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Arkham Knight’s Batmobile Really That Bad? – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Arkham Knight’s Batmobile Really That Bad?



I had no urgency to acquire Batman: Arkham Knight, finally obtaining it approximately four years after its lackluster PC release in 2015. The last Arkham game I played was Arkham City in 2014, so when I booted up Arkham Knight and witnessed Batman’s emblem with Jonathan Banks’ magnificent voice declaring, “this is how it happened, this is how the Batman died,” I was elated. However, amidst all the game’s notable aspects, the one that fascinated me the most was the Batmobile, despite the controversy surrounding it. It was undoubtedly a major selling point of the game. Nevertheless, not everyone had a positive experience with the Batmobile. An excerpt from DualShockers’ antiquated review of Batman: Arkham Knight states, “It’s unfortunate that the game forces the Batmobile upon us so frequently that it becomes tiresome,” which seemed to mirror broader sentiments regarding the vehicle. They make a valid point, and I cannot deny that the Batmobile is one of the less diverse components when it comes to game design.

The Batmobile is relatively straightforward: it has a pursuit mode, functioning like a standard vehicle, and a battle mode, transforming the armored car into a tank armed with “non-lethal” cannons. Additionally, it possesses a power winch that can be used to hoist itself or generate power. While this is a cool feature, its only practical use that comes to mind is when you need to power up the Panessa Studios Antenna. You must take the Batmobile to an otherwise inaccessible location, shoot the power winch to the top of a building, and reel it up the side of said building. These are impressive features, but disappointingly, they are limited to main missions and riddles. You either speed through or transform into a tank and unleash destruction. Undeniably, Rocksteady could have either eliminated the tedious interior missions involving the Batmobile or incorporated it in a more versatile manner within the main story missions, rather than primarily using it to annihilate militia drones. For instance, the Batmobile’s inclusion in the Arkham HQ mission felt out of place. This mission, which occurs once you identify the location where Arkham Knight is holding Commissioner Gordon hostage, takes place in an interior environment that appears tailor-made for the Batmobile. While I can overlook the conveniently placed gargoyles throughout the series, the convenient winches and movable floor in Arkham HQ were jarringly out of sync, even within the Arkham universe.

On a positive note, Rocksteady introduced the Batmobile as the fastest mode of transportation in any Arkham game. It quickly became my primary means of traversing Gotham, to the extent that I felt somewhat restricted when I replayed Arkham City afterward. Everything became faster, and with Batman’s newfound agility from a new suit, it was only logical to keep up with the increased tempo. Furthermore, there is a particular skill that can be upgraded to enable higher launches from the Batmobile, which proved essential in some of the Riddler races across Gotham. Additionally, the Batmobile’s ability to interact with the destructible environment allowed me to fulfill childhood fantasies. While I may not possess super strength, destroying trees and parts of buildings was an exhilarating experience. Sometimes, I would start the game solely to engage in combat with the roaming goons. Afterward, I would summon the Batmobile, destroy their cars, and shoot at buildings with the 60mm cannon.

There were also complaints that the game relied too heavily on the Batmobile. Some passionate fans claimed that 70-80% of the game involved the Batmobile, although this was not entirely accurate. That Boy Aqua, in his video titled “In Defense of Batman Arkham Knight,” estimated that he spent approximately four hours in the Batmobile out of a total of 20 hours of main story gameplay. This means that roughly 20% of the game is spent in the Batmobile, which is not as drastic as it may seem (although it is a substantial amount compared to previous Arkham games, which were predominantly played on foot). I understand why people may be dissatisfied with the Batmobile dominating a Batman game, but the hatred towards it is unwarranted.

If you were to rank the Batman Arkham trilogy, Arkham Knight would rarely come out on top for most people. The Batmobile played a significant role in diminishing Arkham Knight’s standing. The most common source of disappointment was the Cloudburst tank battles against the Batmobile. Batman fought the Arkham Knight three times, two of which involved the Batmobile, and all three fights were underwhelming. Many blamed the Batmobile, as it reduced what could have been an intense hand-to-hand combat encounter into yet another tank mission. This issue arises from the nature of superhero games. When the protagonist possesses an incredibly powerful gadget that must be introduced, it must either be toned down to avoid conflict resolution becoming too easy or represented with equal power to maintain the fun. For example, imagine how unexciting it would be to play a Superman game where Superman effortlessly lasers through every enemy in his path to reach the end of the game.

Another letdown was Deathstroke, who featured one of the best boss fights in Arkham City. After defeating Arkham Knight, Deathstroke seizes control of the militia governing Gotham, providing a valid reason to include him and the militia even after Arkham Knight’s defeat. To confront Deathstroke, you must eliminate the militia checkpoints and destroy their drones and armored personnel carriers around Gotham. Expecting a battle on par with the one in Arkham City, you rush in only to find that you will have to repeat the Cloudburst fight, except this time it’s Deathstroke in the tank instead of the Arkham Knight.

The Batmobile’s impact on the game was a mixed bag. Some missions were lackluster, but others that involved the Batmobile were genuinely thrilling, such as the assault on GCPD and the infiltration of Ace Chemicals. As a final piece of advice, do not let the criticism of the Batmobile hinder your enjoyment of Batman: Arkham Knight. The Batmobile contributed more positive elements than negative ones, building upon the combat and traversal abilities from previous installments, which were becoming stale at that point in the series.

