By Robbie Vanderveken - For Weekender

Game On: ‘Arkham Knight’ brings Batman to life

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    One of my favorite series of the last console generation was the “Batman: Arkham” series. “Arkham Asylum” was one of the best games I ever played and “Arkham City” expanded on it improving it in almost every way. “Batman: Arkham Knight” was announced a few years ago at E3 and was supposed to come out last year but it was pushed back to add some polish and the time they took was definitely worth it because “Batman: Arkham Knight” is amazing and one of the best games in the series.

    Each of the Arkham games expanded on the story and upped the amount of bad guys Batman must contend with. In “Batman: Arkham Knight,” the Scarecrow is back and he has brought together almost all of the most popular Batman villains. Not just Penguin, Two-Face, and The Riddler but also some really obscure ones and the newest threat, the Arkham Knight himself. I don’t want to talk too much about the story because there are so many spoilers I don’t want to give anything away. The story is the best it’s been so far and that’s really saying something because the series is known for having a great narrative.

    The biggest change to the gameplay is the addition of the Batmobile. It doesn’t change everything but it does add some new layers to the gameplay and makes the city feel much bigger than before. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the Batmobile because I loved the gliding of the last few games but it’s not mandatory to use it and it is fun to drive around once in a while.

    The first thing you will notice when playing is how gorgeous the game looks, it is one of the more graphically impressive games I have seen. It’s the little details that really make the difference, from the little blemishes in people’s skin, to the really great rain effects, the world around you is the most realistic a Batman world could be. The sound goes a long way toward telling the story, they got most of the original voice actors from the animated series and it is great.

    One of the highlights of the series is the gameplay, especially the fighting mechanics. The fighting has always been superb, which explains why it has been copied by so many series. Not only are the great controls back but they have been refined and are now better than ever. My favorite new game mechanic evolves the Batmobile — you can now eject out of it fly around and call it before you hit the ground landing back in the car.

    If you played “Arkham City” you will remember the ability to play as Catwoman, this time there are more options because you can now play as Nightwing, Robin, and Azrael for certain missions. Each of them plays differently and has different abilities that will spice up the fighting sequences. You can start a fight with Batman and tag in one of the other fighters and continue a combo, each of them have their own stylish finishing moves. I liked the combat a bit more in “Batman: Arkham Knight” because it is a little easier, the timing isn’t as rigid helping keep combos less complicated. This is great for new players and less frustrating for people who weren’t great at the combat in the last two games.

    Just like the rest of the “Arkham” series there is an amazing amount of content in this game, there is a ton of side stories and a ton of Riddler puzzles to solve. Some of the new Riddler puzzles involve using the Batmobile and other gadgets, they are more involved than ever before. There is a lot to do in this game,

    there are puzzles, fighting challenges, Batmobile races and much more, you will be playing this game for a long time.

    Not only is “Batman: Arkham Knight” one of the best in the series it’s one of the best games this year. With the addition of the Batmobile and incredible graphical detail this is the closest you will get to feeling like you are really Batman. If you are a fan of the “Arkham” series this game is a must buy, if you are new to the series this is one of the best Batman games so far.

    System: PS4, Xbox One, PC

    Rated: M for Mature: Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

    Genre: Action

    Publisher: Warner Bros. Games

    Developer: Rocksteady Studios

    Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at rvanderveken@timesleader.com.

    By Robbie Vanderveken

    For Weekender

    http://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_batman1.jpg

    http://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_batman2.jpg

    http://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_batman3.jpg

    Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at rvanderveken@timesleader.com.

    System: PS4, Xbox One, PC

    Rated: M for Mature: Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

    Genre: Action

    Publisher: Warner Bros. Games

    Developer: Rocksteady Studios