KilgoreTrout plays Arkham Knight

Assuming it works on my PC now. Which it probably will, I wouldn't have sprung for the game if I thought it wouldn't, but the kernel of doubt still remains.

As one would expect, there will be spoilers in here both for this game and the previous two. (I never completed Origins, so I probably won't be talking about that one too much.) If you want to avoid those, RUN! RUN AWAY! RUN AS IF YOUR VERY ABILITY TO BE SURPRISED BY THE STORY DEPENDED ON IT!!!

Oh, also? I saw some spoilers on TV Tropes some time ago by accident, like when I was looking at the character page and viewing lists of tropes for people who appeared in more than one game. So I know some of what's coming.

Without further ado (some people spell that last word "adieu", but that is wrong since "adieu" is a farewell, and IJBM when I see that), let's click on that "play" button and get this rolling...
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  • Okay, so far so BAD. Trying to launch the game gave me a flickering screen with the picture and sound cutting in and out. I looked in the discussions on Steam and apparently (according to a thread from July of last year) this is a common problem with laptops, which I'm playing on. The solution is to switch it to fullscreen windowed.

    You'd think they'd have fixed that by now, but no. -sigh- Gonna try it.
  • Oh good, I changed to windowed borderless mode as well as updating my drivers and verifying the cache integrity or something just to be on the safe side and now the game has started without any flickering or anything.

    If I can play through the whole game like this without any trouble then I'll be happy with my purchase, HOWEVER, the window doesn't quite fill up the entire screen, and the empty space kind of sticks out for me right now. Well, maybe I'll get used to it.

    Initial thoughts:

    -I wasn't sure at first if the narrator was Owens, Gordon, or Batman. If it were Batman then I would have thought they got a poor substitute for Kevin Conroy. (I honestly forgot whether or not Conroy was reprising the role here.) However, now that I'm through the opening it seems like whoever the narrator is, it's not Batman.

    -The very first thing you do is get a closeup of the dead Joker and press Space to cremate him. Now I was bracing myself for a jump scare before it gave me that prompt, like I was wondering if the motherfucker would open his eyes or jump at me or something.

    -I like the diner in the opening. I want to to go a diner like that. I know they exist but I don't know where the nearest one might be.

    -Out of the three games I've played, I think this intro is the most immersive, because of the first person perspective as you control Officer Owens. It does a good job of making you feel like you have actually been affected by Scarecrow's fear toxin (which is some powerful stuff, btw, holy shit!).

    -And now I'm perched high up as Batman, and I need to go and meet Gordon to figure out what to do. Back to the game.
  • -Overheard as I glide over the city: a thug wondering why Two-Face has teamed up with Penguin. I was wondering the same thing myself after seeing them together. I mean, they weren't exactly besties in the last game, were they?

    -The controls are exactly like Arkham City, and I just played through the "Harley Quinn's Revenge" DLC earlier today so I'd get all caught up on where things were in the story. So that's nice; the less new stuff I need to learn the better, although I do know that I'm going to need to learn how to use the Batmobile.

    -All right, confirmed: Kevin Conroy's back. Gordon asked me if Scarecrow was really crazy enough to detonate a chemical weapon in Gotham, which is a stupid question if I ever heard one. I mean, Jesus, he was ready to dump fear toxin into the city's water supply back in Asylum.

    -I chuckled a little after Batman vanished while Gordon was talking to him with his back turned, as usual. You'd think that by now Gordon would learn and just never stop looking at him until he wanted to end the conversation.

    -Something surprising: Barbara Gordon is wheelchair bound in this game. But there's DLC with Batgirl. So, um, is that not her then? Cassandra Caine? Stephanie Brown? I could probably look at the DLC description and see, but can't be bothered at the moment.

    -I never knew this, but Barbara's bio says that she's 5'11". (When she's not stuck in the wheelchair, of course.) That's taller than I expected.

    -Fighting is about the same as I'm used to, although the key to automatically take somebody down when you've built up enough of a combo has changed. Have to figure that out later.

