Batman: Arkham Knight Review

Goodnight Dark Knight…

Licensed games have a tendency to be mediocre at best and that rule is no exception to superhero video games I’m afraid. The licensed superhero department is unfortunately riddled with movie tie-in video games and these rarely stray from anything but fair. They’re rushed, uninspired excuses of a game and are, quite frankly, just a movie tie-in cash grab, nothing more, nothing less. Original games based on licensed superheroes weren’t necessarily bad at the time, but there was nothing particularly special about them either. Unfortunately this trend was the standard for what felt like an exorbitant amount of time; that was until Rocksteady released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. Rocksteady handled the Batman license with the proper respect and treatment that it rightfully deserved, which resulted in the best Batman game (later series) ever created, and arguably the greatest superhero game of all time. Its sequel Arkham City upped the ante significantly; it featured a larger open world, ripe with new locales to explore, more iconic villains to add to the existing roster, and a riveting narrative that somehow managed to top its phenomenal predecessor. In short, it was better in nearly every way and quickly became the definitive Batman and superhero game. Four years later and Rocksteady’s trilogy has come to an end. However, no matter how hard Arkham Knight tries, it just can’t fill the immense shoes of its predecessors. The story is probably the most generic and predicable of the entire Arkham series, the Batmobile tank combat is criminally oversaturated and contradictory to Batman as a character, and the mission structure is surprisingly shallow. Despite my personal qualms with Arkham Knight, however, I still truly believe that it’s a great game. Every signature staple of the Arkham series’ core foundation is still here and better than ever. Arkham Knight may be the weakest in Rocksteady’s trilogy, as its ambitions and potential are neither fully realised nor cohered together successfully, but it’s still one hell of a ride and a fitting conclusion to one of gaming’s best.

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Classic Corner – Super Mario Bros. 3

Commonly referred to as the greatest 2D platformer of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3 is delightfully challenging, imaginative, and an excellent illustration of stellar game design. Super Mario Bros. 3 crafted a legacy of its own and pioneered many conventions that have become staples of modern game design. Yes many elements of Mario 3 may seem trivial or primitive in comparison to the current standards of gaming, but seeing how its first innovative steps have evolved so immensely is nothing short of amazing. Its true brilliance is craftily hidden within its intricacy and difficulty; despite its vibrant colour palette, the game can be downright unforgiving, in a manner that seems to be a rarity in the Super Mario series. The level design is also immaculate, where every platform, power-up, and enemy is masterfully placed and is effortlessly entwined with the responsive controls. Super Mario Bros. 3 is a timeless, golden piece of software that truly shows that Nintendo are the unparalleled kings of video game design, and whether you’re embarking on a nostalgic trip down memory lane or experiencing its innovations for the first time, Super Mario Bros. 3 is a bona fide classic that’s worth experiencing over and over again.

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