If Batman: Arkham Knight Was Good

Two years after it came out I'm still sore from the crushing disappointment that was Batman: Arkham Knight. After one awesome game with Asylum, one of my favorite games of all time with City and a decent prequel with Origins I don't know why I expected a game to live up to that kind of legacy. It was a Dark Knight Rises situation all over again; how can they possibly follow up The Dark Knight with anything that could match it? Well, Rocksteady Studios unfortunately didn't and I'm still plenty butthurt over it. Therefore, in order to cleanse my own soul, and hopefully give similar catharsis to like-minded individuals, I'm going to go over my version on the Arkham Knight.

Main Story
First of all: no tanks. Tanks are boring.

We start out with the diner scene like in the original (because that was the only indisputably well-done element of the original game), except Scarecrow doesn't announce it to the whole world. Batman is brought on the scene and he discovers a shattered vapor pipe. After scanning it, and discovering that the owner of the pipe was a grown-up Anarchy from Origins, he begins to inspect the contents. It's actually Scarecrow's fear toxin, except it's been spiked with some unfamiliar substance. Taking the sample back to the Batcave for analysis (you have to use the Batmobile to get to the cave, but it's optional for the rest of the game), he discovers that this drug has been distributed by the Penguin over the past several months. It's a highly addictive substance and by all accounts shouldn't actually be able to bond with Scarecrow's fear toxin due to the natural chemicals which reject one another. Since Batman and Robin have no other leads to Scarecrow's location they manage to track down the Penguin. Yup, you can play as both Batman and Robin throughout the main story because Batman needs a Robin. You locate Penguin by interrogating one of his thugs and that leads you under the Gotham sewers where Penguin is overseeing the making of his product. You attack and pin down the Penguin and ask him where Scarecrow is. However, Penguin doesn't know; he just gets money wired to his account and drops off a crate of the stuff on a Gotham street corner, different one each time. He tells you the last one he used and Robin goes off to investigate while Batman tells Oracle to track the account that wires to Penguin. You then ask him why he's helping Scarecrow and he merely responds because he gets paid. There's a boss fight with Azrael, as Penguin seems to have him under some kind of trance. Batman literally knocks Azrael out of his crazed state, but Penguin has already escaped. Azrael once again repeats his prophecy to Batman: that the fire of his anger with consume him and he will burn along with Gotham City. He goes off into the night, adding that he will do everything he can to protect Gotham this evening.

Robin calls you to let you know that he has found a trail of tire treads that lead to a mansion in Chinatown. You have to track down Penguin first, however, so you make a city-wide scan for high concentrations of Penguin's drug, since you're sure he's off to protect his stash. On your way there Oracle informs you that nothing could be found about the account that wires Penguin the money. It seems to have been terminated just recently, like just 10 mins ago recently. You find Penguin's stash and you beat up his thugs and knock out Penguin. You call Commissioner Gordon to A) Pick him up and B) Meet him at the location Robin had sent him. From here, you're free to take as long as you'd like to explore the city and do side missions before you go and meet Robin. When you finally do meet Robin at the Chinatown mansion, you, as Batman and Robin, must make your way through the guards to the basement, which has been turned into a makeshift laboratory. In hiding you see that it's being controlled by Black Mask, Poison Ivy being kept in a makeshift prison cell. The Dynamic Due spring into action and Black Mask forces Poison Ivy to attack them, making for a two-way boss fight between Black Mask and Poison Ivy. Your objective is to break Ivy's bonds that control her. Once you do Ivy kills Black Mask. She explains that she was being forced to bond Penguin's drug and Scarecrow's toxin into one, something that isn't naturally possible. She tries to kill both of you, but you subdue her and take her to GCPD yourself. Like in the original game, GCPD is full of Easter-eggs and interesting MPC conversations, but it's also more useful when it comes to side-missions, something we'll discuss later.

