. But sometimes, the Arkham games feel like they’re trying to plaster them on too strong. Some gadgets I simply didn’t use outside of puzzles or required fights (looking at you glue-grenade/ freeze-grenade). It feels like some of these gadgets are shoved into our faces because the developers felt like they needed to fill the belt. For Arkham Knight, it will be important to make sure that we aren’t over-burdened with gadgets. Sometimes having too many toys can be a bad thing when you spend your time stumbling over the directional buttons to make sure you have the right one.
I don’t know that there can be much done to really mess with the music in these games. Even in Origins, which was the weakest game in the series, the soundtrack was fantastic. Now with Nick Arundel back at the helm, I have no real worries in this department.
One issue with Arkham Origins was how empty Gotham felt. Arkham City took place entirely in a closed off section and therefore had a reason not to have citizens scurrying about. Origins used a snowstorm to justify a lack of citizens. While I understand that hardware limitations are a thing, the city felt kind of dead. Batman spent most of his time gliding from spot to spot and occasionally dealing with thugs (who often were committing no crimes apart from “standing outside during a bad snowstorm”). I am concerned that Arkham Knight may suffer the same fate in this regard, as they are already giving a reason for the city to be empty. However, the trailer from E3 does suggest that some remaining cars may be let on the road, which will hopefully make Gotham feel more alive and robust.
It has already been suggested that the Batmobile will have seating for Allies. It is unclear what this actually means but I would love to see Batman’s allies, apart from Oracle and Alfred, actually play a role in the story. So far, the most we’ve seen is Robin making a brief appearance in Arkham City’s main story and DLC story, Nightwing as a challenge map character, and a few Catwoman sections. It was wonderful to have a chance in Arkham City to switch up combat styles during the Catwoman sections and Harley Quinn’s revenge, even if for a bit at a time. It’s already been announced that Harley Quinn will be playable as a pre-order bonus, but we have yet to know in what capacity). Even if characters such as Robin, Nightwing, or Red Hood aren’t playable, it would be great to see them as characters in the bigger story.
All in all, I really just want to see any of Batman’s allies appear as more than a simple voice. Trailers suggest that we’ll actually see Oracle and Gordon, but we have yet to see much from the likes of Nightwing, Robin, or Alfred.
Each Arkham Game has had a plethora of skins for Batman. It’s an awesome addition to the game. The problem was that if I chose a non-default skin, there would be no wear and tear and the original costume would still appear in cut-scenes. This is a minor complaint, and I’m sure it had a lot to do with hardware limitations, but it would be great to be able to use a different skin and see it throughout the game, not just between cut-scenes.
Batman arguably has one of the greatest rogue galleries in comic books. The games have so far created a decent balance between the characters. As of right now, we have confirmation that Scarecrow, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, and Riddler will play some part in the game in addition to the new character, The Arkham Knight (who will get more coverage shortly). However, Arkham City also left us with the possibility of encountering Hush and Azrael at some point. It would be great to see a few new faces in addition to those who have gotten press so far, and to see some returning faces, such as Poison Ivy,Mr. Freeze, or Killer Croc, even if they only appear in a small way.
Joker/ Arkham Knight
As of right now, Rocksteady has only announced that the Arkham Knight is an original character. What they have not specified is whether his identity is original. Rumors about his identity are plentiful. Could he be Hush? Azrael? Jason Todd? The Joker? Wait, what? Joker? No… please no….
Listen, I love the Joker. But let’s let it rest. He dies at the end of Arkham City (if that was a spoiler to you, stop reading articles about the sequel to a game you haven’t finished). I would love to see Joker make an appearance in Arkham Knight, but as a flashback or perhaps as a fear-gas induced hallucination. But to pull an Arkham Origins and make him the man behind the mask would not only be predictable, but severely disappointing. Joker had his moment in Asylum, City, and Origins. I’d love to see a game dealing with the consequences of his death, rather than his antics as a living person.
These are but a few things that should be done to ensure a great game. I have faith that Rocksteady will keep up with its trend of making a wonderful story. What are you looking forward to in the game?
Also, since I didn’t mention Scarecrow in any huge capacity, here’s a picture of his new outfit….
What’s on your personal wish list for Arkham Knight?