Batman: Arkham Knight is finally out on June 23rd, and Rocksteady’s latest masterpiece is one of the most highly anticipated PC game releases of the year for many. Hardcore Caped Crusader fans have no doubt been following the progress of this, the fourth and final game in this masterful series, closely, lapping up every new screenshot and titbit of information that the developer has thrown out to their eager and (highly) expectant community of fans.
However, for the benefit of those who might not have been scouring the fan forums daily for the past year or so, we’ve compiled the essential list of the top 10 things PC gamers need to know about Arkham Knight.
One – Batman is harder and cooler than ever
Remember when you first encountered Batman in Arkham Asylum, way back in 2009? Back then it was genuinely hard to imagine how Rocksteady could possibly improve upon their superb superhero caper. And at the centre of all of this was the Dark Knight himself, whose character design had been heavily influenced by artist Jim Lee, so Batman was beefed-up, strong and muscular, wearing a dark, industrial style costume. This time around, Batman is even harder, with a more aggressive appearance and noticeably more armour.
Two – The Batmobile plays a much bigger role in Arkham Knight
Batmobile-based fun and car-centred crime-fighting are going to be essential aspects of the gameplay in Arkham Knight, with the dark, brutal lines of the Batmobile mirroring the more uncompromising and aggressive character design. Batman will be able to chase super-villains around the vast expanse of Gotham City in pursuit mode and engage in vehicle-based combat with criminals in battle mode. The developer has also introduced a new Race Track feature, which only serves to indicate the heightened importance of the Batmobile within the game. And, of course, the fast and fluid car mechanics are going to really show off what your PC is capable of, courtesy of Rocksteady working closely with NVIDIA to ensure the game is never anything less than technically outstanding.
Three – Its Rocksteady!
Yes, Rocksteady are back. The north London studio was responsible for producing the first two critically acclaimed titles in the series - Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City – and, in the view of many fans, can do no wrong. Arkham Knight on PC is clearly a true labour of love, with the game’s creators working hand-in-hand with NVIDIA to ensure this fourth and final chapter is going to be the most visually stunning and technically powerful game in the series.
Four – The writing is better than ever before
Too often an overlooked element of most games, the writing and the wonderful sense of narrative flow in Arkham Knight is down to the return of the awesome writing/directing team of Sefton Hill and Paul Crocker. We’re unsure what they’re putting in the water supply up in Highgate in north London, where Rocksteady’s studio is based, but whatever it is, it seems to be enabling a genius-level integration of storytelling and gameplay.
Five – The game is epic in scale
Arkham Knight takes Batman way beyond Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The battle this time is to save Gotham City itself, following a despicable terrorist attack on the metropolis by the Scarecrow and his cronies, which has seen the city’s population flee for their lives. Leaving the immense city overrun by criminal types and super-villains intent on much wrongdoing!
Six – You can be bad
To add to the variety, Arkham Knight lets you play as one of a number of additional playable characters including Robin, Knightwing (Superman’s grandson) and uber-baddies Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Red Hood. So you can play out your most malevolent super-villain fantasies, should you tire of saving the good people of Gotham City! And again, each character is beautifully rendered with incredibly detailed and realistic costumes, which really helps to show off what’s possible when NVIDIA tech is properly deployed on a decent PC.
Seven – Gotham City looks and feels darkly beautiful
In addition to the Batmobile, the other significant new development in Arkham Knight has to be the dark and beautiful sprawl that is Gotham City itself. A wonderful, immense canvas across which the gameplay unfolds, marking Arkham Knight as being considerably bigger and far more ambitious in scope than Rocksteady’s earlier (and still remarkable) two chapters in the series. This time around, the action takes place across the three island districts of Gotham.
Eight – The Joker’s absence goes strangely unnoticed
We’ll admit it. We thought we might miss the Joker in Arkham Knight, seeing he was knocked off back in Arkham City. But we don’t, mainly because there are plenty of other super-villains to keep Batman on his toes here, with the afore-mentioned Scarecrow joined by the likes of Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and the all-new super-villain the Arkham Knight.
Nine – Gadgets, gizmos, weapons and combat
If you ask any self-respecting Batman fan what they like about the character, in all his many incarnations over the 75 years since he first appeared in a DC Comics book way back in 1939, then the answer is almost always “gadgets”. And boy, does Arkham Knight pack in plenty of cool new gizmos and weaponry to help Batman (and to augment the Batmobile) in his quest to save Gotham City. Discovering these, and figuring out how they can help you to solve the many crime-fighting puzzles as you progress through this immense game is massively enjoyable. Plus, the new ability to use gadgets whilst in mid-glide and to switch between characters in free-flowing combat makes for a far more satisfying fighting system.
Ten – Your PC will sing
The PC version of Arkham Knight marks a significant milestone for Rocksteady and NVIDIA. It is an immense creative and technical achievement and it looks beautiful, feels solid and plays like a dream. If you have any mates who need selling on the benefits of proper PC gaming, then Arkham Knight is the one title you should be nudging them in front of this summer.
Technically, it pushes PC gaming to new limits, showcasing what is possible to achieve using NVIDIA GameWorks and PhysX technologies.
Batman: Arkham Knight is finally out on June 23. If you are a PC gamer, you’ll be glad to hear that NVIDIA is offering a free copy of Batman Arkham Knight with the purchase of a qualifying GeForce GTX graphics card.