Batman: Arkham Knight - Preview

Rocksteady Studios are gearing up for Batman: Arkham Knight, the newest entry in the franchise and first Dark Knight adventure for Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Batman: Arkham Knight preview from GAME.

Last year's Batman: Arkham Origins continued the impressive streak of quality superhero games featuring the Caped Crusader, despite Warner Bros. Games Montreal handling development. That led players to wonder what Arkham Asylum and Arkham City creators Rocksteady Studios were up to. The answer is Batman: Arkham Knight, the newest entry in the franchise and first Dark Knight adventure for Xbox One and PlayStation 4; the game will also appear on PC. While most have yet to play this highly anticipated effort, new details have both video game and comic book fans gushing with anticipation.

Trick or Treat

Set one year after the events in Arkham City, the story revolves around famous Batman villains Two-Face, Harley Quinn and Penguin uniting to kill their greatest rival. Scarecrow sets this in motion on Halloween by unleashing his latest fear toxin upon Gotham City, forcing a mass evacuation that leaves the criminals running amok and the police overwhelmed. The Riddler also returns with a new set of challenges, but this time, Rocksteady plans to make them more elaborate than in games past.

In addition, Batman must contend with the Arkham Knight, a brand-new character created specifically for the game in conjunction with DC Comics. Who this person is, of course, remains a mystery, prompting Batman to harness every gadget he can get his hands on to combat this menace, while at the same time relying on the help of Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara, otherwise known as Oracle. From what we've heard, Rocksteady will prominently feature her in the plot.

Batman: Arkham Knight preview from GAME.

Hail the Batmobile

Intricate story aside, the first thing that jumps out is the Batmobile, which players can drive for the first time in this series of Batman titles. Gamers can summon this vehicle with a simple button press and it will appear almost instantly, regardless of whether Batman is on the ground or gliding above the Gotham rooftops. Once inside, players can bust through different objects within the environment, perform speed boosts and jumps. Not only does it fire rockets to destroy rivals, but electrical defences will also shock bad guys; it's even bulletproof.

This all ties into the immense world that Rocksteady created, which is by far the biggest representation of Gotham in a Batman game. Players will explore an area five times as large as Arkham City without the need for fast travel. This includes three unique areas with multiple districts, like the shipping yard and Chinatown.

Time to Get Punchy

Continuing with the large sense of scale, Batman will defend against even more enemies than before. This may sound intimidating, but remember that Batman utilizes a satisfying combat system. Players will string together even bigger combos, thanks to Batman's ability to attack prone enemies. Even cooler is the option to grab hold of someone and throw that person into the mob.

Batman: Arkham Knight preview from GAME.

Multiple adversaries will attempt to strike Batman with baseball bats and other objects, but now gamers can disarm their enemies and use these items against the opposition until they break from overuse. Environmental objects also factor into the combat, power generators for example.

If using Batman's fists seems more appealing, the all-new Fear Takedown lets players incapacitate up to three enemies at once. With this feature, time slows down, giving users a chance to manually target each individual.

All Those Wonderful Toys

Arkham Knight wouldn't be a Batman game without a variety of gadgets. Detective Vision makes a welcome return, allowing players to search for secrets, but they'll also make use of the line launcher and batarang. Of particular interest is the grapnel gun that gamers can use to change direction while gliding. Speaking of which, Batman can glide for much longer periods while at the same time rapidly diving and climbing, a feature that should provide more thrilling moments as players explore Gotham and surprise unsuspecting enemies.

Little is known about all the voice actors, but Kevin Conroy will reprise his role as Batman; he did a superb job in prior Arkham games. Beyond that, composer Nick Arundel, who scored both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, will return for the Arkham Knight soundtrack.

All of this should combine to form one of the year's best video games. Having Rocksteady at the helm solidifies its quality in many fans' eyes, and the inclusion of the Batmobile and open world environment should go a long way at making Arkham Knight the ultimate Batman experience. Whether or not the Arkham Knight character will be as strong as past villains remains to be seen, but based on the other games, there's little reason to worry.

SKU: Previews-287851
Release Date: 04/04/2014