Gaming: Batman - Arkham Knight Reviewed

We're a little behind in our Arkham Knight review, but give it a gander anyways. 

Batman: Arkham Knight completes the canonical trilogy that started with Arkham Asylum and its open world sequel, Arkham City. Those two games were great, but after playing this new gem, they seem like late beta-stage test releases. If you're a hardcore fan of Batman, or if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a superhero, look no further. It's not just the best superhero game I've ever played, It's also a legitimate challenger for the 2015 Game of the Year in a field of professional heavy hitters. 
From the opening sequence to the end credits, Arkham Knight is a much darker and more immersive affair than its predecessors. It's good that they waited all this time to utilize the Batmobile as a gameplay staple. It fits into this world perfectly. Rocksteady stepped up and confidently used current-gen tech to create a new experience in Arkham Knight. This is the Batman game I've always wanted to play. You have free access to the Batmobile: it's available at any time with the press of a button when you're near a road. They've integrated it into some brisk environmental puzzles that always seem to come at the perfect time. Batman can also control the Batmobile remotely, which sets up even more puzzles.
It's refreshing to have a game so rich and complex come with such an easy and intuitive user interface. It's a real change of pace after playing Bloodborne, The Witcher 3 and Axiom Verge the last three months. A few hours after installing Arkham Knight, I was tearing up the sparsely occupied streets in grand style with my tank/car.
Bigger maps and larger territories are always a good thing  in open world games, and Arkham Knight has plenty of real estate to keep you busy. What sets this massive open world apart from the competition is the way it all comes together as a feast for the senses. Driving the Batmobile is an intensely visceral experience, and transitioning from driving to combat or flight is both easy and fun. They somehow managed to combine the diversity and chaos from Just Cause 2 with the more intimate experiences from Grand Theft Auto V - and make it work in a Batman game.
I'm still scratching my head about that.
The fast-paced, combo-heavy combat is not my particular cup of tea but I loved every minute of it because of the deeply satisfying environmental attacks. When you engage enemies while climbing a series of grated steps, Batman uses the wall to jump down and smash them in the temple. Partners fighting is an abolute riot. If you're an experienced Arkham veteran, try bumping the difficulty up a notch. I died my fair share of times on normal mode, but it wasn't usually due to combat. There are plenty of ways to die in Arkham.
Batman: Arkham Knight's miniscule, individual shortcomings are neatly covered up by gorgeous and timely cinematic moments that fit perfectly into a dark and grimy world that's full of things to do and butts to kick. Whatever else happens, this should easily win best popcorn game of the year. Oh, right. Mad Max on September first...
If you're a fan of either of the first two Arkham games, go ahead and pick this up. You will not be disappointed. If you're a hardcore gamer who's sick of the sword-and-shield action-rpgs that currently occupy most of the genre's attention, you should also check this out as soon as possible. Even if you couldn't care less about Batman, but are a gamer looking for a good time, I highly recommend this. Everything comes together brilliantly.

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-Tom McDaniel