    -Here's the Batmobile! As I was driving it to chase after the military vehicle I was defaulting to the controls I was used to from the GTA games I've played. I also crashed into a lot of shit, which in GTA would probably result in the car being wrecked. Fortunately the Batmobile's tough, and since the city's a war zone it doesn't seem like I need to worry about property destruction or crashing into anybody who isn't a bad guy. (I'm just assuming that everybody I hit with the Batmobile survived, because no-kill rule.)

    -JESUS FUCK, BRUCE! Okay, one part of this series I've not really been a huge fan of from the second game on was the way you interrogated thugs, with Batman basically threatening to torture information out of them in "Arkham City" and, as best as I can recall, actually following through on that threat in "Arkham Origins". But he never did anything like what I just saw, to my knowledge (like I said, didn't play all the way through "Origins"), which was to BREAK THE GUY'S ARM after he talked and tell him that he'd come back and break the other one if he turned out to be lying. Just...damn. I know that the events at the end of the last game were said to have made Batman angrier and darker in "Harley Quinn's Revenge", but as somebody who isn't a fan of darker and edgier "heroes", I hope it doesn't last.
  • -Out of habit I'm gliding to the place the thug told me to find Scarecrow, but using Detective Mode I see that there are a crazy number of thugs down on the streets, some of whom are doing drive-bys in cars. Maybe I'll NEED the Batmobile.

    -Never mind, got in fights with a few mobs of thugs and didn't die. At one point I noticed it gave me the option of grabbing a dropped weapon, although I wasn't quick enough with the mouse button to get it. I like that addition, kind of Double Dragon-esque.

    -Huh, interesting. Poison Ivy is being held captive by Scarecrow's guys and they're waiting for the order to gas her. This doesn't come as a complete surprise to me that I need to save her, since when I searched YouTube for videos about whether this game worked on Windows yet I saw one clip of gameplay where you were driving around and it said "Passenger: Poison Ivy". Oh yeah, also, the thugs are talking about how Scarecrow's apparently tried his hand at cosmetic surgery ON HIMSELF after Croc attacked him. "That's messed up," says one guy. I'm inclined to agree.

    -Hahaha, I'm beating up this roomful of goons and Ivy's sitting there in her cell talking trash to them. "I've seen trees with faster reflexes," she tells them. Love it.

    -One new part of combat is that sometimes a mook will grab ahold of you and you have to break free. So it's a quicktime event, I guess, although pressing the mouse button makes Batman beat him up with back elbows and shit as opposed to just struggling, so it feels like you're performing a beatdown, which is a lot more fun.

    -Somehow Ivy's immune to Scarecrow's toxin. Not sure how.

    -Batman wanted to know why she was locked up. She asked what he'd do if she didn't want to tell him. He threatened to burn every plant in Gotham. She sighed and told him the story, that it was because she didn't want to join Scarecrow's alliance of villains to kill Batman and take over the city. See, THAT'S the kind of interrogation that doesn't bug me.
  • -First death of this playthrough, as I'm remotely controlling the Batmobile and trying to take out unmanned enemy tanks. (These tanks belong to some kind of militia which is apparently allied with Scarecrow, and commanded by somebody mysterious.) Anyway, I tried to use the Batmobile's machine guns against the tanks for too long, which had no effect, because tanks. Only after precious time had passed did I notice the prompt to press the middle mouse button to fire the BIG gun. Batmobile got trashed, and I was treated to a death screen where the guy gloating over me was...some random mook. The first two games made me used to being taunted by villains who are actually important, not henchpeople.

    -You know what? Ivy's committed her share of cold-blooded murders, but I would really rather team up with her than fight her. I remember thinking in "Arkham Asylum" that Batman could have gotten her to help him against Joker by asking instead of coercing, if he did it the right way. Same with Mr. Freeze in "City"; if Batman comes across a potential ally in these games who's reluctant to help him, his default response seems to always be to force them into it instead of trying persuasion. Not a good character trait, as far as I'm concerned, although I'll have to wait and see how he gets along with Ivy here.