With no other leads, Batman scans the city with those scanning towers that were in the original to find traces of Scarecrow's toxin and, hopefully, Scarecrow. Though he doesn't detect any large amounts of it, he does detect several small pockets of it, which he deduces must me that Scarecrow is selling it as a street drug. You go out into Gotham City during the day as Bruce Wayne and discover that this drug is being sold to the higher class by sellers at parties. He also observes that they're performing some kind of hypnotism on them with a special word. At night, once again as Batman and Robin, you interrogate the dealers on the streets, who tell you that they hypnotize them so that the users won't go crazy from Scarecrow's toxin until they want them to. They slip that they were taught by the Mad Hatter, but before he can give up the location, he begins to choke himself to death. The Mad Hatter hacks into their comlinks and says he wants to play a game with them. He will give them two locations; one has him, the other has a group of people he's hypnotized to kill themselves at a certain time. Tick-tock. You and Robin split up to get to both of them. You arrive at a seemingly empty chemical laboratory, when the room is suddenly flooded with the Scarecrow's poison. The toxin assaulting his mind combined with the MadHatter's hypnotism are too much and it breaks Batman's mind, symbolized by Joker shooting him in the face. Yes, I'm keeping this in the plot because it was the only other indisputably good part of the narrative.

You, as Batman, are now concerned with repairing your mind, rooting through your memories from oldest to most recent while fighting off Mad Hatter's hypnotism. In your most recent memories you see Batman being informed by Gordon that Joker's blood, while the poison was cured, had some unforeseen consequences in some of the patients; they began to show Joker-esq mannerisms, maiming doctors and themselves, talking nonsense and having an obsession with Batman. We see Bruce Wayne performing tests on himself and looking in the mirror with a crazed smile. You finally defeat the Mad Hatter, but he refuses to tell him where Scarecrow is or who has set all the villains up to this insane plan. You knock him out and scan the insignia on a guard's uniform. You send the symbol to Oracle and she tells you about the affiliated Arkham Knight. You take his communication card and use it to listen in on the Arkham Knight militia communications. You hear the Arkham Knight telling his men to increase security around City Hall. Batman and Robin head there, only to find Mr. Freeze and a group of ninjas holding everybody there hostage. This is leads to a tense predator section where you need to use Batman and Robin's unique skills to simultaneously take down your enemies and keep them from killing the hostages. Once you secure everybody's safety you hear the Arkham Knight talk to you through the comlinks; he set that up as a test, to see if you were listening.

With no other leads about the Arkham Knight, your best bet is to go back to the laboratory and look for clues. Batman tells Robin not to come along and instead go back to the Batcave. This is shown to be Joker whispering in Batman's ear, playing on his pride and fear of losing those he cares about. You go back to the lab and find some crates that came from ACE Chemicals and accesses the building via the sewers, stealthily picking off Arkham Knight henchmen along the way, of course. The entire felicity has been overrun by Scarecrow's thugs, so predator missions will take up a lot of your time, with ground combat sprinkled in. You fight your way to Scarecrow's lab and pin him down. You demand to know where the Arkham Knight is when the Knight himself pops out and a fight ensues amongst a giant cloud of fear gas. This leads to some trippy as hell visuals, with Batman thinking he's fighting everybody from his parents, to the Joker, to Alfred, to all three Robins, to Oracle and even Superman. You're actually defeated by the Arkham Knight and Batman is left to die.

He wakes up in the Batcave, the Bat-Family crowded around him. Robin and Nightwing beg him to let them help with something, anything in the field. Joker plays on Batman's broken pride and fear again and he angrily pushes them away. He furiously goes off in the Batmobile as Joker applauds him in his head, encouraging his anger. Batman had put a tracking device on Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight. He tracks them both to a janitorial closet in Wayne Tower, along with Scarecrow's dead body, with a sword shoved into his chest. He scans the corpse and finds three things: 1) The sword is composed of a metal that is usually used in the League of Assassins, 2) Whoever put this body in Wayne tower must know Batman's secret identity and 3)Scarecrow's body is covered in chemicals used by Stag Industries, who happen to have their headquarters in a blimp above Gotham.

