11 essential Batman: Arkham Knight tips to know before you play

Batman: Arkham Knight tips

Some Batman: Arkham Knight tips will be handy as Batman: Arkham Knight glides onto PS5 as part of the new PS Plus Collection games list. There’s never been a better time to (re) don the cape and cowl. Yet even if you’ve played Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, a lot has changed in the grumpy Gothamite’s third Rocksteady outing. Set nine months after the events of Arkham City, Scarecrow has unleashed a deadly new strain of fear toxin upon Batman’s metropolis, causing its populace to flee as Gotham’s streets are reclaimed by deadly criminals. With a shiny new batmobile to get to grips with, an Alfred-approved arsenal to play with and a massively expanded Gotham to liberate, you’ll need to adapt quickly if you want to survive. Luckily for you then, we have 11 essential Batman: Arkham Knight tips to help get you through unscathed.

1. Please, please, please turn on the toggle for the Batmobiles Battle Mode

After you've been to the Gotham City Police Department for the first time, venture into the game options and set the Batmobile's tank mode toggle to on. A tap of the right bumper or R1 will now switch Batmans armor-plated city sled between drivin' and blastin' modes, making for a more sensible control scheme overall. The tank's vulcan cannon goes on left trigger and its primary cannon goes on the right, just as the video game tank god intended.

Before this change, the Batmobile turns into a roving gun whenever you hold the left trigger - or whenever you want to brake in the Batmobile and mistakenly extend Batmans cannon with embarrassing prematurity. Another bonus with toggle: The drift button is mapped to Square or X, making it far easier to handle tight corners in the Batmobile. Not that you should be too worried about threading through alleys: Batmans car can withstand plenty of scrapes without losing speed, so don't worry about garbage cans, benches, trees or any of the pointless attempts at obscuring Gotham's terribleness.

2. You can get the shock gun as soon as you arrive at the GCPD

You can take the shock gun, or Remote Electrical Charge in gadget parlance, as soon as you arrive at the Gotham City Police Department for the first time. Its locked up in the evidence room, but its shielded only by a pathetic layer of glass, belongs to you in the first place and - oh yeah - YOU ARE BATMAN. Just take it.

As you leave the room you'll overhear police officers consider and then quickly cancel the idea of stopping your impromptu removal of evidence. You can march out with confidence, knowing that you've gotten early dibs on one of the most useful gadgets in the game. Its handy in solving a few of Riddlers conundrums later on, but you'll really want to fire it during combat (LT + Circle, or LT + B), where it will stun enemies, trigger their machine guns in undirected fire, and remove electrical shielding from the crooks you cant normally punch.

3. Pick people up and punch them AGAIN

The wonderful cadence in Arkham Knights combat has you flitting between numerous goons, delivering a biff here and a pow there. Some enemies are temporarily knocked down, leaving you free to deal with the others behind you, but your merciful restraint is costing you in the combo meter. If you have a chance, you can press RT + Circle (or RT + B) to lift up dazed opponents and thrust them back into the fight.

Why do we fall, minor henchman? So Batman can pick us up, pepper us with punches and extract that delicious combo juice. A well-timed pummelfest can help push you past the 8x multiplier quickly, which then lets you do an instant takedown of a tougher enemy nearby.

4. Demolish Brutes with environmental hazards

Brutes, the large and padded men populating every respectable supervillains menagerie of minions, can really trip up your flow. Usually, you need to stun them with your cape (you know, like how you were stunned and dazed as a child when you ran through sheets on the clothesline) and then punch them 15, 20 times while countering incoming blows from behind.

To speed up the process, try pushing or luring Brutes to environmental hazards, activated with Square + X, or X + A. They glow blue in unison with enemies that are in range, and they're indiscriminate in who they knock out permanently - even a Brute at full health wont get up after you knock them into an electrical box or drop one of Gotham's many industrial lamps on them. The city planners must have gotten them with that bulk shipment of stone gargoyles.

5. Dont bother with watchtowers until you have the Remote Hacking Device

The Arkham Knights propensity for erecting towers all over Gotham seems to hint at his true identity as a disgruntled Ubisoft game designer. His militarized towers don't reveal anything other than an opportunity to punch optional dudes, though, so their difficulty tends to be higher than most challenges stemming from the main story. As such, they're often guarded by emplaced sentry guns, which are huge pains in the bat-posterior.

You'll come across a few of the Knights watchtowers early on, but don't bother swooping through the red lights until you've obtained the Remote Hacking Device in the story. The wireless gadget lets you temporarily blind sentry guns, letting you tussle with tower guards without having to worry about getting shot. Even a fully upgraded batsuit can only shield you from bullets for so long, and the hassle without hacking just isn't worth suffering through a lengthy loading screen.

6. Bring all the guns to a knife fight

Its easy to forget the Batmobile's other flourishes in the roar of its fiery exhaust. Its a valuable puzzle-solving tool throughout the game, thanks to its sturdy winch and cable, but it can also help you deal with tougher gatherings of goons. Sometimes its best to think of it as another gadget in Batmans arsenal.

