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A Roguelike Gallery: Batman - Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight [official site] won’t be released until June but I already feel like I’m involved in a turbulent relationship with Rocksteady’s latest. After the disappointment of Arkham’s Oranges, I was relieved to hear the makers of Asylum and City were back on the case. That relief was soon replaced by doubt – much as I liked City, I felt it went too big and the addition of the Batmobile seems like it’ll steer the game even further away from the original’s tight design. The Batmobile trailer seemed to confirm my worst fears, like one of Scarecrow’s guffs, but now there’s another trailer. And I’m happy. Happier. Conflicted.

I might end up filing divorce papers before the bloody thing has been released.

If you were to wander into Rocksteady’s offices and politely suggest that “less is more”, six hundred supervillains would immediately jump out of an exploding filing cabinet and duff you up. “More is more”, they’d say as they dragged you across the city, occasionally stopping to create random scenes of chaos or to perform elaborate obstacle-based time trials.

When the trailer hit the internet a couple of days ago (yes, I spent 48 hours thinking about Batman before deciding this was worth posting – I’m a rubbish nerd) my Twitter feed exploded with cries of “TOO MANY VILLAINS”, which I interpret as cries of “TOO MANY BOSS FIGHTS”. I’d prefer a Batman game that focused on two villains with lots of screentime but I think the action-focused Arkham games suit the type of story that traps Batman in a room/building/city with everyone who has ever wanted to punch him. I’d love a World’s Greatest Detective game that concentrated on crime-solving and investigations, but the Arkham mould is No Man’s Land – isolation and action in a compressed timeframe.

In fact, the Arkham games remind me of 24. Every day is the worst day ever, as the odds against the protagonist pile up, and there’s no time to have a nap or do a wee (the batsuit almost certainly has internal waste disposal pockets). I predict the Arkham Knight will reveal that he has some connection to Wayne’s past mid-way through the game and his extreme methods will force one or more villains to team up with Bats. Uneasy alliances, sleeping with the enemy and Mad Hatter riding shotgun in the Batmobile.

Current mood: intrigued.

Relationship status: grudgingly willing to give it another shot. Expecting some electricity and occasional awkward silences interrupted by exploding tanks.

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