You make your way to the blimp, freeing hostages and trying to find the Arkham Knight. You eventually find Stag and the Arkham Knight, Stag being held in one of his own experimental chambers and being tortured by the Knight. You discover the Knight has been training large amounts of ninjas and soldiers in martial arts and military tactics. Batman ponders who this could possibly be until you discover a Lazarus pit on the airship. Guards and ninjas burst into the chamber to kill you; this ignites a predator section. You defeat all the henchmen and go after the Arkham Knight in the cockpit of the blimp. You're too late, though; Scarecrow has activated the keyword through the Gotham City radio and now almost all of Gotham has gone nuts from the Scarecrow toxin. The Knight takes this opportunity to unmask and reveal himself; it's Damien Wayne. He explains who he is and how he needed somebody to pay for his mother's murder in Arkham City. Since the Joker was dead, he decided everybody in Gotham would do. Damien manages an explosive escape and Joker twists the knife even further by saying he failed to save Gotham from his own son the same way he couldn't protect his parents from that mugger.

Batman wants to go after Damien, but the Batfamily all pressure him to figure out a way to cure the city first. He goes to talk to Poison Ivy and demands to know if she can fix this. She refuses to help and Batman is forced to kill some plants so that she will help. She says that there's an old tree whose pollen can counteract the toxin. If she can get to it they can stop this madness. You get her to the tree and must defend it from henchmen planting bombs around it. You difuse the bombs with the Batmobile virus thing. The pollen is dispersed and the city is calm again. Ivy informs you that she can't leave the tree now that it relies on her for strength. She is now one with nature and she's happy.

You get a call from Nightwing that they've found Damien in the old theater. Batman insists that he take on Damien alone, since it's his son, though we can see that it's just Joker playing with him. You confront Damien in the theater, where Talia died. You tell Damien that he tried to save her, but Joker was too crafty. Damien says he doesn't care if you tried to save her; Damien calls bullshit and an intense hand-to-hand fight ensues. The twist is that now Batman's body has been completely taken over by the Joker and he nearly beats Damien to death before Robin and Nightwing burst in and restrain him. In Batman's head we see that Joker has dominated his mind, but Batman begins to fight back with the help of the Batfamily. Joker is locked away in Batman's mind and defeated and in the real world Batman, Robin and Nightwing fight Damien together. Once they have him down, though, he gets one last shot off at Robin. Batman takes the bullet while Nightwing knocks out Damien. Batman spills his heart out, telling Nightwing, Robin and Oracle over the comlink that he's very proud of all of them and to keep defending Gotham after he's gone. He dies.

We see a montage of the following events: Damien is taken to prison, Batman's funeral is attended by the Batfamily and even a few Justice League characters, Barbara and Tim get married and Dick Grayson takes on the role of Batman. He stares over the city from atop Wayne tower, watching over the people who are his responsibility now. From there you are free to roam as you please.

Side Missions
Riddler: We're doing away with the standard Riddler side-mission of going around collecting trophies and solving riddles. It's gotten a little boring. Instead, the Riddler has Catwoman held captie and challenges you (Batman) to a game of wits. He has set up a string of riddles attached to a series of Riddler trophies. You must follow the chain of clues to a puzzle that you must solve within a time limit or Catwoman dies. Once the puzzle is solved, Batman gets a riddle that doubles as a clue. These clues lead him to several old murder sights and secret rooms throughout the city. The final clue is to an owl statue in the middle of Gotham City Park where you're attacked by an owl themed assassin. This will be one hell of a fight. You'll be made to work for it. Once the assassin is defeated, or at least has run off, Batman deduces that the fabled Court of Owls, which he had investigated in his childhood, is real. He triangluates the locations of the murder sites and abandoned rooms and finds and apartment of the owl he defeated. It blows up, but not before you find a map of the Gotham sewers that leads you to the Court's layer. After going through a maze, in which you will experience nightmarish visions, you defeat the court hierarchy and find Riddler in another room. Riddler finally admits that Batman is his intellectual superior, lamenting about all the years wasted chasing after his pride. "The game ends here, Mr. Wayne," Riddler says. He then shoots himself and dies. Batman finds an elevator and takes it to the surface. He then calls Gordon and tells him where to find the Court of Owls. You then go to save Catwoman, only to find that she escaped her bonds. They have their sexual banter, though Batman ultimately denies her advances. End.

