I am the knight, the Dark Knight

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There are too many games that come out in a span of a year and never enough time to play them all. Plenty of great games were released in 2015 and most of them are sitting on my shelves gathering dust. Even titles that I was excited to play, like Witcher III: Wild Hunt, have only garnered a few hours of play. It’s a sad reality that you face when growing old and having “responsibilities.”

Most recently, I’ve dived into my backlog of 2015 games in order to satisfy one need — to wear spandex. I also had an itch to beat the holy hell out of virtual villains as a masked vigilante. If you haven’t connected the dots by now, I’m talking about Batman: Arkham Knight.

Rocksteady’s Arkham series is my gaming comfort food. Whenever a new one comes out, I can just pop it in and lose hours exploring its open world, beating up cronies, completing side missions, and interacting with Batman’s vast gallery of villains. Long story short, Arkham Knight is more of the same wonderful experience. Just now with a new shiny tank/car hybrid and a highly mature story that loves to punch you in the gut repeatedly.

Arkham Knight is the final entry in Rocksteady’s Batman saga as it wraps up threads from the three previous games. Scarecrow has teamed up with Gotham’s most wanted in order to accomplish one goal — killing Batman. Laying siege to Gotham and kidnapping Batman’s partners in crime are just the beginning of the nightmares the Dark Knight must face on this fateful Halloween night.

Unlike past games where Batman was restricted to Arkham Asylum or a small portion of Gotham, you are free to explore the city as a whole in Arkham Knight. The open world and how Rocksteady uses it are the game’s strongest points. Be it gliding through the skies or cruising along in the Batmobile, Gotham City is a living, breathing city littered with something to do around every corner. In all honesty, there is so much great content calling for your attention that you will go through entire play sessions without touching the main story.

Plus, thanks to the incredible rhythm-based and timing-focused combat, the simple act of fighting waves of enemies is highly entertaining and serves as a wonderful way to relieve stress.

As great as Arkham Knight is, it still lives in the shadow of Arkham City. Aside from that, there are two key areas where it falters compared to its predecessors.

While the Batmobile serves as a great way to traverse Gotham’s massive landmass, Rocksteady relies on it far too much. There were hour-long sections of the game where I had to use the Batmobile exclusively in order to advance. Plus, do there really need to be tank platforming sections in a Batman game? I think not.

Another problem comes in the form of the titular Arkham Knight. He serves as a formidable foil for Batman throughout the course of the game, but it all falls apart when it comes down to revealing his identity and resolving his story. If you didn’t guess the Arkham Knight’s identity or read about it online before the reveal, the game will spoil it for you about four hours before it happens. On top of that, the Arkham Knight completely disappears once his identity is revealed. Complete and utter wasted potential, if I do say so myself.

Despite my frustrations, I easily lost myself in Batman: Arkham Knight. I played a good two to three hours a night as a way to relax and was unable to pull myself to play another game throughout the three weeks it took to complete it. If you are looking for a game that truly makes you feel like a superhero, look no farther than the Dark Knight’s latest and greatest.

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