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E3 2014: Batman Arkham Knight (Hands On)

 Na Na Na Na Na Na Batmobile!

While Rocksteady’s announcement of the Batman: Arkham Knight delay was one of 2014’s biggest bummers; after E3 2014 it became one of 2015’s biggest bright spots. All we can say now is “Rocksteady, you take all the time you need.” Especially if that means we get more of what you showed us this week.

Our behind closed doors session started with a hostage rescue at ACE Chemicals. What I immediately noticed is how seamless the game goes from cut scene to gameplay. Batman sets up one of his new tracking batarangs to locate the ID signals on the hostages and proceeds to two of the five trapped within the plant. In order to get past a few obstacles he’ll need assistance in the form of the new Batmobile. We saw both battle and pursuit modes his car can utilize with the push of a button. Each has their own unique purpose during gameplay. He can even control the Batmobile by remote control like a good Batman should. Towards the end of the demo we saw just how the car could be utilized as a combat partner when you encounter large groups of enemies. Rocksteady included special take downs that could be done to heavier armored enemies. There was just something majestic about the Batmobile firing a non-lethal projectile to knock an enemy into Batman’s street fighter-like finishing uppercut.

When the Batmobile was first announced as being a part of the game, I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. Part of the Arkham series charm is being able to soar through the night skies of Gotham. When you put Batman in a car you run the risk of taking away such a fun element of the game. Not only did Rocksteady put my fears to rest they made both experiences one in the same. The car isn’t just a way for Batman to get around, it’s the modern day equivalent of the 60’s Adam West utility belt. It feels like it has something for every situation.
You’ll use this Batmobile for altering the damaged parts of the city to solve puzzles and build an exit where one doesn’t exist (it’s got some firepower). Perhaps the most interesting use of the Batmobile is ejecting from the car. Batman is sent soaring into the sky and you can also do the exact opposite and drop from a Gotham high-rise right into the cockpit. It’s as breathtaking an action as a Jim Lee drawing. In the pantheon of Batmobiles in history, Rocksteady has built one that ranks right up there with the most iconic.

Arkham Knight adds new elements to a proven recipe and presented it on an even more gorgeous platter. The end result is something that feels better than anything we’ve ever played before. No need to shed any delay tears, Rocksteady hasn’t let gamers down yet and I see no reason not to trust them now. Take all the time you need!