Next: 10 Game Worlds You Would Not Want To Be Trapped In

I was in no hurry to get Batman: Arkham Knight, finally picking it up some four years after its sluggish PC release in 2015. I hadn’t played an Arkham game since Arkham City in 2014, and when I booted up Arkham Knight I was delighted at the sight of Batman’s logo with Jonathan Banks’ glorious voice uttering “this is how it happened, this is how the Batman died.” But of all the things that really stood out to me in the game, the one that I was most fascinated by was, for all its controversy, the Batmobile. It was, after all, a huge selling point of this game.




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Not everyone was fond of their experience with the Batmobile. An excerpt from DualShockers’ now-ancient review of Batman: Arkham Knight reads: “It’s regrettable that the game shoves the Batmobile down our collective throat so many times and so often that it ultimately gets old,” which seemed to echo wider sentiments on the vehicle. They have a point, and I can’t deny that the Batmobile is one of the least diverse sections when it boils down to game design.

The Batmobile is generally pretty simple: there’s a pursuit mode, which works like a standard vehicle, as well as a battle mode, which turns the armored car into a tank capable of firing ‘non-lethal’ cannons. Oh, and there’s a power winch that the vehicle can hold and reel itself into or generate power. It’s a cool function, but the only use that comes to mind is when you needed to power up the Panessa Studios Antenna. You had to get the Batmobile to a place it couldn’t usually reach, then shoot the power winch to the top of a building and reel it up the side of that building. These are cool features, but were regrettably restricted to main missions and riddles. You either go fast or turn into a tank and go hard.

Screenshot of Batman from the intro of Arkham Knight with a prompt reading

There’s no question that Rocksteady could’ve either cut the tedious interior missions with the Batmobile or utilized it in a more versatile way in the main story missions rather than primarily using it to destroy militia drones. For example, the Batmobile’s inclusion in the Arkham HQ mission felt awkward. This mission—which takes place once you identify the location where Arkham Knight is holding Commissioner Gordon hostage—took place in an interior that felt tailored just for the Batmobile. While I can overlook the convenient gargoyle placement throughout the series, the convenient winches and the movable floor in Arkham HQ were too out of place, even in the Arkham universe.

On the bright side, Rocksteady introduced the fastest method to traverse any Arkham game with the Batmobile. The Batmobile quickly became my primary means of traversing Gotham, to the point where I felt particularly limited when I replayed Arkham City after. Since everything became quicker, and Batman got a new suit that made him more agile, it was only logical to keep up with this increased tempo. There’s also a particular skill that you could upgrade allowing you to launch higher from the Batmobile, which was essential in some Riddler races across Gotham. Also, the Batmobile’s interactions with the destructible environment allowed me to fulfill my childhood fantasies. I’ve got nothing on green life, but destroying trees and parts of buildings was a dealbreaker for me. Sometimes I’d boot up the game to beat the hell out of the goons roaming the streets. After that, I’d call the Batmobile, blow up their cars, and shoot at buildings as I go with the 60mm cannon.

ALSO READ: The Batman Arkham Games Still Hold Up After All This Time

Then there was the complaint that simply too much of the game is spent in the Batmobile. You’d hear histrionic fans shouting that 70-80% of the game is spent in the Batmobile, though in reality this was never really the case. That Boy Aqua, in his video titled “In Defense of Batman Arkham Knight,” estimated how much time he spent in the Batmobile, which was about ~4 hours out of 20 hours of main story gameplay. That means that roughly 20% of your game time is spent in the Batmobile, which doesn’t sound all that drastic (though of course that’s a lot compared to other Arkham games, which were almost entirely played on foot).

The Batmobile from Batman Arkham Knight

So I understand why people might not be happy about the Batmobile being this dominant in a Batman game, but the hatred is just unreasonable. If you try to rank the Batman Arkham trilogy, then Arkham Knight is rarely going to come out on top, or even second, in most peoples’ lists. And the Batmobile played a big role in bringing Arkham Knight’s standing down a notch.

The most common sources of displeasure were the Cloudburst tank vs Batmobile fights. Batman fought the Arkham Knight three times, two of which were in the Batmobile, and all three fights were just disappointing. Everyone blamed the Batmobile, since it reduced what could’ve been a climactic high-stakes melee fight to another mission with a tank. The reason for this is the nature of superhero games. When the protagonist has a super powerful gadget that you want to introduce, you either have to tone it down so it doesn’t too easily resolve conflicts, or you represent it at the same scale of power and risk ruining the fun. For example, how fun would it be to play a Superman game where Superman just lasers every enemy through his way to the end of the game?

Akham Knight Ba5tman Looking Up At Jumping Enemy In Rain

Then there was Deathstroke, the guy with one of the best boss fights in Arkham City.. After Arkham Knight is defeated, Deathstroke takes control of the militia controlling Gotham, which offers a good excuse to include both him and the militia long after Arkham Knight is gone. To confront Deathstroke, you needed to clear the militia checkpoints and destroy their drones and APCs around Gotham. Expecting a fight on par with the one in Arkham City, you rush in only to find that you’ll have to repeat the Cloudburst fight, but this time it’s just Deathstroke in the tank instead of the Arkham Knight.

So the Batmobile was a mixed bag. Some missions were lackluster, but other segments that included the Batmobile were downright thrilling, like the assault on GCPD and the infiltration of Ace Chemicals. As a final piece of advice, don’t let the criticism of the Batmobile impede your enjoyment of Batman: Arkham Knight. The Batmobile’s impact on the game was more good than bad, building on the combat and traversal capabilities from previous installments that were becoming stale at that point in the series.

NEXT: 10 Game Worlds You Wouldn’t Want To Be Trapped In

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