The Weekend Hangover: Batman: Arkham Knight


The Weekend Hangover is our Monday rumination of the games or game we played over the weekend. Sometimes there is alcohol involved in the hangover we’re nursing, but most other times there’s just too much gaming.

If there’s anything most of my Steam friends know about me, it’s that I’ve put in way too many hours into Batman: Arkham Knight, the 2015 swan song to Rocksteady Studios critically acclaimed run on the Caped Crusader.

The open world Dark Knight simulator has a place in my library as my go-to relaxation game, with its low skill bar that gives you a dozen tools to solve any combat or stealth situation and a high skill ceiling for mastery. Even over a hundred hours later, I’ve yet to pull off some of the meanest combat feats or place top rank on some of the tougher AR challenges.

And while there are more novel amusements to be had in Watch_Dogs and deeper secrets to be found in Assassin’s Creed, its really the writing that elevates Arkham Knight from mere licensed game to a game that actually has something to say about Batman. It blends the muscular philosophizing of the Nolan movies with the psychological probing of some of the best comics.

And it’s a shame that despite review scores and record-breaking sales, Arkham Knight feels like a 2015 footnote. The fact that games like Rocket League, Metal Gear Solid V and Fallout 4 became the most talked about titles in the months to follow probably helped push it into conversational obscurity.

Making matters worse was the game’s ignoble fate on PC, which featured such erratic performance it eventually got pulled from Steam. Weeks later, WB Games offered unconditional refunds to PC users. The newly introduced Batmobile was also polarizing for many. Mainstream press outlets were also forbidden from discussing the game’s story, ensuring no legs in the press cycle would be had from post-launch discussions of its twists and turns.

Three years later, the game remains a stunning accomplishment. The sound and graphics achieve a level of heightened photorealism and environmental detail that’s beyond comparable. The game’s mechanics are stunningly varied yet effortlessly sleek. And it’s possibly the most definitive statement on the relationship between Batman and his staunchest adversaries.