The Blinding Brilliance Of The Dark Knight

Happy Weekend TAY!

Everyone ready for the weekend? I hope you have something fun and exciting planned to take your mind off all the woes in the world. It has been a tough week for those in Florida.

I did something to my lower back last week which has made exercising difficult and had me hobbling around like an old man. At least my current game, Batman: Arkham Knight, gave my fingers a great workout and let me be (virtually) sprier than I could ever hope to be even in the best of health.

I am so in love with Arkham Knight. What a beautifully executed game. It now joins Saints Row 4 as my favourite superhero game (Arkham Knight is the better game, but Saints Row 4 is an experience unlike any other).

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It is rare to play an open world game where every component is so perfectly designed. Each mini-game was fun and I never once had that “oh no, not one of these again” feeling. Sure, not all were games I would want to play on their own at any great length, but it was the frequency of the minigames that was key.

Nothing wore out its welcome (unless of course, you didn’t groove on the main combat mechanics). I suppose if I had to nitpick, I think the Riddler Trophy challenges that required scanning specific objects based on a riddle were slightly flawed because of the mechanics (but I assume most people didn’t collect all of them anyhow). The crime scene investigations that bogged down Arkham Origins were better designed in Arkham Knight but, more importantly, they were much less frequent. It was this incredibly well-designed pacing of each aspect of Arkham Knight that was the true genius of this game.

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Nothing highlights this genius more than the Batmobile and how it breaks up the constant “sameness” that is a problem in the other Arkham games. I LOVED the Batmobile. Honestly, I’m not sure I understand the negative response it receives. I suppose if you ignored using the Batmobile for most of the game, the sequences where you are forced to use it would be frustrating from the lack of practice. I couldn’t wait until my next Batmobile mission and regularly called my trusty vehicle just for the fun of tooling around town.

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The Batmobile’s two modes allow for a wonderful variety of gameplay mechanics from tank battles to traditional racing. The well executed combat-racing rivals anything I’ve seen in other full-fledged combat racers. The variety of mechanics of the Batmobile also allowed it to be used to solve puzzles in ways I have never seen in video games. Then there were the Riddler races which allowed the player to change the configuration of the course as they were driving. I would pay for a separate game that just involved these specific type of tracks, I think they were the best mini-game overall.

I’ve now finished the main storyline and the end sequence was one of the better finales to ever grace a video game. The whole game was a marvel of increasing difficulty that few titles ever get right. I played on Hard and, when most games lose their challenge from about the 50% mark onward, Arkham Knight kept me against the wall the whole way through.

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I do have to point out that I have the GotY edition that includes all the DLC (much of which is integrated into the main game) so I can’t comment on the vanilla experience. Given the DLC includes excellent storylines with other supervillains, I can only imagine that the GotY edition is the preferred way to play.

I’m sure I haven’t conveyed how well Batman: Arkham Knight is put together. I seriously think it is a contender for my top 10 favourite games of all time. Play it!

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My weekend plan is to mop up the last three dozen outstanding Riddler Trophies and then move on to the Arkham City Stories that allow you to play as different characters, such as Nightwing and Catwoman. The amount of content in this GoTY edition is staggering.

Other than Batman: Arkham Knight, I am hoping my son and I will be able to play more Sonic Mania this weekend. I’d also like to try to get to more of my stalled Uncharted 3 playthrough with my wife so we can finally move on to Uncharted 4.

So, what are you playing this weekend?