    -Well holy crap, it's a damned good thing this fuckton of hostile tanks overrunning Gotham is unmanned, because Batman needs to blow a lot of them up. This really seems like the kind of thing where the whole friggin' Justice League ought to be called in, or at least every available member of the Bat-family. (I.e. Nightwing, Robin, whoever's Batgirl if there is one and if the Batgirl DLC isn't a flashback story to before Barbara got paralyzed, Catwoman maybe, etc.)

    -Overheard on the radio: a thug saying that the guy working with Scarecrow has a serious case of Bat-Envy. FORESHADOWING! (I actually do know the identity of the Arkham Knight, btw.)

    -So I deliver Ivy to GCPD where she can be imprisoned, and we weren't able to talk during the ride since the Batmobile's kind of like a miniature paddy wagon, where there's a compartment in back for the captive to sit. (Not that Batman is all that much for small talk.) As soon as I open the door she asks snarkily just who taught me to drive, and when we get to her new home she's like "Oh good, another cell." Damn it, this game's making me love Ivy. I would so try to romance her if this was an RPG, I don't care if she'd possibly kill me in the end for not being a plant. I mean damn, Bruce, crack a fucking smile. I did! :D

    -Anyway, I'm gonna stop playing for now.
  • TreTre
    DISRUPT THE SYSTEM ⌘

    -JESUS FUCK, BRUCE! Okay, one part of this series I've not really been a huge fan of from the second game on was the way you interrogated thugs, with Batman basically threatening to torture information out of them in "Arkham City" and, as best as I can recall, actually following through on that threat in "Arkham Origins". But he never did anything like what I just saw, to my knowledge (like I said, didn't play all the way through "Origins"), which was to BREAK THE GUY'S ARM after he talked and tell him that he'd come back and break the other one if he turned out to be lying. Just...damn. I know that the events at the end of the last game were said to have made Batman angrier and darker in "Harley Quinn's Revenge", but as somebody who isn't a fan of darker and edgier "heroes", I hope it doesn't last.

    I think they were trying to go for an interpretation of Batman closer to something like the later Nolan movies, where Batman's very much portrayed as a "punch first and ask questions second" kind of guy. I'm with you on it being less interesting than actually having him be the World's Greatest Detective, though (and I feel like that element of his character is only rarely done right in a lot of the stuff they've used him in).

    It seems like the new Telltale series is focused on making this a priority in the service of being an adventure game, though, so that's cool.
  • Well, it's not actually that cold.
    If you're having fullscreen problems, you can also try Borderless Gaming.  It's an app for sale on Steam but the devs just use that to raise money since they mention it's also available from github for free.
  • @Tre: I guess there are worse versions of the character to base Arkham!Bats on than Nolan's, but I'm glad to read that Telltale's going a different route.

    @glennmagusharvey: Thanks. I might try it, but I have kind of gotten used to the window now. If the mouse cursor went outside the window when I didn't want it to then it'd be a different story, but fortunately it always stays inside the window unless you pause the game.

    And with that, I'm ready to get back to the story!
  • -When we left our hero, he had just gotten Poison Ivy into her specially-designed cell and had the option to talk to her. This results in Ivy saying a bunch of things with Batman saying nothing in response, and reminding me why people say that Batman's villains are more interesting than Batman himself. Anyway, looking at the ol' achievements, I see that I got one for locking up my FIRST supervillain, so I guess I can expect Ivy to have company in a little while.

    -Also: Ivy mentioned that Harley was the one who broke her out of prison, so why don't I go arrest HER? Which I suppose I'll probably get to before the story's over. I do remember seeing that one of the DLCs for this game has you playing as Harley on her mission to spring Ivy before the vanilla game starts. So I'm looking forward to playing that.

    -I feel like Harley's one of those characters who could maybe be redeemed with the right treatment. Partly because it was Joker manipulating her that caused her to become a villain in the first place, so theoretically, if Joker can be a BAD influence on her and steer her down a dark path, then maybe somebody else could be a GOOD influence on her and steer her in the opposite direction. And partly because the original Harley, the one from Batman: The Animated Series, WAS actually cured:

    image

    Sadly it wasn't permanent; while she was still sane at the end of that episode, in her next appearance she was back to being a villain with no explanation, because Status Quo Is God I guess. But still, based on that I think there's hope for her. (Mind you, I'll have to see what she does in this game.)

