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Batman: Arkham Knight – First Impressions

batman1

What time is it? Batman time.

Damn delivery guy.

As I waited in the office yesterday for my copy of Arkham Knight to arrive, I actually caught myself counting the minutes. And then there he was: “Delivery for Mat Langford!”. I took the package and shook it, stating, “This sounds like an Arkham Knight!”.

“You know who the Arkham Knight is right?” the delivery guy asks. I’m not sure if it was simple elation from knowing that my game was here on time – after a bit of a mix-up with Best Buy – or simply not paying attention. But without thinking I blindly…nay, stupidly, asked, “Who?”

Before the word left my mouth, I knew that it was too late.

“__________!”

And there it was. Well, I kind of figured it anyway, but at least I had some shred of mystery there until this moment.

Damn delivery guy.

Spoilers from the delivery guy notwithstanding, I left the office, boarded the subway and got home. it was Batman time.

The first thing that hit me was how great this game looks. I’m playing on the PS4, and it is definitely the best looking Batman game to date. Textures are smooth and the environment looks great. That opening *slight spoilers* scene with the Joker’s cremation actually lets you control the flames, which is oddly satisfying, even for a guy who doesn’t necessarily want to see the super-villain actually die.

Yes, Jim, I promise to stop hitting people with my car.

Yes, Jim, I promise to stop hitting people with my car.

The first few scenes are all ones we’ve already seen from the various E3 reveals. After that, we’re in control of Batman, and the game feels just as good as it’s predecessors. Combat is fluid, responsive and feels great. He looks good too. Especially in the 1960’s Batman costume that I’ve got him in, courtesy of the pre-order DLC. It necessarily follows that I’ve also got him in the 1960’s skinned Batmobile as well, which adds a small but satisfying comedic effect to an otherwise dark story.

The Batmobile. Looks great. Drives...not so great.

The Batmobile. Looks great. Drives…not so great.

Let’s talk about the Batmobile for a moment, shall we? I’m not a fan, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, and the feeling and subsequent animations of pushing L2 and having it drive to you, open up and receive your cartwheeling form into it before speeding off is satisfying. It just that driving it feels akin to driving the floaty vehicles of GTA IV. It’s a pain to control, and often I found myself switching to battle mode (the strafing slower-moving movement set) just to get out of a fence I’d just accidentally run over. Also, not to be a complete comic stickler, but Batman’s no-kill policy goes out the window when you’re driving this thing down the street. I smashed dozens of people by accident, and that was even before I got the boosters, which – by the way – are totally overkill. The Batmobile-centric mission feel tacked on, and really pull you out of the immersion of the game, as they’re not something Batman would do in my opinion. And once you get to the Riddler missions, you’ll see what I mean.

Overall first impressions are strong though, and I can’t wait to continue playing tonight!

Played it and agree? Disagree?   Let us know what you think in the comments!

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About matylang

Mat Langford is a Toronto-based journalist, web/graphic designer and all-around geek. He managed the AMP Your Game National Gaming Tour in '08, has worked for both Playstation and Xbox, and is currently co-host of the Screaming Ego Podcast and The Recurring Bosscast at Splitkick.com.

Posted on June 24, 2015, in 2015, Batman, mat langford, video games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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