How Arkham Knight Evolves Batman’s Combat

As with many previous sections in Arkham games, this tale begins with Batman speaking to Commissioner Gordon, sizing up the latest threat to Gotham City. But there are two different things here: one, that enemy isn’t the Joker, and two, Batman enters the scene by ejecting from his Batmobile.

Those two things seem to be the main focus in Rocksteady’s third instalment into this series, with the titular character – the Arkham Knight – appearing as the main foe, but still working under Scarecrow’s command, and the Batmobile making its first appearance.

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As Batman and Gordon discuss the situation at hand, the Arkham Knight makes an explosive entrance, destroying the bridge to Ace Chemicals, where the Scarecrow is hiding out, working on a nuclear-sized fear toxin bomb. He turns his guns to Batman, who stares him down. There’s no use, Batman’s conquered all of his fear by this point, explains Scarecrow, telling the mysterious Knight to back down.

The situation is clear from this short set-up: Scarecrow’s in charge, but the Knight will stop at nothing to take Batman down.

But Batman is smarter. With a grapple hook, he can make his way into Ace Chemicals, sliding stylishly down a wall chute, and then taking on the first set of foes. Slow motion takedowns are a new, tactical approach to dispatching a small group of enemies, and throw stunning particle effects around as Batman methodically bashes in the skull of each goon around him, while they’re still shooting at his entry point.

Grappling is now sped up, so Batman can reach the top of buildings – and admire the distant, seemingly endless Gotham City – with ease. It’s a stunning game: beyond looking at the beautiful vistas, every chink in Batman’s armour is visible, and rainwater is reactive, with puddles splashing and our hero’s cape growing increasingly soggy.

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Atop the central building of the plant, Batman fires a Batarang, which now come with cameras equipped (lord knows how they work while spinning, but they do), and this points out the captured Ace Chemicals personnel on screen, highlighting them and letting you tackle the objective in any order.

It’s a good indication of the mission structure, and actually works very well, with Batman fighting his way to the first hostage. Smashing through a skylight, the freeflow combat is now even smoother, with environmental takedowns involving fuse boxes and hanging lights playing a big part in the fluidity of combat.

There’s another side to combat, though, and this comes in the next part. With a tap of a button, Batman can pull up a Batmobile remote, controlling the car and creating a makeshift ramp from the destroyed bridge, leaping into the vehicle as it flies across the gap. Things like clearing jumps are for Pursuit Mode, but Battle Mode is a whole different story.

It transforms the Batmobile into a tank-like vehicle, though one which moves around with ease. That makes for in-vehicle combat which can match the flow of the on-foot fighting. Of course, Batman isn’t a killer, so for anything other than unmanned tanks, he’ll use a non-lethal riot suppressor.

One thing to understand with Arkham Knight is that you should not see the Batmobile as a separate entity: these aren’t Batmobile-only sections, and Batman can eject (with momentum intact) straight into that beautifully crafted fighting system, taking down enemies within seconds of leaving his vehicle. There’s no parking for Batman, though strategical placement of his vehicle will help.

You see, when Batman’s finally confronted by the Arkham Knight, and all seems lost, the Batmobile remote comes into play again. Blowing a hole in the wall, Batman switches to riot suppressors, and takes out an enemy or two before they know what hits them.

And that’s not even the best part: here’s where the two forms of combat meet. As Batman unleashes devastating combos of attacks, he can finish an enemy by uppercutting him into a perfectly-timed riot suppressor round, fired from the Batmobile remotely, which knocks him out mid-air. It’s a wonderful, almost symbiotic relationship, which really takes that combat system to the next level.


While the combat system is undoubtedly going to be the most important feature of the game for many, the Arkham Knight is, in my opinion, the most interesting aspect of the game. We’ll discuss this fully with a further article, but his macho army commander persona mixed with his shrouded identity is an intriguing dynamic.

“We know how you think,” claims the mysterious figure, in a gruff voice, before suggesting that Batman’s thoughts revolve around the identity of the man inside the Arkham Knight costume, even when Batman states that the only thing on his mind is how he’s going to take them down. It’s clear that this is going to be a large aspect of the story, and it would be a truly exciting prospect to see Bruce Wayne meet his match.

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6 Comments

  1. Having become bored with the series, i have to admit the new game looks impressive and i like the idea that you can get out of batmobile, enter a building and exit the building out the other side and have the batmobile meet you there.

    • You became bored with the series?!!
      I think that’s such a shame.
      I will always happily go back to playing Arkham Asylum or Arkham City whenever I can’t decide what else to play.
      I think they’re both two of the best games ever and up there with the Metal Gear series and Final Fantasy games as the games that have defined my gaming history.
      I know Arkham Origins was more by the numbers but I still had more fun with that than a lot of games that came out that year.
      Still I’m glad this has made you more excited for the series, personally I can’t wait to play Arkham Knight!

  2. I think this looks amazing. I loved Asylum and City, but skipped Origins on the basis that it seemed to offer little progression – this looks set to change that quite spectacularly.

  3. Looks suitably ‘next-gen’ but I would refute their claim that the batmobile was only possible on next gen, I remember playing a PS1 game that you could drive around gotham city in it, and that only had 2MB of RAM for the whole system.

  4. The batmobile combat shown in the trailer reminds me of the hover-tank from Mass Effect 2. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I think Rocksteady has a better chance of pulling it off.

  5. This game looks superb, might have to preorder it, something I rarely do.

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