    -Stood around listening to cops being briefed on the state of the city. Short version: it's bad.

    -Oh great, this one cop says he thinks he's starting to find Ivy attractive. That might not bode well.

    -Talking to Gordon and Aaron Cash has not only let me know Jack Ryder wants to talk to me about something, but also brought up three side missions. The one I've selected first involves investigating a murder where the body has been mutilated and posed. Wonder who might be responsible for that. Zsasz? Hush? Somebody else?

    -Hey, THIS is interesting. The guy whose arm Batman broke earlier? A couple of cops just told me that even with him in that condition, it took FOUR of them to overpower him and get him into a cell. So this strange army isn't made up of just mooks with really good tech, apparently. And we interrogated the guy after we'd caused his vehicle to crash and he was hurt from that. It's possible that if we'd run into him in other circumstances we'd have been facing a super-strong baddie.

    -Guy in the communications room told me that gas masks are being worn by rioters out in the city, but apparently Scarecrow's toxin goes through gas masks somehow. Yipes. Speaking of the toxin, people have been telling me that Owens, the cop from the intro who got gassed and was hallucinating in the diner? Yeah, they have him locked up because apparently he's still stark raving mad. I'm wandering around looking for him to see for myself.

    -Here he is. Owens is a frantic, gibbering mess. Also, when I was controlling him in the intro and fired my gun at the demonic things all around me? Yes, that DID result in somebody getting fatally shot. Poor motherfucker.

    -Found Ryder, and he was listening to a recording of some crazy doomsaying preacher named Deacon Blackfire. ("Names to run away from really fast", of course.) You know, Ryder's got this superpowered alter ego called the Creeper, so add him to the list of people whose help would be very much appreciated in this chaos. Of course, while Ryder has appeared in both previous games, the Creeper hasn't, so I'm not exactly holding my breath here.

  • -Leaving the station and I hear Scarecrow gloating/threatening me and everybody else not on his side. I'm on my way to investigate that dead body when what do I see? It's a mook glowing green! As people who played "City" know, that means he works for the Riddler. So I drove after him, grabbed him, got him to talk WITHOUT doing anything worse than knocking him out afterwards (thankfully), and the search for Riddler-related stuff in this game has begun.

    -Now that I'm out of the car, I think I'll just grapple and glide to the location. Taking that route means I overhear more potentially interesting mook chatter, including a couple more wondering what it'll be like when Batman and Guy-Who-Looks-Like-Batman meet.

    -This body is hanging upright with bandages over the face. He died from an overdose of painkillers. His fingerprints were burned off, and his DNA has been altered, so whoever did this doesn't want anybody to know the guy's identity. This is similar to what Hush was doing in "Arkham City", but I'll investigate more and see. If nothing else, I think we can rule out Zsasz.

    -Scanning the body reveals that among other things, this guy died with his wedding ring in his lower intestine. WTF? I guess maybe this was another precaution against identifying the victim, but I don't get why the killer wouldn't just throw the ring away. The body's on a bridge over water.

    -Time to save some firefighters now. First one I found is getting tortured by some thugs because...reasons? Damn guys, I could understand cop-hate (even if the Gotham PD seems full of decent people), but fireman-hate? Well anyway, I feel a little bit guilty about listening in on this exchange without doing anything until it ends when clearly the poor guy is terrified and in pain. Better do something now.

    -Yeah, these guys I beat up ARE all wearing gasmasks like I heard earlier. According to the dude I just saved from them, they're rioters who ambushed a fire engine and pulled the guys inside out. Again, no idea what would possess them to do anything like that. It's very strange. Finding the rest of the fire crew will no doubt yield more information. But it looks like I can't do that right now, so I have two choices left: either check the last known location of the Riddler, or meet Oracle to get back to the main story. I'll look into the Riddler thing.

