The same old story with this Arkham Knight

3 out of 5 stars Batman: Arkham Knight X-ONE, PS4, PC Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Rating: Mature
3 out of 5 stars
Batman: Arkham Knight
X-ONE, PS4 (reviewed), PC
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Rating: Mature

We’ve been on these rain-slicked streets of Gotham before.

Three times, actually — where the brooding atmosphere of a Noir city, reminiscent of Art Deco-infused New York and Chicago, oozes all things Batman into our consciousness.

Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have named this rehash Batman: Arkham Knight, and believe me it’s no fresher than an apple in the produce section of your grocery store on a Sunday. In this tired instalment of the Arkham series, it feels as though WB is just banking on the Batman-Joker dynamic that squats in the minds of comic book geeks around the world.

Arkham Knight revisits the seen-it-before, Gotham-shut-down by the criminal element, leaving the usual suspects to sully the streets, and the more usual suspects to mop them up.

Scarerow has manifested his plans of terrorism by threatening the eastern seaboard with a bio-chemical weapon that triggers over-the-edge fear in all people, save for Poison Ivy, who spends most of the game incarcerated. She’s freed when Batman has an epiphany and works with her, and as aptly put by a thug over the radio frequencies, “for how long?”

A new villain is introduced, the game’s namesake, and he’s donning a futuristic Batman getup with a military theme.

Small parts of the gas are released triggering hallucinations — in particular Batman, who is being haunted by the apparition of his sharp-grinned nemesis throughout. And for those who haven’t played the the first three games, — SPOILER — he’s dead.

Joker, being prevalent in all four games, is my biggest beef. Can we have a story that doesn’t require him? I know he’s the alpha villain that inhabits the Batman mythos, but it gets long-in-the-tooth when he always has to be present.

Regardless, the gameplay is the same, and Batman is his same old curmudgeon-y self, avoiding any team play with Robin and Nightwing, unless he has to. And the same rescue of the damsel in distress — Catwoman. Then there’s the failed rescue, Oracle.

Yes folks, another spoiler.

The only highlights are the tie-in missions of Lazlo Valentin, a new-ish Batman villain plucked from the dreary Noir tales of Bob Kane to fulfill the mythos in 2007 (created by Andy Kubert and Grant Morrison) and the Man-Bat.

I admire the dip into the villain annals, but it’s still not enough to keep me interested. Not even the batmobile can ignite my fire. A good friend of mine referred to the gameplay of it as equal to steering a shopping cart.

My thoughts run along the same stream, save for the fact that a functioning shopping cart can be fun, but one with a bum wheel is not. This batmobile is unfortunately the latter.

Sidestories, side-missions, sidekicks — they’re pushed aside.

It seems the bloodsuckers in this case aren’t the bats, but WB Studios, and of course we’re just the suckers.

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