Even if you’re a ninja billionaire with a massive underground cave, diving into a beefy title like Batman: Arkham Knight can be daunting. Think of Kotaku as your Alfred, delivering helpful info to your pointy ears. Read our tips, Master Bruce, and woe betide anyone who stands in your way.
As the third game in developer Rocksteady Studios’ long-running superhero series, Batman: Arkham Knight comes laden with a ton of new and old gameplay mechanics. Players will have lots of new gadgets, martial arts moves and plot points to keep up with. Consult the list of ideas to make the most of the Dark Knight’s latest video game outing.
The newest Batman game caps off a trilogy that started way back in 2009 with Arkham Asylum. (Arkham Origins doesn’t count as it was a prequel made by a different studio.) Even if you’ve played Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, you may not remember every detail or secondary character that moves through the plot. Hit up a wiki and re-familiarize yourself with the plots of the preceding games. No shame in that. Not everyone has time to replay that stuff!
Arkham Knight is a super-detailed game but it’s also a very dark one. In your rush to play, don’t forget to adjust your brightness settings. Doing so will make a big difference in what you’re able to pick out in the environment, which can be crucial when navigating in stealth or combat. You’ll also want to toggle subtitles on, so you don’t miss the best bits of dialogue.
It doesn’t handle like a normal video game car. Buttons that you expect to do things like braking actually launch weapons. It’s a good idea to run through the Batmobile tutorials that teach you how to use the Dark Knight’s ride a few times to get a feel for the car/tank hybrid.
Sometimes, you’ll need to remotely control Batman’s car so he can use its weapons or tools to get out of a tight spot. But figuring out exactly where you need to go can be a nuisance. One clue: if you see ramps or big movable platforms, you’re probably looking at an area that the Batmobile needs to get to.
Whenever you can, scan the throngs of soldiers before you engage them and identify the Medics. They can revive downed enemies multiple times until you take them out. Getting them out of the picture will make your life easier. And, hey, there’s a Waynetech Gadget Tech upgrade that instantly incapacitates Medics if they try to revive their buddies. So look into that.
Arkham Knight introduces a new sort of takedown that lets you startle and knock out as many as five enemies in one chained QTE when fully upgraded. Seeing as how there are more bad guys roaming Gotham than ever before, it’s a good idea to master and max out the Fear takedown early and use it often.
This is one of those moves that you’ve subconsciously wanted in a Batman game for years without knowing it. It lets you flow right into a takedown (or Fear Multi-Takedown if you have the option) right from grapple traversal. No more hanging from a ledge waiting for a guy to get into position.
It’s a Batman game. The bad guys are going to have guns and you’re probably not going to be able to dodge every bullet. Amp up the armor of Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting gear and you’ll have a little less to worry about.
Dodging is the forgotten secret weapon in the Arkham games’ combat system. Striking and countering are great but if you flub the latter, your combo string breaks and you get less XP at the end of a fight. Evading attacks keeps combos going and is far more forgiving than nailing counters. Bigger combos mean bigger XP rewards and faster upgrades. Make Batman happy and dodge your brooding behind off.
That’s good news and bad news. Like in Arkham Origins, Batman will come upon locations where he’ll have to piece together a chain of occurrences to figure out what happened. There’s still a connect-the-dots feel to these moments but the clues now flow along multiple vectors, including a tissue scanner that ferrets out clues from the skin, muscle and bone of dead bodies. This makes the crime-solving feel a bit more challenging than before, giving a nice nod to the Dark Knight’s moniker of World’s Greatest Detective.
The big gun on the Bat-tank is the only real weapon against armored enemy tanks. But it takes a while to reload when you start up the game. Go to the Batmobile Weapons category in the upgrade menu and improve the reload time as soon as you’ve got the points to do so. You’re going to be fighting a lot of tanks during your time in Gotham and this upgrade will help a ton.
The Batmobile has a two-tiered energy system, which sends power to secondary weapons for every drone tank you take down. These secondary weapons are the heavy-duty offensive options: missiles that do one-hit kills, viruses that turn enemy tanks against each other, that kind of thing. Amping up the Energy Absorption Efficiency skill lets you use these super-attacks more often. So get on that.
Aside from the Batmobile, Arkham Knight’s other big new feature is Dual Play, which lets players switch between the Dark Knight and his allies. Aside from the first battle when the feature is introduced, you’re almost never forced to play as Nightwing, Robin or Catwoman. But do take the opportunity to jump into another Bat-ally’s body, since it keeps combo strings going and offers up a different look to the beatdowns you’ll be handing out.
A fair chunk of players will want to plow straight through the game’s story missions to see how the drama between the Arkham Knight and the Batman ends. But you only get Batman: Arkham Knight’s full ending if you complete 100% of the game. (Yes, that includes those annoying-ass Riddler missions.) So you should hit the sidequests as soon as they open up, especially since many are a good source of upgrade points. Some start appearing when you get new gear, like the missions that have you shut down the Penguin’s weapons caches after getting the Disruptor or getting tasked to shut down enemy watchtowers after getting the Remote Hacking Device. Seems like it’ll take a fair chunk of time doing it all but most of the work should be pretty dang fun.
Got the game already? Have some Bat-hints of your own to share? Sound off in the comments below.