The real problem with crime in Arkham Knight's Gotham

WARNING: This article contains spoilers. Pretty much all of them.

Batman is practically a gargoyle in Arkham Knight. He spends the night in a predatory pose, his cape lashed by rain, far above the dire avenues of Gotham City. Such is life for the wrathful vigilante born in CRIME ALLEY. Ok. so the only Gotham people who work harder than Batman are the real estate agents.

One mans urban decay is anothers open-world activity, though, giving Batman the ideal setup for a crime-punching superhero game. Theres just one problem with Gothams crime in particular. Let's go over some of the major events in Arkham Knight to find out what it is:

Commissioner Gordon gets kidnapped

Commissioner James Gordon is an overachiever when it comes to abduction, getting himself captured twice in Batman: Arkham Knight - once by the title villain and then by Scarecrow. Eh, you know what? Gordon seems like a nice, hard-working guy, and since the Arkham Knight is partnered with Scarecrow we can knock his capture to a count of just one, but with joint custody between two supervillains. Its kind of sweet if you dont think about it.

Either way, the true indignity of Gordons problem comes from cutting ties with loose-cannon Batman. After Gordon storms off to finally sort things out himself, he bumbles into super-villain clutches and learns the hard lesson of Arkham Knights plot: only Batman can save us, because weve probably been kidnapped.

Poison Ivy gets kidnapped

Oh, ok, another kidnapping. Sure. Gothams most belligerent botanist gets kidnapped and locked up in an improvised greenhouse before Batmans even left his starting perch. She escapes almost coincidentally once Batman arrives, proving that she is immune to Scarecrows toxin and to any sort of clothing a normal woman might wear, like pants.

The fact that shes dragged off to prison immediately without anyone even putting a sweater on her is a lousy fate to suffer, though perhaps not as bad as being played by Uma Thurman.

Oracle / Barbara Gordon gets kidnapped

Arkham Knight rewards Oracles whip-smart advisory role to Batman by having her hmm abducted off-screen. Barbara Gordons technical skills allow her to hack and retrieve any information from within Gothams clock tower, granting her an immaterial freedom after Joker paralyzed her Batgirl career, but the game prefers to dangle her like a squirming carrot throughout.

The Jokers earlier attack on Barbara is depicted in grisly detail, but her return to Arkham Knight isnt given the same treatment - instead, we see Oracle getting shot in two different ways, thrown off a building and then dumped in the GCPD where she gets to hack some drones from afar. Her return from the dead isnt even spun as triumphantly as the other thing that gets killed and resurrected: The Batmobile. You know, the non-person car?

The Station 17 fire crew gets kidnapped

Lets give it up for the firefighters of Gotham City, who are essentially running around a bubbling volcano with just a handful of ice cubes and the constant fear of being mugged by lava from a bad caldera.

Though Arkham Knight reduces them to a percentage of game completion to be extracted from various parts of the city, these grounded city saviors deserve the help, not to mention the savage descent of Batman upon their captors. I mean, yeah, they also get kidnapped in the grand scheme of things, but its not like theyve had a lifetime of combat training to defend against that sort of thing.

Catwoman gets kidnapped

Hang on, Catwoman gets kidnapped? The acrobatic, masterful escape artist with nine lives and ten witty retorts per minute gets kidnapped by The Riddler? The same disheveled anti-Layton designing Mario Kart tracks from his moms basement? Ok, fine.

Though Catwoman dismisses the damsel in distress label, she says it while having an exploding collar strapped to her neck - and she cant get the numerous keys to unlock it without Batmans help. So, nice attempt at self-referential dodging there, writers, but nope. To be fair, though, Bats and Cats fighting through The Riddlers abandoned orphanage is one of the highlights of Arkham Knight, even if a collar makes Catwoman less cool than she should be. At least it doesnt have a bell on it.

The Ace Chemicals workers get kidnapped

After the worlds greatest detective concludes that Scarecrow is manufacturing his spooky chemicals at Gothams big, huge, unmissable chemical manufacturing plant - its a whole thing - he swoops in to save the workers being forced to work late (in the service of evil).

Alright, this one makes sense, even though its yet another consolidated kidnapping. Nobody living or working in Gotham would willingly help produce a fear-inducing toxin. Its dangerous, evil and - depending on which neighborhood you live in - kind of redundant.

The Arkham Knight gets kidnapped (sort of)

The flashback to the imprisonment and torture of Jason Todd - the second person to become Robin under Batmans tough-guy tutelage - gives you a big clue to the Arkham Knights true identity. And by big clue I mean full-on confirmation, because why else are we flashing back to this now?

Though the Arkham Knight persona isnt the one whos kidnapped, its his drawn-out and humiliating captivity that leads to his festering lust for revenge against Batman. Maybe thats why Batmans running around rescuing everyone properly, hoping to avoid a small army of Arkham Knights nipping at his cape.

Lucius Fox gets kidnapped

Aww, man, Lucius Fox gets kidnapped? Fox stays behind in Wayne Tower, despite a city-wide evacuation notice, working late to beef up Batmans gadgets and deliver new Batmobile upgrades. Hes charming, hes enjoying the absurdity of designing toys for a billionaire vigilante, and hes collected. Later, though, hes collected at gunpoint in the office by Thomas Elliot, a Bruce Wayne doppelgnger going by the name of Hush.

Batman doesnt tolerate kidnapping, of course, and with barely a biff or a pow he manages to negotiate Foxs freedom.

Lucius Fox's kidnapper gets kidnapped

Whoops. In negotiating Foxs release in Wayne Tower, Batman reveals his face to Hush as a reminder that they used to be childhood friends, and that one of them grew up to be an armored weirdo who breaks arms and probably doesnt appreciate hostage situations in his damn office.

After bludgeoning him into unconsciousness, Batman decides its probably best not to send Hush straight to the Gotham lockup. Instead, Hush is locked up somewhere in Wayne Tower. An unsanctioned, corporate acquisition of a person against their will and without the polices knowledge? Suuuure sounds like a kidnapping, Mr. Wayne.

Nightwing gets ... you know

Le sigh. Batmans initial protege, Dick Grayson, graduates from the role of Robin to pursue a career as Nightwing in a town called Bldhaven (it sounds lovely). The pair briefly team up to foil a weapon smuggling plot by Penguin, and are then separated when Nightwing gets kidnapped off-screen.

Being bailed out by your master could be some kind of spandex-clad Karate Kid moment, but the snappy dialogue between Batman and the former boy wonder clearly just serve as a smokescreen for embarrassment. Being rescued from a waddling man with a semi-automatic umbrella is worse than having your dad come get your sorry shoplifting self from a Hot Topic backroom. Oh well, at least Robin doesnt get kidnapped.

Oh good, Robin gets kidnapped

Well, heres an ironic case where Batman actually helps out in the kidnapping, locking Robin 3.0 up in a futuristic cell in order to protect him. This not only leaves him in a prime spot to be collected by Scarecrow later, but acts as prelude to the future Batman who has to worry about empty nest syndrome.

To be fair, this is one of the more sensible kidnappings in the game. Batman makes a mistake for once, blinded by his fear of losing another partner in the collateral damage of all the supervillain crap he has to deal with, and has to fix it in a way that echoes Arkham Knights overall message: being friends with Batman is the worst. It would have been better to let Robin decide and act on this point, though, rather than being appended to a staggering list that relies far too much on one kind of peril. But thats it, right? Were done with kidnappings, surely.

This guy gets kidnapped?

B Batman gets kidnapped in his own game? Ok, thats it, lets wrap this list up. Theres just no rescuing it now.

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.