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Batman: Arkham Knight (PC) review: Holy squandered potential, Batman

Hayden Dingman | July 2, 2015
Up front: There are going to be spoilers in this review. Or, at least, a few of you may deem them spoilers--I am going to actively discuss some of the villains in Arkham Knight. By name. And a few of the plot points. Why? Because there are very specific examples that I feel embody Arkham Knight's failings, and it's easier for me to just talk through them than talk around them.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Up front: There are going to be spoilers in this review. Or, at least, a few of you may deem them spoilers--I am going to actively discuss some of the villains in Arkham Knight. By name. And a few of the plot points. Why? Because there are very specific examples that I feel embody Arkham Knight's failings, and it's easier for me to just talk through them than talk around them.

Good? Good. Let's dig in.

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na

Phew. Where to even start with Arkham Knight? I mean, we could take the easy route on this one and talk about how busted the PC port is. It is busted. I got a higher frame rate in The Witcher 3 on Ultra than I did in Arkham Knight, and I don't just mean because of the console-esque, 30-frames-per-second cap the game shipped with.

Video and benchmarks: Batman: Arkham Knight: How bad are the issues? Pretty bad

You know what though? The PC version will get fixed. It might take weeks. It might take months. But I have no doubt eventually Rocksteady will fix it. Should it have been released this way in the first place? Absolutely not, and thus we're not bothering to score this review. It is not a game in any condition to be scored. And, for that matter, it's not even on sale anymore.

The technical problems with Arkham Knight have been a lightning rod, though. There are so many other issues with this game that have nothing to do with its frame rate, its textures, any of that. Let's discuss those instead.

Sure, it's fun, but Arkham Knight is not a great game. It is a collection of pretty great mechanics soldered onto some cringe-worthy dialogue, a pile of meaningless side missions, a decent main story, some truly illogical plot conceits, and so much forced vehicular action it'd be easy to forget this is a story about Batman.

Everything that is great about Arkham Knight has been lifted from Rocksteady's previous two games--the incredible Arkham Asylum and the slightly-less-incredible-but-still-good Arkham City. Embodying Batman in Arkham Knight is, frankly, fantastic. The trademark Batman combat has never been more fluid. Gliding around the city is considerably less janky than it was in Arkham City. And there's a new move that involves ejecting out of the Batmobile at high speed and launching yourself a mile into the air before gliding around Gotham. It looks badass.

That is the last nice thing I am going to say about the Batmobile.

See, the Batmobile is problem number one with Arkham Knight. Rocksteady touted the Batmobile feature a ton prior to release, and now we know why: because it's been forced into practically every single encounter in the game. Even Riddler's missions. Riddler now constructs race tracks. No, I am not joking.

 

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