    -Hmm, needed the Batmobile to get into a building for this, which resulted in the car being lowered on an elevator while Riddler showed up on a screen and told me, in a nutshell, that he was going to make me solve some more puzzles again. Well, now I'm belowground and guess I need to drive forward and see what there is to see.

    -Wow, Riddler is giving me all these rules to follow, one of which is "Don't use any of your gadgets", although he put it a lot more verbosely than that. Now I'm up to Rule #7 where he's saying that bathroom breaks aren't allowed and I have to hold it in, and it's getting ridiculous. I've had this option of "activate Riddler Blockade" for a while now and I'm torn between using it to (I presume) shut him up and continuing to listen to him until he's finished, just to see how long he'll go on.

    -Oh good lord, he actually just told me that the eighth rule was that if I had any "accidents" because of the seventh rule, I have to absolve him of all responsibility and accept that it's my own fault.

    -Well, he finally shut up, and he wants me to complete a race in the Batmobile before a time limit expires. Dude, um, how does this have to do with riddles? I think you're running out of ideas.

    -He said that this is more than just going fast, and yeah, there are obstacles and shit that continue to kill me. He's given me a signal that triggers ramps and removes or puts up barriers and I have to use it at exactly the right times to complete this challenge. For example, I need to activate it once to make a ramp pop up so I can do a jump over water, and then in mid-air I need to activate it again to make that ramp disappear and a platform appear in front of me to land on. As if all that wasn't enough, he changes the course on each lap. This is a bitch to complete.

    -FINALLY finished it after taking liberal advantage of the unlimited continues. I'm just gonna check TV Tropes to see if that's listed as "That One Level"....no, it isn't, but a later race is. So I have THAT to look forward to. Goodie.

    -So he's let me go now and informed me on the way out that he's analyzed the Batmobile's capabilities and will be putting me through more of these things. Once again: goodie.

    Time for another break.
  • For once, or maybe twice, I was in my prime.

    -Somehow Ivy's immune to Scarecrow's toxin. Not sure how.
    I think in some continuities, Poison Ivy just has an inborn immunity to all poisons and toxins, no matter how little scientific sense it makes. I recall in BTAS she took a faceful of Joker Gas with absolutely no effect.
  • @MetaFour: Oh, didn't know that. Interesting.

    -Getting in another fight with more thugs, I got a prompt to use a "Batmobile assisted takedown". Didn't use it in time, but I'm now curious to see what it looks like.

    -Found another captured firefighter, and the guys with him were talking about how they love to hear little punks like him scream and shit. Damn, what's wrong with these people? After being rescued he tells me that one of the things they were doing was burning him with cigarettes. Also, that the fire engine his crew was on was attacked by something airborne that shot a big fireball at them. Hmm.

    -Well, time to go see Oracle and see if she's got any leads on Scarecrow's location. Dropping into the clock tower she works out of reveals a pretty nicely decorated living space, and toggling Detective Mode on shows that a bust on one of the shelves is a retina scanner dealie, so I let it scan my retinas. Doing so causes the whole room to transform, with the furnishings being replaced with techy stuff, including a Bat-computer. Batman uses it before Barbara rolls in and points out that SHE doesn't go to the Batcave and mess around with BRUCE's stuff unannounced.

    -Anyway, Barbara's analysis of the fear toxin doesn't show that any particular component of it can be traced to any particular location. However, Bruce says that maybe they should be looking into how it's been manufactured instead. Barbara wonders why she didn't think of that. (The answer, I guess, is because they wanted to make the protagonist look smart.) Anyway, there's a radiation trace or something like that which they can scan Gotham for. Barbara says she'll need time to get the satellites at their disposal into position for that, but Batman says that it'll be faster if he goes to some antenna (or antennae) elsewhere in the city and adjusts that. So that's the next step.

    -Speaking to Barbara after the cutscene has her tell me, among other things, that there are people out there who can help me besides her, people whom I've trained.  So she agrees with me that Batman really should be bringing in as many people as possible to handle something on this scale.

