I Am In Love With The Batmobile

I Am In Love With The Batmobile

Arkham Knight is a pretty good video game. Good flying, good punching, good comic book action. But the one thing I've taken away from it more than anything else is just how damn good the Batmobile is.

It's so fast. And nimble. And powerful. And heavy. And dependable. And...

Look, instead of trying to describe it, it might just be easier to talk about the Batmobile by showing you this:

Then this

Two of the best video game vehicles ever made. Know that the Batmobile combines the two in the one car.

See, if you're yet to play the game, Arkham Knight's Batmobile has a design hook: it's able to transform from a regular car into a tank at the push of a button.

So for those times you're driving around Gotham, enjoying the empty streets and getting from A to B, it's a car! A big car, with armour plating that smashes satisfyingly through concrete, but a car all the same. It goes fast, it's got a slippery drift and you can summon it with the push of a button.

But then there are other times -- which, admittedly, often feel like they're there solely to force you to use the Batmobile, since flying around is so much fun -- where you don't need a car. You need a tank.

I Am In Love With The Batmobile
I Am In Love With The Batmobile

The Batmobile can also do that, at the push of a button transforming not just its stance and weapons loadout, but its control scheme as well. While it's a car, the Batmobile controls like a car; you hold RT to accelerate and then steer around. In tank mode, though, it controls like a tank. Specifically, like Halo's wonderful Wraith, as you're able to pivot and spin and glide around a level, speed sacrificed for fast and precise control.

I Am In Love With The Batmobile

It feels so good, in a way that hasn't made me notice or exclaim it since Halo: Reach. Or, OK, maybe Halo 4. The handling that Bungie pioneered all the way back in the first Halo, and which has been steadily improved since then, remains one of the most consistent, malleable and enjoyable in all of video games, its perfect blend of speed and traction making almost every turn a sensation of both "oh I got this" (as you lean into a corner) and "oh shit I don't got this" (as your wheels spin and start to give way) at the same time.

I'm not saying Rocksteady copied those controls, just that I'm reminded most of them when playing Arkham Knight. The Batmobile may control like a Warthog/Wraith hybrid, but it looks and feels for all the world like a very Batman vehicle, all black and heavy and hulking and angry and expensive.

I Am In Love With The Batmobile

Other things I like:

  • I didn't like the overall design of the Batmobile at first, but it's really grown on me since I've actually started playing the game. In particular, I love the "cockpit"; climbing into a regular car would feel weird for something this destructive, so a more military aesthetic is more appropriate.
I Am In Love With The Batmobile
  • Getting in and out of the thing is even more fun than jumping off a balcony onto your horse in Red Dead. The way you can summon the car to be waiting for you as you glide down from the rooftops, and can then shoot you back off into the clouds, is so badass I may have said "wow" out loud the first time I did them.

  • It growls. Not all the time, but sometimes as it turns the corner its engine revs and it literally growls at you. So it's not just a vehicle, then, it's also a pet. Like Battle Cat, only without the green. Great touch, and one that subtly gets you thinking of the car as more of a companion than an accessory.

As I've mentioned briefly above, some people are a little down on the thing because it can feel forced. Like it's a vehicle looking for an excuse to exist in a game that doesn't need it.

I don't buy that. I think it adds not just variety to the types of combat and missions you have available, but more importantly it gives the player even more tools to get the job done. The heart of Rocksteady's Batman games has always been an open-ended approach to stealth and combat, so what's the harm in adding one more gadget/possibility to their utility belt?

Especially when it's this much fun to get around in.


Comments

    I feel it's mocking to post this under "PC'

      mocking is not the word i would use. It makes me wonder how hard they are leaning on reviewers to give out good reviews

        The game itself is superb. The ps4 version anyhow. The pc version is clearly a disaster however. So the ps4 version deserves great reviews. Fantastic game, great controls, emotional harrowing story... but the pc port atm deserves to be shat upon from up high like it deserves.

    I like driving it around the city but the battle mode, tank battles and challenges that require precision controls are shit.

      despite how terrible it is on PC, the mouse makes the tank battles a breeze. That just reminded me of another issue with the PC port, you cant complete some of the missions if you dont have a controller. on the missions where you have use the engine to power up a battery or disarm a mine, it cant be done with the keyboard because of the on/off nature.

      I spent 5 mins trying to do it with the leyboard and it just wouldnt work, where as i swap to my 360 controller and it was not issue at all

        You can, although it's obviously not designed for it. You just hold the acceleration key for a little bit longer than a regular key press to start it off and tap it to keep the needle in the right area.

    How much did this review cost them, Luke?
    I've heard nothing but shit about the Batmobile!

      It's subjective. I too find the Batmobile to be fun. Handles well. Couldn't figure out what all the complaints were about TBH.