Random Crime: From the very beginning Gotham City will be full of civilian MPC's, some of whom will be attacked by a mugger every once and awhile. You only have a limited time to save the person being attacked before the assailant ultimately gets away and you can't do anything about it.

Red Hood: You find an entire family murdered in an apartment. You discover through forensics investigation that the father used to be a henchman for the Joker, but quit crime when the Joker died. You find a bullet casing that belongs to a military grade pistol. It was fired only once and the rest of the killing was done with the assailant's bare hands. You find no fingerprints, which means whoever killed these people is a professional. He tells Gordon to let him know if anybody with previous ties to the Joker are killed. A call comes in from GCPD that gunshots were heard around the residence of a former Joker henchman. You gets there in time to spot the murderer dressed in a red hood. You give chase, though you can't catch up to him. However, you pick up the trail from a dirt sample on his boot. You track him to the apartment of the former Robin, Jason Todd. The Red Hood corners you there and a close-corner fight ensues. You knock off the helmet revealing Jason Todd. In Batman's astonishment he gets knocked down by Jason and allows him to escape. Now you simply wait for another opportunity. Jason breaks into the Batcave and demands that Batman meet him there. Once you get there, you see Jason has Barbara at gunpoint. He damands that Batman shoot him, that he cross the line so that what happened to Jason won't happen to anybody else. You are given the option to shoot him, throw the gun at his head and tackling him while he's distracted or dropping the gun. If you shoot him, Barbara will be horrified and refuse to speak to you for the rest of the game. If you choose to throw the gun, you have to time it perfectly, so that he doesn't get the chance to shoot either you or Barb. If you choose to drop the gun, Jason will shoot at you. You need to press the counter button at the right time and Batman will throw a Batarang into the gun, causing it to explode and damage Jason's hand. You knock him out and keep him in a cell in the Batcave. End.

Two-Face's Coin: There's been a break-in at the Gotham Merchant's Bank. You investigate the scene and realize that Two-Face's famous coin is missing. After being rehabilitated and having his face be restored, Two-Face donated his coin to be put on display at the bank. Some time later, a body is found outside the hospital where Dent was treated. You investigate and find that not only was it sawed in half right down the middle, it's been burnt to a crisp. The DNA scans show that one half is Dent's plastic surgeon and the other is his psychologist. Later, a message goes out to Gotham from Dent that he's going to blow up the twin Gotham towers unless he's payed $22 million. From there, you play through the same beats as this scene in The Dark Knight Returns. Once he's defeated and unmasked, Two Face is taken to GCPD. End.

Keep the Hush side-mission. That was actually pretty cool.

DLC (I promise this would be well worth a $50 season pass)

Catwoman: If you have DLC, you can go around Gotham as Catwoman once you've freed her as Batman. You have your own missions where you can steal from other villains and you can even save people if you want to.

Jason Todd: You play as Jason after Joker tortured him. He's thrown down a well in Arkham Asylum, but he wakes up and begins to make his way out of the hellish institution. This will most likely be very difficult; you can only pick up guns from enemies you defeat, you have limited ammo, it's not smart to use them because it will attract enemies with the noise and you have no gadgets, not even Detective Vision. As you escape the asylum, we get a look into Todd's heavily damaged psyche, as you're tormented by visions of the Joker and Batman. By the time you escape the Asylum, Jason has made up his mind to test Batman and force him to break his rule.

Bludhaven: You play as Nightwing as he solves a murder mystery. You eventually find it leads back to Deathstroke, there's a few Teen Titans references thrown out during a big fight and that's the end.

With the inclusion of DLC all playable characters you can free roam with are Batman, Catwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Red Hood and Azrael. A variety of skins will be supplied for each of them including the Batman suit that Azrael wore for the Nightfall storyline in the comics.

So, what do you think? You think this was better? Worse? Let me know!

Comments

  1. All I'm saying is I want a Batgirl DLC too. Obviously no free-roam as her, but maybe a DLC with a larger area than "A Matter of Family" had.

    ReplyDelete

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