I Think I'd Like A Little Less Batmobile In Arkham Knight

I Think I'd Like a Little Less Batmobile in Arkham Knight

I've almost no doubt that I'm going to enjoy Batman Arkham Knight. It looks beautiful, the combat and mechanics still feel great, and it continues to nail the 'being Batman' thing perfectly. Having played it though I'd have liked to have spent less time in the Batmobile.

My hands on saw the Dark Knight breaking into the Scarecrow-controlled Ace Chemicals Plant to rescue workers and find out more about his plans. It was clearly a very Batmobile-heavy section to demo new features but looking back nearly all of what I remember revolved around the car: jumping ramps, gun fights with drone tanks (which play a lot like something from Halo thanks to the vehicle's hovercraft-like battle mode) and pulling open doors with a winch.

Those tanks belong to the Arkham Knight who seems to have his own private army of soldiers and drones being used by the Scarecrow to secure the Chemical Plant. Tech seems to be his thing with a flowing digital readout covering his face and an electronically disguised robo-voice. He also seems to have a slightly different dynamic with the Bat. While most game villains exude hatred or anger towards Batman there's an air of contempt to the Arkham Knight's tone. It's almost as if Batman disgusts him more than anything else.

Overall, the Batmobile stuff does play extremely well. The controls are beautifully balanced, especially considering Rocksteady have no prior with driving games, but it is such a departure for the series that it almost feels like another game competing for your attention. In the course of the demo I felt like I did very little climbing, gliding or other more familiar bat-stuff. Whereas in previous games soothing city gliding sections link gameplay beats, here the Batmobile seemed to be an ubiquitous link between sections. Even some of the combat could be skipped by non-lethally gunning goons down from the driving seat.

What's going to be key for me is how often are you going to have to use the Batmobile. I like the thing: it's an angry tank in a very fragile world but I don't want to be overly forced to use it. Hopefully, in the more open city sections you'll have freedom to tackle things how you want rather than be corralled towards a ramp. Ultimately, despite it's prominent placing, I want it to feel more like any of Batman's other tools, such as explosive gel or the line launcher, rather than take a starring role.

It's always going to be tricky balancing new features, especially something as gameplay altering as a car. This was a guided demo as well with a Rockstar representative directing me through the enclosed level. Had I been free to play it unsupervised I think I would have been more likely to leave the car parked up somewhere and get on with everything in a more traditional way.

I Think I'd Like a Little Less Batmobile in Arkham Knight

Wheels aside though everything else is shaping up very nicely. After Origin's less than crisp combat this has tightly orchestrated fights where blows quickly fall into a hypnotic rhythm. A new sword-wielding enemy presents a faster challenge and require more precise timing to take out, falling fast to beatdowns if you can clear the space to pull the move off. The altered texture they bring to fights pushes you to perfect your technique. One neat touch the Batmobile definitely adds is that you can use it in takedowns - throwing enemies in the air to be popped by whatever that non-lethal guns fires for an instant 'kill'.

Overall I'm looking forward to playing more. Partly to see how the rest of the non-Batmobile gameplay is shaping up but also to see how much Bat's iconic wheels feature in the overall structure - the series has traditionally played out over long open sections punctuated by smaller self-contained sections. Throughout these moments, is the car going to be a useful tool or a playable character in its own right?


Comments

    This is more or less what I've been worried about since it was announced. Free form driving is just so counter to the rest of the game. It's a logical step for making a bigger game and diving deeper into Batman's gadgets pool but in a lot of ways it's like giving Batman an array of (non-lethal) guns and turning it into a third person shooter. Am I going to be going from beautiful combat sequences that perfectly compliment the comic coming to life vibe of Arkham Asylum to roaring around in a tank like Halo or blasting through the streets like GTA?
    I mean the game will be great. Even Origins was an outstanding game. I just feel like every entry gets further and further away from what made Arkham Asylum such a perfect Batman game.

    Last edited 22/08/14 2:19 pm

      The thing that worried me most about the Batmobile in this were the huge guns mounted on top, which just seems so backwards for a hero like Batman.\

      Batman would drive around in the streets blowing up buildings, the only thing this game doesn't have is a Batman Vs Superman fight and a multi player mode

      I'm curious and optimistic as a fan of all current Arkham games but I feel they missed an opportunity with the Batmobile. I agree it should be used only to enhance the Arkham formula and not dominate it, but I also wish the vehicle gameplay carried more speed like the Nolan films' chases, with a deemphasis on tank shooting.

    A lot of people have made jokes or upset outcries about how batman uses guns in this game.

    1. He says no guns during a fist fight. This is not a fist fight.
    2. He has a rule against killing. He hasn't harmed anyone during this tank fight.

    "Thermal imaging shows the Arkham Knight's tanks are unmanned and controlled remotely. You're clear to engage!"

    Besides, I'm pretty sure he doesn't have anything in his utility belt that can take down a bunch of tanks, unless you wanna go 1960's and be throwing bat-gum which sticks the tanks to the road, "Darn it, I'll get you next time, bats!" crap...

    I've been looking forward to using the batmobile ever since the first arkham. I'm just hoping it's not used SOLEY for street fights with unmanned tanks. Some tear/smoke grenades and grabbling hooks to yank down walls or tie up baddies would be nice.

    They are probably just showing it off and focusing on it in demos because it's the "hot new thing" for Arkham Knight. They've handled everything else well, no reason to think they won't handle this well too.

      Exactly. People already know how all the stuff they saw in the previous games is going to work, so the focus currently is on what's new, which is the Batmobile. While what I'm hearing of the demo is that it gives a false impression that the Batmobile will be the solve-all for every problem, I really don't think that'll be the case. It'd be pretty simple to design sections that the Batmobile just can't reach (particularly if you use the verticality of the city). In fact, the E3 demo (seen in the article) showed a building that Batman had to infiltrate from the roof. Unless the Batmobile can climb up walls like the Tim Burton-mobile could, I don't see this being a problem.

      Last edited 23/08/14 12:12 am

    No mention of a cockpit or interior view, madness!. That's absolutely essential for immersion, I want to see inside the vehicle and switch between an interior/exterior camera on the fly like in Battlefield.

    The gameplay looks really unsatisfying and arcadey too, with how Batman shoots out of the hatch and doesn't even enter the Batmobile properly. Its way too hyperactive for me.

    Obviously not expecting a simulation but there's a sweet spot middleground. The Batmobile in Arkham Knight should be a psuedo-sim for maximum satisfaction and wide appeal: easy to control, but packed with features, readouts (speedometer, etc) and an optional cockpit view.

    wow seriously?, you want less batmobile??? when has batman ever glided around the city to get around? i dont care that you want more gliding or more whatever, realistically and in every other media batman use his batmobile to get around the city. thus it's impossible too feel like a typical batman tool.
    smh

    The most glaring problem with driving Batman's car (and the AGAIN evacuated city of Gotham) is that it necessitates MORE bland, open, empty space in a game pushing the console to its limits.

    It's ridiculous to me that the developers would choose to add his @$#&in car instead of crowds or a more immersive mystery - solving experience.

    This is shaping up to be Batman-Robin: NutsN'Bolts ;)
    ...
    (You know, like that awful Banjo-Kazooie game on Xbox? With vehicles instead of quirky platforming? What were they thinking?)

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now