Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a media-only screening of some gameplay from the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. The short demo answered a lot of questions, and should give series fans a good idea of where the game is heading. Hit the jump for more.
Alright, I have a confession to make. I recently released an article where I asked readers to leave questions in the comments. See, I thought I was having a Batman interview. It turns out that there was a miscommunication, and my interview turned into a chat with Rober Fisser of Sony. Which meant that all the questions I’d gathered were useless. Unless…
While watching the demo footage, I was able to answer most of the questions I would have asked. That’s right readers, this is now an interview with my sense of observation. Anyway, the segment of gameplay looks very similar to what Miklos got to play at the recent Gamescom expo. Batman needs to rescue some chemical factory workers, while also Batmanning his way through guards and drone-tanks. The reader’s questions are below, so lets get this one-man-interview underway.
Alex Rowley asks: “Tell me everything”.
Well, you play as Batman (shocker, I know) and it’s up to you to save the people of Gotham City from a huge-scale chemical attack by the Scarecrow. The usual rogues-gallery is joined by newcomer The Arkham Knight, who dresses like a cape-less Batman and is using his private army to exact revenge on the Caped Crusader.
Alex Rowley asks again: “How much has the combat been changed?”
Well, if it isn’t broke, just tweak it and add a few features. That seems to be Rocksteady’s approach here. Combat looks the same as in previous games, just sped up a little. For example, tapping the L2 button now performs the ground-takedown, as opposed to holding it in and pushing square. Besides that are the new Environmental Takedowns (throw enemies into tables, chairs, light fixtures) and the Fear Takedowns. These allow you to chain together targets and Batpunch them in a slow-mo orgy of kung-fu. That previous sentence makes me feel weirdly unclean. There was also a new enemy type too, the martial arts expert. These nimble fighters gang-up on Bats to deal fast, sword-based attacks.
Anyway, despite those two changes, combat looks largely the same. New animations take adavantage of the current-gen hardware, and the Environmental Takedowns look like they’ll add some great variety too, making players want to experiment with their surroundings. Really, it seems as though a lot of the new focus has been put on the Batmobile. It’s a real game changer.
Alec Samuel asks: “What makes the Batmobile such a game changer?”
The Batmobile looks like it strongly affects many aspects of game-design. It seems to play into the game more as a puzzle and combat element, rather than just transport. And seeing how the iconic vehicle is handled really drives home the fact that a lot of thought has gone into it.
Above all, it feels very authentic. All it’s features seemed ripped straight from the comic-verse. It’s remote controllable, and can be summoned to Batman at the press of a button. An interesting ability of it is pulling down structures using grappling hooks, which opens up many avenues of traversal. Combat wise, it allows Batman to launch from it at magnificent speeds, either directly into a cluster of enemies or into a high-glide. Also, if you pick a fight near the Batmobile, you can use it’s non-lethal rifle to knock-out enemies that you’ve combo-ed.
Another interesting scene involved a tense stand-off between Batman and some guards. Using the remote-control settings on the car, players would be able to shoot-down guards to create a distraction, allowing Bats to Batpunch the baddies. Honestly, this feature probably won’t appear very often in gameplay, but it looks fun.
Leonardo asks: “Will the game be big enough for the Batmobile to be interesting?”
Difficult to say. The demo took place in a small area. But it clearly showed a lot of potential to use the Batmobile to find new paths or make your own. It’s also surprisingly nimble, so expect to make some daring jumps in this thing.
Leonardo asks again: “Will there be civilians in the middle of all this that need rescue?”
I’d say yes. The mission revolved around rescuing chemical plant workers, so it seems very likely that other civies will need Batmanning too.
Leonardo asks again Revelations: “Will the events of the entire game take place in a single, everlasting evening again?”
At two seperate points in the demo, The Arkham Knight mentions that tonight will be Batman’s last. It seems very likely that this feature will return from the last two games.
And finally, Leonardo asks: “Do we get to quick-time-event punch/slap nightwing at least once?”
Yes (unconfirmed, but you read it here first).
And that’s that. Sadly the game isn’t playable this year, and no cameras were allowed in the demo room, so you’ll all have to trust my journalistic-abilities.