You know, I haven't been terribly excited for Batman: Arkham Knight what with all of the other releases that are on the way in 2015. Bloodborne and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are two games that are constantly on my mind, and never mind all the other titles buzzing around in my head like Uncharted 4, Halo 5, Star Wars: Battlefront and The Witcher 3. I blame the disappointing Batman: Arkham Origins.
But as of late, I have this bizarre yearning to break out that cape again, even on Batman: Arkham City. I think if I hold off on that desire until Arkham Knight's release date on June 2nd I'll be dying to play it, but these gameplay and story updates from a German magazine just made the wait far more arduous.
New Gameplay & Plot Details in PC Demo - Minor Spoilers
PC Games Hardware in Germany, were lucky enough to get their hands on a PC demo of Rocksteady's and Warner Brother's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. Hey, I live in Germany, why couldn't I get in on this?!
In any case, the company were able to test the upcoming title on a Geforce GTX 980 and were delighted to say that the final instalment in the trilogy was, in their own translated words, "a game for connoisseurs". To start with they described the remarkable rain effects that drenched Gotham and even how the droplets ran down Batman's mask and fell through the gaps for his eyes. This water adapted and moved depending on the surface it ran over. This game will be beautiful.
Chief Designer on Batman: Arkham Knight, Sefton Hill, is a renowned Batman lover. He apparently states that he finds himself quoting the comic books in mid-conversation and he has ensured that Arkham Knight is infused with the love he shares for the DC Comic universe. Batman fans can be sure to have their fill.
This newly designed Gotham is based on the traditional design of the city, with a splash of decadence and modernity sprinkled over its brooding atmosphere. The degree of verticality though was said to be completely new. Never before had they been able to scale so high and then dive off a building to swoop down beneath a bridge, call the batmobile and then jump into it only to speed off down the streets.
They also said that the sound design was spectacular. To come back to the rain once more, the sound of it falling and hitting surfaces actually depends on the material it hits, whether that be wood, concrete or glass. Now I'm getting very excited. The game features a real-time scanner which tracks Batman's movements, therefore adapting the sound effects around him to his position and even the way that his body is positioned.
In terms of the response time with the Batmobile, they noticed that it actually varies. If you happened to travel a great distance since the last time you used it, the car will take a little bit longer to arrive. But once it nears its position Batman performs a dive in slow-motion, lands beside the car and then hops in. We've seen this animation in the trailers, but apparently it took a seriously long time for the developers to get it right. Allegedly they've been working on optimising the design of the tumbler for over two years in order to accommodate their Batman.
Once inside the Batmobile, the level of destructibility can be rather immense. According to the site, once we break something in this world, be it a lamppost or a wall, it stays broken. This even transfers over to the thugs weaponry and gadgets like their cell phones. Looks like my Gotham city is going to be wrecked with the way I drive in games.
SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD FOLKS!
As we all know, Scarecrow is the mastermind behind Arkham Knight since the days of the Joker are long gone. Batman encounters him for the first time in a dream sequence that resembles our early encounters in Arkham Asylum. We find ourselves in a dream.
Batman meanders through a burning Gotham City, we see an enormous Scarecrow topple bridges and skyscrapers with a brush of his finger. Similarly to the other encounters, we run. As we finally get to the end of the level, Batman leaps into the Batmobile as an incredibly tense moment of escape ensues as we navigate the streets of Gotham as buildings collapse around us. This scene was apparently epic and gave you a real sense of how it would feel to fly through the city in this vehicle. And Rocksteady have always been able to give us that sense of presence.
With all of this in mind, PC Games Hardware couldn't have praised the limited hours they had with the game more. The visuals were stunning, the controls were responsive and satisfying, the batmobile didn't feel like it was half-heartedly attached to the game but was an integral element to the overall experience of Batman: Arkham Knight.
But most of all, they said that it had never felt this good to take control of the bat, and that Rocksteady have somehow managed to increase the quality of this game over the likes of Arkham City. Now, with his vehicle by his side, it looks like we're in for an explosive and immersive conclusion to Rocksteady's masterful Arkham series. Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on June 2nd for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.