Every year, there are dozens of amazing games that come out, and while I can’t play them all, I do manage to get through a few of them. One of 2015’s games that stood out to me most, was Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham Knight. Of course, I am talking about the console version, as those on PC may instantly disagree with me, and rightly so.
Winner: Batman Arkham Knight for me was a pleasure to play, for the most part. While the game puts a heavy emphasis on the use of the Batmobile, players either loved it or hated it. It became the subject of debate which still gets mentioned. Driving at speeds around Gotham, while entering tank mode to take on a stupid number of remote controlled tanks can become wearing at times. Then when it’s time to upgrade the Batmobile with new tech and gear, the transformation cutscenes can seem overly unrealistic, but being Batman with an unlimited budget and tech at hand, you just have to accept it for what it is.
I won’t bother going into detail about the PC port, as we’re all well aware of its issues, and I’m here to talk about why I liked Batman Arkham Knight. From the get go, the attention to detail on Batman in the main menu, as well as the opening cinematic just set the tone perfectly. Once I got controller of the caped crusader, I was gliding and grappling all over Gotham, all while feeling powerful and broody. Within minutes I was introduced to the Batmobile and the game’s new gameplay elements, and from there, I had 10s of hours of fantastic gaming moments and story twists to savour.
Batman Arkham Knight is definitely one of the best looking games on modern consoles. Seeing the glow of Batman’s holographic projector when talking to Commissioner Gordon or any of his supporting cast on his suit and in his eyes is breathtaking. The close ups never fail to impress, and the selection of armour sets that come with the controversial season pass* are all gorgeous and highly detailed.
Once the game is complete, you can take advantage of the New Game+ option which starts in an unexpected fashion which I won’t spoil, and there are the usual Batman Arkham staples such as the challenge rooms and additional Arkham episodes which can be purchased separately, letting you play as Catwoman, Robin, Nightwing and more. The game is littered with collectibles and stuff to see and do, although I can’t quite find myself excited by the number of Batmobile race events that are on offer. Aside from those, if you just want to follow the main story and the numerable sidequests on offer, Batman Arkham Knight offers you a hefty chunk of game, and still has more to come this week with its final DLC offering.
* It would be wrong of me to talk about Arkham Knight without mentioning the Season Pass. While it was revealed as being expensive at $40, Rocksteady have included a lot of extra content with it. Whether you feel the additional content is worth the money is up to the individual, but without it, the game still has a lot to offer, and these extra missions with other characters just give you more reasons to turn the game on and have a bit more fun in the city.
Runner Up: Let me just say first that I haven’t played The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V, Bloodborne, Splatoon and other big titles of 2015, but I have played a few, including Fallout 4, Rainbow Six and Star Wars Battlefront. My choice for runner up however is Forza Motorsport 6 on the Xbox One.
I’ve been a fan of Forza since Forza 2 on the Xbox 360, and with every release (bar Forza 5), the series has just gotten stronger and stronger. Even the spin off series of Forza Horizon has built a strong foundation of its own, but it’s the closed circuit racing version that I have more of a fondness for, and this year’s release has been mind-blowing. The game featured more than 450 cars at launch, a tonne of new tracks and environments to race around, and each vehicle in the game came equipped with its own 2 minute Forza Vista walkthrough, with a narrated guide to the car, showing its inner workings and telling you about the manufacturer’s history. Gorgeous to look at, a joy to play, and loads of ways to play as well, it’s a must own game for driving fans on the Xbox One. I reviewed it earlier in the year, which you can read here.