So my vote for game of the year this year was Rocksteady's final entry in its Batman trilogy (Arkham Origins doesn't count because it was made by a different company and was broken as hell anyway). Arkham Knight was the long awaited sexual to the critically acclaimed Arkham Asylum and City games, some of the objectively and subjectively best Batman, let alone superhero video games of all time. The games are most notable for their innovative free-flow combat system and smooth stealth "predator" system. All very Batman-esque. Over the years the games featured a wide array of Batman villains and heroes, but this time around, the main villain was an original character developed just for this game (although I wouldn't be surprised if he finds his way into the DC universe at large eventually (and yes I'm fairly well versed in DC lore so hopefully I don't just seem like I'm talking out of my ass)). My lack of will is going to keep this relatively void of plot detail beyond any of that, but we'll touch on a bunch of topics.
: It's simply divine. The graphics are absolutely top notch in my opinion, the music is subtle but provides ambiance, the voice acting is on point especially from
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Mark Hamil as his iconic Joker voice acting. Way more lines than Star Wars I can promise you that.
. Arkham Knight introduced for the first time full Batmobile integration into the gameplay. It comes up with some slightly less that believable reason why nobody is ever killed by this giant machine, but it handles well and is fun to play with. The only complaint is that in the story it tends to be just lame when you have to use it for repetitive platform puzzling. Regardless the game features perhaps just enough diversity in its locals. It varies vastly from pernicious entries in that in the past Akrham games had a lot of large indoor areas that were separate from the main map. This game has a few but not nearly as many. I'm not sure that in the end I found this to be bad, just different from what I'd come to expect from these games.
Again, imaculate. This final rendition has perfected the free-flow combat system. You essentially, with great skill and practice, just can dance around taking down enemies with tact or force and it's so fun. There are far fewer predator sections than previous Arkham games, but I think that is an improvement as they are tough and slow, so you don't want to be stuck doing too many in a row. Vehicular combat is also well done. It's split between two modes, tank mode where you shoot at drone tanks, and chase mode where you shoot concussive shots at manned vehicles to take them out and drag their occupants to the streets. Riddler challenges make a return, just as frustrating as ever. Not my favorite part of these games. The amount of possible side questing is large, so if you love the game, yay, but if you're not in it to complete it, you probably won't naturally. Many of the side quests require luck or random triggering which can be frustrating if not closely following a guide. Lastly, this game introduced a new duel-combat system where Batman and a partner team up to take on hordes of enemies or big bosses. The first few times this is kind of cool, but it gets very repetitive as most of the other playable characters don't have as any useful gadgets ao combat becomes reletive. It was a nice addition though to get access to a wide range of characters.
This games list is a pretty standard Arkham list. You have plenty you get for natural completion of the game and for finishing side quests. Yes, you will have to get all the damn riddler trophies. You have to finish New Game + which is the hardest difficulty of the game (no counter signs less health etc.) but you keep all the upgrades and unlocks from the first play through. There's a few tedious "do this X times" achievements unfortunately that will not come naturally and will require a bit of a grind. And then there's the AR challenges. All Arkham games have had combat and predator challenges. This game does it slightly differently where it splits then between a few different categories and adds in races as well as tank battles. The original content requires you to complete each challenge with three stars (a measurement based on high scores or times) which was a good bit of challenge and not the least bit repetitive. With the massive amount of DLC that came out though that one original achievement becomes a joke because there's not 200 something stars available not just 69. This leads me to my last point though.
DLC and Season Pass
Arkham Knight promised regularly released content monthly for 6 months after release. And I think they did one of the best DLC jobs I've seen. I would first only recommend the season pass if you're truly dedicated to this game as it is mostly just AR challenges and very short story missions called Akrham Stories or something like that that each feature a different of the playable heroes and one that features Batgirl who was not previously playable. They are all short with the exception of Batgril's with some better than others. DLC also added tons of AR challenges, the ability to pick between all the playable characters for each of the AR challenges ( previously only batman was playable unless it was a duel-combat challenge), and achievements. There were also character and Batmobile skins for those who care for that stuff. I don't. Except for the various Batmobile skins that had new tracks and achievements attached that were based of the various movies and TV series from Batman's history. Content was spaced out in such a way where you very well may have only just been wrapping the last one up when the next came out which was perfect. I had gone through each as they came out to get the new achievements, most of which were for either getting 21 AR stars with certain batmobiles or playable characters, or finishing the Arkham Stories. Thinking about it, if you bought them all at once now it may be tedious getting all the DLC achievements. But having done them right when they came out never felt like a hassle or bore. The final season pass DLC was an additional 5 side quests to play in the main game. I was a bit underwhelmed by these honestly, after such a high intensity ending to the main game. All of them were awesome in theory but we're just too short and easy to have been truly satisfying. After that last one a final free DLC was released providing 6 remastered AR mapS from previous Arkham games. The achievements for this last DLC are extremely challenging but as a huge fan of the game, I'm loving every stressful moment of trying to unlock them. These brought the game to an even 2000G and I'm looking forward to finally having this full completion.
I think this covers it all. People have had lots of mixed feelings about this game. Especially PC players. But personally, I think it is the perfect send off to a great series. It is true to the nature of Batman as a character, rich with depth, lore and things to do, and I give it a solid 9.5/10. I look forward to whatever Rocksteady does next.