It's an indication that 2015 has been an impressive year for games, when a Rocksteady Studios Batman: Arkham title doesn't break into the Game of the Year Top Five list, and settles for a respectable seventh place from Push Square instead. Even its E3 2015 trailer was overshadowed beneath the cowl of amazing announcements that preceded it during Sony's greatest E3 press conference of all time.
Yet, in hindsight, the 'I've Got You Under My Skin' opening movie E3 trailer was a recurrent example of Rocksteady's reverence towards classic graphic novels, which is a rewarding payoff for Batman fans. A game set throughout the single evening of the 31st October may initially draw comparisons to Batman: The Long Halloween, but a supervillain whose ambition is to crawl inside our hero's head was also reflective of Batman: The Killing Joke.
The Arkham series' fundamentals are intact, including weighty combo brawling boosted by switching between Batman's buddies, detective mode puzzles, and predatory stealth. It's the introduction of the Batmobile that became divisive, as despite Pursuit Mode being exciting for chasing down speedy militia APCs, repetitiveness followed the initial enjoyment of dodging three-way spread fire from Diamondback Drones. However, it was the bane of sneaking behind aggressive Cobra Drones that broke the back of any Batmobile fun, but given the choice we'd still prefer for Batman's sleekly armoured vehicle to be included in future games.
"It may be an ideal time to revisit Batman: Arkham Knight on a dark rainy evening in 2016"
It's also advisable to shuffle between side missions to supplement the main game, rather than completing all nine story mode chapters in succession. The world feels more complete when you scrutinise the skies to find Man-Bat, and search for clues from hanging mutilated bodies to solve the perfect crime. This way the locations become more memorable, so you'll recognise the Ace Chemicals, GCPD, and Panessa Studios landmarks on Bleake Island, or keep hush about the contents of Wayne Tower, while avoiding Riddler traps in Pinkney Orphanage on Miagani Island. The construction work on Founders' Island has looming Stagg Enterprises Airships above it, for when the Dark Knight chooses to explore the skies instead of the streets.
Even if the diversity of a rain-lashed gothic and atmospheric open world can no longer recreate the tight Metroidvania progression through smaller environments from Batman: Arkham Asylum, there's a strong argument for Batman: Arkham Knight having the most compelling video game depiction of Gotham City. It's not just the sense of scale, but the smoothness of launching a grapnel boost into a dive and glide manoeuvre that makes navigation a joy. As long as you can grapple against your nostalgia about the claustrophobic alleyways in Batman: Arkham City, you'll recognise that Rocksteady's 2015 game benefits from expansion, as traversal becomes more approachable.
With an unlockable full Knightfall protocol ending frustrating gamers due to a necessity to painstakingly solve 243 riddles, it's not always acknowledged that the extra Riddler battle is one of the game's best boss fights. Also, playing New Story Plus on Knightmare difficulty is a rewarding way to showcase your skills during a second play-through. Rocksteady clearly loved creating a world around Batman, so as the DC Extended Universe expands across film in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it may be an ideal time to revisit Batman: Arkham Knight on a dark rainy evening in 2016.
Keep an eye out for references to the wider world of DC superheroes and supervillains scattered throughout Gotham City, as although it's been six months since Batman: Arkham Knight was released, it's still worth re-reading Push Square's 8/10 review, and discovering for yourself if Commissioner James Gordon was correct in stating, "This is how the Batman died".
Did Batman: Arkham Knight go out in a blaze of glory, or were you bitterly disappointed by the Dark Knight's final bow? Prove that you're the Caped Crusader in the comments section below.