      From what I've heard so far, it's pretty heavy-handed with the batmobile towards the beginning of the game, and makes the batmobile seem pointless, especially as gliding around is much quicker, but as stated here can be fun to use. General consensus is they should have introduced the batmobile later in the game.

        i found the batmobile fun, but it feels like they nerfed gliding speed to me because it feels so low even with grapple boost upgraded

          I don't think they nerfed it. It always took a while to get anywhere in Arkham City, feels quite a bit quicker to me (with 4x)

          I've noticed it now seems a lot more dependent based on how long you're 'reeling in' and the angle at which you are doing so.

          With fully upgraded grapple I get very different speeds depending on time to the grapple point and the angle. Can't say for sure if it's intentional but it makes sense, as less time to reel in would build up less speed.

          I don't think they nerfed it overall though, because you can definitely still get to some very high speeds.

    I don't feel like Batman driving the batmobile, I feel more like the joker - I don't take nice lines and I'm always struggling with the controls and smashing through shit, doing unintentional property damage, running over punks and smashing into cop cars. It's such a disconnect from how I feel out of the car where everything is so deliberate.

    The Batmobile is awesome. Unnecessary gifs that kill my phone data, not so much.

      Rip phone data.

      Last edited 26/06/15 3:51 pm

    I find the batmobile is hard to control. Especially at full throttle. The battle mode is ok. But it sucks having to keep the L2 button pressed the whole time.

      Here is an option in the menus to change that. It changes R1 to toggle battle mode and sets L2 to brake/reverse.

      There is an option in the menus to change that. It changes R1 to toggle battle mode and sets L2 to brake/reverse.

    The tank mode is freaking awesome. As much as I don't like the idea of batman using a 60mm cannon to destroy everything in a fiery blaze but somehow still not killing people in the vehicle I've just blown to pieces, it's fun. The default/racing mode is a pile of hot garbage that takes corners about as well as you'd expect a brick with wheels that you've strapped a jet engine to.

    Now if only there was a way for me to grapnel boost through all the riddler races I'd never touch the damn thing

    She's a beast and not in the good way. The tank is alright, only because you can control it a hell of a lot better than when you go any speed while in Batmobile mode.

    And having it forced down your throat to use in quite a few situations right out the gate only adds to my hatred for it.

    I also don't relate to the criticism it's received. I love the Batmobile in this game. It's handles well, looks amazing, helps a bunch in battles, and makes you feel like a total badass. That's how you should feel in a Batman game.

    Sure, it's used a lot in missions. But every game has those kind of missions where they make you use something (vehicle, weapon, character, etc.) to get stuff done.

    If the Barmobile had been in the three previous Arkham games, no one would be complaining now.

    Loving the game so far but the Batmobile sections feel a little too forced to me in places. I'm only a few hours in and I'm kinda sick of shooting 4,953 drone tanks. All of whom are totally ineffective and must cost the Arkham Knight billions I imagine?

    I'll echo others comments in that it's the only aspect of the game I don't feel like Batman doing. Out of the car I glide, sneak, throw batarangs and fight with precision and look totally bad ass doing it. In the car I'm all over the road, unintentionally running down people and smashing constantly into every corner, wall and lamp post. Don't even get me started on my Riddler races attempts...

    Batmobile doth rock!

    I find the Batmobile the worst part of this game so far (well other than the stupid absence of challenge map). I love the Botmobile and I like driving around the city but even after 10 hours in I am throughly over the shoehorning in of it into missions. Things in which the last games you could have just used the claw, suddenly Batman finds that he cant be without his new BBF.

    I dont mind the fighting tanks and stuff like that its just the constant hit L1 to get into batmobile, all the time. Maybe I dont want to get into the tank, maybe I dont want a "you need to do this now prompt". Maybe its just because I have been playing Witcher 3 and all the freedom it brings, but here the car is always being forced on us is, throughly annoying.

    Last edited 26/06/15 5:45 pm

    I like it. I doubt I'dve missed it if it wasn't there but right now I'm enjoying cruising around, and the tank battles don't irk me that much.
    Characterization clashes aside, I think it serves its purpose extremely well and is, overall, beneficial to the game.

    I'd enjoy it a lot more if it was used more sparingly in the missions. I'm not very far in, but it feels like it's been required for every other story mission. While it's fun to get around in, I still prefer gliding, grappling and punching dudes.

    It's great for traversing the city quickly, but it should have just been used for a handful of missions and challenges, not all of them.

    That gif has higher framerate than the pc port.

    I love the Batmobile too but there are issues. It's big and powerful. It handles well in large areas where you can swing it's massive frame around. It handles great in battle mode, but unfortunately it feels like the Batmobile has become the star of the game.

    It's relied upon way too often. Tank battles seems to occur more and more often toward the end of the game and once the third act really kicks in, the Batmobile suddenly becomes underpowered.

    The controls between driving and battle mode can disorientate you a little at first, and it's use in puzzles can be really smart. But when it comes to Riddler Puzzles, the Batmobile can prove a great frustration.

    I would've preferred less emphasis on battle mode as I feel I'm using batman less in these final parts of the game. And that's taking a bit away from the series for me.

    Still, nothing beats standing in the street and pressing the button and just watching the Batmobile fire up and drive toward you. Don't know why I love that so much.

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