If you're about to descend on a batch of buffoons, take a look around and see if they're near a road or a window. Chances are you can remotely summon the Batmobile and leave it parked nearby. Now, after building up your combo meter and spotting an outline of blue on your target, you can press A + X (or X + Square) to uppercut them into the air and marvel as your car blows them out of the sky like a crooked clay pigeon. This cool maneuver, like many others in the game, continue to show Batmans questionable grasp of the words non and lethal.

7. Upgrade your tank weapons sooner, rather than later

If you intend on completing the majority of side quests in Batman: Arkham Knight, there'll be plenty of points later on to upgrade Batmans suit, fists and gadgets. At the outset, its better to focus on beefing up the Batmobile's cannons. The Arkham Knight has more drones than a militarized Amazon warehouse, and taking them out with fewer shots will help battles breeze by and just seem more fun.

Bruce Waynes friend and inventor Lucius Fox will also offer a choice of upgrades to the Batmobile as the story progresses. The most useful of these, which you should get as soon as possible, is the EMP, short for Electro-Magnetic Pulse and even shorter for Id like to destroy some drones while they're immobile and defenseless, muahahaha.

8. Beat a few story missions first when you arrive at a new island

Because urban planners desperately wanted to add drowning beneath a bridge to the long list of horrible things you sign up for when you move to Gotham, the city is split between three major islands. You start on Bleake Island (seriously, why does anyone live here?), but from there you'll venture into Magiani and Founders Islands as you track down the Scarecrow and his debilitating fear toxin.

Your video gaming impulse will be to clear out an island of side quests as soon as you get to it - and before you move on - but you'll run into a lot of dead ends this way, especially for tasks that require the Batmobile. To avoid wasting time, and to pursue side quests organically, whenever, play the story missions until your beloved butler Alfred lowers the bridge to that island. Once thats done, the Batmobile has access to the roads and can bail you out if you get in trouble with drones. It also gives Alfred something to do beyond listening to Batman batsplain every little thing he's doing. YES, sir, of course you're using the deep tissue scanner. I get it, it makes sense.

9. If you upgrade Batman, focus on Fear Multi-Takedowns

Batmans predatory style is more refined than ever in Arkham Knight, thanks to the new Fear Multi-Takedown system. Provided you've taken enough foes out in silence - just enough to induce a little panic in the rest - you can instantly take out several clustered thugs back-to-back by popping out of a grate or dropping in from the roof.

You can only incapacitate three enemies at a time in the beginning, but bumping this number to 4 and 5 via Waynetech upgrades makes later story missions much easier, especially when the opposition is armed (plus: a sequence of fear takedowns is guaranteed to succeed unless you fail to point the camera at the next guy). This maneuver is especially powerful if you're foiling Two-Faces bank robberies across Gotham, which must be completed before his troops make off with all the cash. With vault alarms drowning out the sounds of gunfire and punching, quickness is better than silence.

10. Abuse that Disruptor

Batman typically enters the scene from an elevated gargoyle perch, so you might as well use your bats eye view to cause some consternation. The Distruptor gadget returns in Arkham Knight with a wider variety of ways to induce malfunction in enemy weapons, so always consider using it before you swoop down and start flailing.

For instance, the Disruptor can disable enemy medics before you join the fight, thereby stopping them before they wake up thugs you've already knocked into next Tuesday. You can also set ammo crates to go haywire, giving you a KO'd enemy before they can bring a gun into the fight. In fact, if you booby-trap them and toss a batarang into the crowd from afar, they'll panic and get themselves electrocuted before you've even touched the ground. Now thats the classic Batman way.

11. Glide when you dont have to drive

Even if you love the Batmobile's wrecking ball approach to fast travel, gliding is still the preferred method of travel through Gotham. Though you can often save time by driving through sewers and other secret passageways, going up and over the city is more fun, liberating and - get this - informative.

Batman: Arkham Knights storytelling tricks include the clever use of audio cues, some of which you simply wont hear over the growling of the Batmobile's engines. As you swoop through the city, you'll hear signals of nearby side quests, some of which wont even be available on the mission menu yet. In between the light patter of rain you'll hear a ghastly screech, wafting opera music and even the obnoxious beep of a roadside mine - all little distractions that lead to something more. If you're playing Arkham Knight this way, you're doing it right.

Looking for more help? We also have a Batman: Arkham Knight Riddler guide and Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl DLC collectibles guide.

Ludwig Kietzmann

Ludwig Kietzmann is a veteran video game journalist and former U.S. Editor-in-Chief for GamesRadar+. Before he held that position, Ludwig worked for sites like Engadget and Joystiq, helping to craft news and feature coverage. Ludwig left journalism behind in 2016 and is now an editorial director at Assembly Media, helping to oversee editorial strategy and media relations for Xbox.