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E3 2014: “Batman: Arkham Knight” Comes Rolling In

Chandler Kilgore-Parshall ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Rocksteady has returned to the E3 stage this year to present Batman: Arkham Knight, the final installment in the Arkham trilogy. From taking on the Caped Crusader’s staple enemies like Penguin and Scarecrow to gliding and driving through the darkness of Gotham in its final hour, players have a lot to look forwards to when they next become The Batman.

The trailer starts with Batman donning on his seemingly robotic and steel-clad suit and flying around Gotham City. The gliding mechanics from the previous title Arkham City still remain as smooth and fast as ever: Batman can pick up altitude and momentum with quick dives and pick-ups of his black cape without decreasing his airtime.

Back to the trailer, after gliding around the city, Batman plunges into the Batmobile and, with one powerful boost of ignition, the iconic vehicle takes off. For anybody who has seen Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, riding The Arkham Knight’s armored tank feels like Nolan’s own idealized version of the combat vehicle; invincible and destructive. Nothing can stand in his way. Street gangs and patrolmen leap out of the way when Batman comes rolling through the block.

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Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon) informs him that the titular villain Arkham Knight has employed unmanned tanks and turrets to roam the city. The Batmobile goes into Battle Mode, which allows him to operate non-lethal bullets and explosives to combat violent attackers. His sweet ride doesn’t move like a stiff tank either; it’s able to slide through street corners to dodge ballistic fire as well as scratches to the paint job. The Batmobile’s a welcome feature that invites players to feel dominant and untouchable.

Batman later catapults out of his vehicle to infiltrate a nearby building guarded by armed criminals; this is where the stealth comes in. While Arkham Asylum and Arkham City incorporated a gratifying and tactical stealth system, this new installment has added cinematic flair when Batman takes down his pursuers with Fear Takedowns. When the Dark Knight’s presence hasn’t been detected, players are able to incapacitate three targets in a fluid motion. In the trailer, Batman descends upon an enemy and kicks him into a wall while disarming two assailants.

It’s pretty satisfying when the last enemy cries out pleas of mercy before his face is smashed into the ground. At the end of the trailer, Batman begins interrogating The Penguin but the footage freezes. Fans of the original Arkham Asylum will know it was Scarecrow, the game’s main antagonist. He inquires about Batman as a vigilante: “How many more bones would you crush? How many lives will you destroy in pursuit of what you call justice? You are the product of everything you fear: violence, darkness, helplessness.” With a city in ruins, Penguin, Scarecrow and a handful of signature villains on the loose, as well as the mysterious Arkham Knight sending in an army of militant insurgents, this could be Batman’s biggest challenge yet.

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The E3 presentation of Batman: Arkham Knight proved that the series that Rocksteady Studios has given so much love and attention to is still here. The masterful combat and stealth has become cinematic and more interactive, while adding new and exciting features like the Batmobile makes players feel like they’re truly donning the cape and cowl. To add even more excitement, Sony just announced that additional, PS4-exclusive content in the form of Scarecrow Nightmare missions will be available in some version of the game – though when and where fans can buy this version is still unclear. Get hype, Bat-fans. This is the game you have being waiting for!

Batman: Arkham Knight was delayed to 2015 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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