In defense of the Batmobile. A look back at one of Arkham Knight's best features.

It’s been five years since Rocksteady wrapped up the Batman series that began in Arkham Asylum, continued into Arkham City, took a brief pre-tour with another developer for Arkham Origins, and then crescendoed in Arkham Knight.  One of the finale’s most prominent features was also its most divisive: the Batmobile.  If you ask someone their opinion of Arkham Knight, you’re likely to also get their opinion of the Batmobile.  “Great game, but the Batmobile stuff sucked,” will be a common refrain.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you for this, Tom. I’ve had Arkham Knight near the top of my pile for a while and was thinking I might install it next. I think this will help me enjoy it more.

And now that I think about it, I might even go so far to say that this type of article – “Here’s how to appreciate something you might have overlooked or written off…” – might be the highest form of games journalism.

I hated the batmobile parts for another reason, they stole resources away from the better parts of the previous games, the metroidvania parts. Which were very sparse in Arkham Knight, and almost insultingly easy.

The game remains my least favorite on the series. :)

And yep I got all the riddler trophies in every game in the series.

@straight, you can also listen to Tom, Jason McMaster, and Brandon Cackowski-Schnell talk about the game here.

Yes, I too collected all the Riddler trophies in all three games. I have to, I can’t leave those things out there cluttering Gotham, my god! It would be like letting those hundred pigeons go free in Liberty City or all those damned glowing orbs just hang out there in Pacific City. Such a thing cannot be countenanced.

Nice article, Tom. Your words have caused my intrigue meter to spike. I have previously never given much of a thought to these Batman games. I do remember people being all up-in-arms about this game when it came out.

For some reason, I have never played any of these games in spite of being a huge fan of the comics, TV show and films. However, I vaguely remembered that I had bought one of them on a whim on sale long ago, so I headed over to Steam to see which one it was, and much to my surprise, I own all three of them. I have no clue how the hell that happened. I certainly didn’t purchase them all, and never acquired any in a giveaway or anything. They just apparently magically appeared.

I’m assuming I can play Arkham Knight first without playing the other two? I mean, I won’t be missing anything story-wise?

One of my issues with the videogame media is that it’s so forward looking. It’s so tapped into the hype and marketing – the business – of upcoming games. And yet, there’s still so much to talk about regarding the games that have come out. And so many things to consider as context changes and evolves. Rocksteady implemented so many cool ideas with the Batmobile, and I don’t know if I just can’t think of the other designers who followed suit, or if it just didn’t happen.

But, yeah, if I had my druthers – which I guess I kind of do? – I’d spend more time re-playing and writing about “old” games. I’ve been wanting to go back to Massive Chalice, Bioshock 2, and Bully, for instance.

Absolutely. Jump straight to Arkham Knight. In fact, I’d argue the other two are pretty much obsoleted by Arkham Knight. @lordkosc, you say Arkham Knight is your least favorite, but aren’t there elements of Arkham Knight that you’d miss if you were to go back to Arkham Asylum or Arkham City?

I actually didn’t play Arkham Origins. I wonder if that’s worth jumping into after an Arkham Knight playthrough.


@tomchick , the car stuff is just not needed, and makes Arkham Knight a worse game. I mean ugh the riddler race track stuff was horrible. HORRIBLE! I was ok with using the Batmobile as a puzzle solver , but them tank battles were just not fun.

I always suggest people give Origins a try, its not as polished as the games from Rocksteady but I think the setting (Christmas in Gotham before half of it is flooded) and the way the characters get revealed is fantastic. Also the Batwing used as a fast travel device is neat.

Oh and its got riddler trophies of a sort to collect also! ;)

@Giles_Habibula I’d play them in order of release, but that’s just me, I feel they still hold up well. (Asylum, City, Origins)

As far as I’m concerned, you could go all the back to the early 90’s (I started gaming in 1993), and that would suit me just fine. At least once in a while. I mean, I play mostly newer stuff, but I still love playing old favorites, and love talking about them. I also love hearing others talk about old games I never got around to playing.

Wait, there were 4? I had thought only 3.
[Goes back to check Steam library]
Holy shit. Apparently, I have 5 of them! There’s also one called Arkham Origins Blackgate - Deluxe Edition. Never even heard of that one. Must be some kind of remaster of Origins?

No thats a trash 2.5 D game that I gave up on after 4hrs. It follows after events of Arkham Origins, and it needed like a year of polish imho.

Ah, okay thanks. I totally lost track of things I guess.

Ugh this, this!!! I still have mental gamer scars from this final race in Arham Knight.

You made me look this up @tomchick !!! And its as bad as I remember!

Side note, all this talk also got me to remember how great the Arkham Knight Batwoman DLC was. I suggest everyone giving that a revisit. :)

You might be confused by a few things going on, specifically regarding the Joker, but you should be fine if you just roll with it.

This and the tank battles for me. Even playing them more or less how Tom describes, they dragged on too long, I didn’t enjoy them and they felt totally alien to the Arkham world.

This game’s great, and the Batmobile is great too. Thanks for writing this, Tom!

I’m upset for you just from watching that video. That sequence seems so videogamey and phoned in.

Could not agree more.

Which is a large part of the reason I’ve disengaged from it. Stuff like this is far more interesting to me.

Heck yes! We should be talking about “old” games a lot more than what’s not even out yet.

I think @lordkosc’s posts kind of rightly point out why those great ideas got drowned out. I also really admired the various ways they integrated the batmobile into the game. But I think it did get drowned out in people’s minds when they got stuck in tank mode fighting so many drones, or when they were stuck on The Riddler’s race trying to do a track over and over again. It’s a shame. And the truth is game designers across the industry have a mindshare the same way their fellow gamers do. A particularly good use of a certain feature can capture their imagination, even in a cult hit, but not if what they remember from the game is memories of getting repeatedly getting blown up by drones.

This I gotta read. I went all in for all the Riddler trophies in the first game, but there were too many for me in the second game, so I wasn’t even going to try in the 3rd game.

Games “journalism” is almost entirely sub-Buzzfeed trash that may as well be written by a bad AI or even more appropriately just be an autofeed of press releases from games publishers. I wonder if it’s an age thing, mostly. I mean, the two people whose writing I think is the best in the business, Tom and John Walker, are both pretty long in the tooth as far as people actively writing about videogames goes, right? I mean the only place I can even halfway tolerate is RPS and three quarters of their current writing staff appear to be Literal Children.