The 13 best moments from Batman: Arkham Knight
The third and final installment in Rocksteady’s trilogy, Batman: Arkham Knight, is the team’s magnum opus, filled to the brim with exciting encounters, incredible twists, and unending thrills.
Gameplay comes together with story, music, and cinematic direction to present the ultimate Batman power fantasy. Here then, are the game’s best moments, in no particular order.
This article obviously features heavy spoilers of the game’s entire plot. Turn back now if you haven’t finished the game. You have been warned.
Arkham Knight’s opening scenes
Yes, it was spoiled during Sony’s press conference, but this scene remains one of the game’s most powerful yet. It sets the stage nicely for the entire game, and shows up close what the fear toxin does, on a personal scale, before zooming out to show you the wider picture.
You also get to see Gothamites for the first time, which later makes their decision to flee en masse all the more believable. Certainly more believable than Arkham Origin’s “it’s Christmas and everyone is home” justification for empty streets.
The Joker’s cremation
We sat there, watching as the camera slowly moved away from Joker’s corpse, enjoying Frank Sinatra’s music and wondering when the cremation will actually start. Until we began pressing buttons on our controller and realise that we’re the ones who have to cremate him.
There’s an undeniable emotional weight to this scene. In essence, it gives us closure. The Joker is dead, we all – playing as Gordon – cremated him. There’s no coming back from that.
The Batsignal lights the sky… and the Batmobile rolls through Gotham
After the opening scene is over, a few key villains enjoy the new anarchy brought forth by Scarecrow’s toxin. For the next few minutes we get to see (and take control of) Batman for the first time as we head to GCPD to meet Gordon and officially start the game.
The game doesn’t take long to show you the latest toy, the Batmobile. “Press L1 to even the odds” was dumb, but it was the good kind of dumb, and I can’t help but feel it was done in jest.
It’s at this moment that you get into the mood of what it feels like playing those games; the ultimate Batman power fantasy.
Donning the new Batsuit
Batman has been wearing the same Batsuit he used in Arkham City all this time. But then something happens, and Batman requests a new suit from Fox. The new suit, called version 8.03, looks closer to military armour than any of Batman’s other attire. This look extends to the Batmobile too and overall fits the game’s general aesthetic.
As soon as it gets dropped in and Fox starts explaining the improvements, you know shit is about to get real.
The Joker’s unwelcome return
You’ve been playing Arkham Knight, assuming that you’re never seeing Joker again, but there he is, holding a gun to Batman’s head. Before you get a chance to process, Batman gets shot.
The game doesn’t even give you a chance to think about what you just saw, because the next scene is equally as striking…
Playing as Commissioner Gordon
Batman just got shot by the Joker and you don’t even know what to think. Now the game gives you control of Gordon. All that time you’re thinking “they couldn’t have killed Batman” before you uncover the other major sub-plot in the game; Joker’s blood.
The scene is later revealed to be a flashback taking place prior to the events of the game. That whole setup was executed exceptionally well and no part of it felt cheap.
The reveal of the perpetrator of the Gotham murders
I don’t know about you, but I expected the serial killer to be Hush. When it turned out to be Professor Pyg, one of the recent additions to the Batman universe, I was pleasantly surprised. This boss fight was smart and disturbing in equal measure.
It also helps that the voice actor playing him did a fantastic job making you hate him even more.
Batman getting imprisoned, and it wasn’t against his will
There was always a cell left empty at Batman’s little prison. You never knew why, but after the flashback you realised that Batman was leaving it for himself. When the moment came, Robin asked him to get in. And he did.
What followed was magical. Batman took off the cowl and accepted his fate. We kept looking for a way to free ourselves, before we realised that the whole thing was just in Batman’s head.
Imagine if Rocksteady pulled a Bungie and you played as Robin for the rest of the game, or at least for a good while until Batman freed himself. Alas, whether it was courage or ambition that Rocksteady lacked, that moment soared so high and came down so low.
The song and dance routine
Okay, this section had to have been the most fun we’ve seen with the Joker in the series. As you control Robin in the background trying to disarm a bomb, you’re treated to a fun song and dance by the Joker. It’s just Johnny Charisma of course, but Batman sees him as the Joker.
The song is called I Can’t Stop Laughing, and it recounts the many deaths Batman has faced. From his parents’ to Jokers’.
Gordon unmasking the Batman
Having been disappointed by how the Robin/prison cell moment turned out, I didn’t expect Batman’s alter ego to actually be revealed. But I was wrong, and the whole world saw Bruce Wayne in the Batsuit. This was the point of no return in the story. Scarecrow then proceeded to inject him with fear toxin.
All I kept thinking was whether or not random thugs and villains will react to this reveal, and thankfully they do. Adding even more meaning and weight to this moment.
Taking control of the Joker
Arkham Knight’s ending sequence, which is from the moment Batman gets injected with the fear toxin and starts hallucinating, is its strongest part. Perhaps even stronger than any part of the earlier games.
The Joker is seen tied up the same way Bruce was. At this moment, everyone thinks the Joker disease caught up to Bruce and he finally turned. Once we witness that, with shivers down our spines, we’re treated to the sight of major villains as they address Joker as Batman. Before we start making any sense of it, the Batmobile – or should I say Jokermobile – comes to crash the party, and everything is turned up to 11.
When the game turns into a first-person-shooter
No one could’ve imagined this, not even the most creative among us. A few moments after the Jokermobile scene, Bruce gets injected with even more toxin and the game switches to Joker, in a cemetery, looking down the barrel of an auto-shotgun.
For the next few minutes, Batman: Arkham Knight becomes a horror game where Batman is chasing the Joker – controlled by you. Batman is the predator and you are the prey. The game employed the same excellent trick of creeping up on you every time you turned, only this time Batman was creeping up on Joker.
The return to Arkham Asylum
The Joker’s ride is at an end, and everything starts to make sense again. What was actually happening the whole time was the work of Bruce’s brain, trying to shield itself from the fear toxin by putting Joker at the front. This defence mechanism peaks when Bruce brings in Batman into this battle.
Now both are fighting, in his head. But Batman is stronger than his fears, he asserts control and then utters the three iconic phrases known to any Batman fan. It’s at this moment you knew Batman was back, overcoming his greatest fears.
It ended where it all began, Arkham Asylum.