Batman Arkham Knight Gives Us The Darkest Dark Knight Yet

A mature rating and some seriously slick graphics should finally give us the caped crusader we’ve longed to control

Batman: Arkham Knight arrives June 2nd and we can’t wait for the opportunity to race through the sepia-toned streets of Gotham again. Far from the slapdash comic book game studios churn out in hopes to capitalize on the success of summer blockbusters, Rocksteady’s series is one of the most satisfying around, with a fully-realized world to navigate and an arsenal of cartilage-crunching moves with which to dispatch legions of unnecessarily-jacked thugs and escaped criminals. Arkham Knight’s latest TV spot ups our anticipation.

Not only does Arkham Knight appear to elevate the game’s graphics and gameplay to next-gen levels, but it also comes stamped with a Mature rating by the ESRB, which means gamers might finally be able to control the Dark Knight they truly deserve: an unhinged anti-hero not afraid to get his latex-shelled hands dirty. 

Ever since he debuted in 1939, Batman has grown progressively darker. The barrage of speech-bubbled “booms!” and “thwacks!” in the original series gave way to comics and even cartoon shows with serious choices and brutal consequences. The big screen adaptations followed suit. But whether your Dark Knight was Bale, Keaton, or West, he lacked one common trait: Unrestrained grit. Every Bat-project needed to appeal to a mass-audience, which meant the films had a PG-13 rating or lower.

The game brought us closer. With its dark, open world and Assassin’s Creed-style fight mechanics, players could swoop and swing around a fittingly bleak Gotham City while dishing out punishment with roundhouses, right hooks, and batarangs.

Yet, while it proved fun to take down enemies with an the great detective’s particular set of skills, the game was never as grim and gritty as it could’ve been: After henchman were dealt devastating blows or leapt onto from thirty stories above, twirling stars appeared above their heads and they merely vanished into the ether. Now, the Dark Knight’s brand of street justice could potentially be met with more realistic repercussions. 

But the Mature rating doesn’t only open the doors to fiercer action. Nor does it mean Bruce Wayne will throw out an f-bomb with every batarang. It could mean a darker storyline with riskier plot twists. Unlike film trilogies and continuing comic book story arcs, the game exists in its own contained universe. That means there’s more flexibility to it’s characters: heroes can die, villains can murder, or heroes can turn into villains. In Arkham Knight, the Scarecrow takes center stage, and the fear-induced panic that will undoubtedly overwhelm Gotham could truly take bold strides and bring the experience to a fittingly cinematic level.

Whatever the case, we can’t wait to pull on our virtual cowl.