    -The generator for the antenna, it turns out, is damaged. So Batman calls Lucius Fox and asks him to send the Batwing with a Power Winch for the Batmobile. It sounds like he wants to use the car and this winch to get the turbines spinning by pulling on them or something. Lucius says the winch should work, but no guarantees if I want to drive the car up the side of a building or something, to which Batman replies "You read my mind."

    -Ah, now that the winch has been attached to the Batmobile I see from the description that not only is it good for pulling down obstacles and shit, but it also delivers a high-powered AC electrical energy supply.

    -Well, in order to do this, I need to get the Batmobile onto the roof with the generator. Lucius implores me to be careful with the car. Oh Lucius, if you could have seen how many times I've wrecked the Batmobile so far it'd probably reduce you to tears...

    -Yup, another Batmobile fail by yours truly to start out. I pulled down some crap in the way of my making a jump toward my goal, but didn't get up enough speed before making it and wound up crashing into a big video display with Scarecrow gloating on it, before ignominiously tumbling down exhaust pipe over teakettle to the ground. Well, if at first you don't succeed...

    -Heh, the game just prompted me to target something else with the winch, specifically part of the rooftop I landed on. The reason was that Batman wanted to pull it up so that it would become a makeshift ramp for another jump. Clever. (Right now I'm imagining Batman talking to the owner of this building after the crisis is resolved. "What happened to your roof? Um, SCARECROW did that. With his Scarecrow-mobile. Yes, that is what happened, so there's certainly no reason you should sue a fine, upstanding citizen like Bruce Wayne or Wayne Enterprises since they had absolutely nothing to do with the damage to your property. Sue Scarecrow.")

    -Next comes the thing I told Lucius I'd do, namely firing the winch at a building and using it to pull the Batmobile up the side and onto the rooftop. ("Uh, those tire tracks up the side of your building and the smashed windows? Must have been Scarecrow.")

    -Finally I get to the generator, fire the winch into it, and rev up the engine to send voltage in. It's trickier than it sounds, because you have to slowly move a bar on the speedometer towards the top by revving the engine JUST the right amount several times to gradually push it to where you want it; the needle pushes the bar higher when you have it in the bar, but if you push the engine too hard then the needle goes past the bar, the bar falls back to where it started, and you have to try again.

    -Once the generator is fired up, we get in touch with Oracle again, and she says we'll need a microwave tower as well if we want to find what we're looking for, so that's next. Also, she puts Robin on, who (quite sensibly, in my opinion) asks Bruce to let him come and help out. Batman says no, he can handle it by himself, Robin should keep working on that important thing that he's working on. All that I'm gonna say is that whatever Bruce is referring to had better be REALLY vital and unable to wait (even though I'm fairly sure one of the things Robin said was "It can wait"). If not, then he's being stupid.
  • -Gotta leave the Batmobile behind to keep that antenna powered up. Off to the microwave antenna via old-fashioned gliding, grappling and running. It's in the Falcone shipping yards, so I guess if any organized crime elements have stayed behind in Gotham I might bump into them.

    -No Falcone goons, but some of Scarecrow's goons are here, all armed, and talking about how they need to guard this antenna from me. He predicted what I was gonna do before I even planned it. Kind of impressed by that.

    -All of them are inside this building and close together, so the game wants me to throw a batarang at it to make them come outside and investigate, at which point I can proceed to pick them off one by one.

    -Hmm, they're a little bit more genre-savvy than I expected. Of the five mooks, only two of them are sent outside to look into the noise, while the other three stay behind in the building and lock the door so I can't get in. Okay, I guess I can work around this...

    -With the two guys in dreamland now, the other three are NOT taking the bait and going out to see what happened to them. They're staying inside and sticking together, reasoning that there's no way I can take them all down without one of them shooting me dead. So Batman calls Lucius again and requests delivery of a tougher Batsuit.

    -After I suit up, Lucius tells me all the ways this suit is better than the one I've had on. Briefly: it's a lot better. And hey, there's a training sim set up right here for me to practice with! First thing I'm supposed to do is learn how to take down several enemies in quick succession, which the game seems to let me do due not only to the suit, but the element of surprise. Here's how it goes: I sneak up behind one guy and knock him out, which gets the attention of the other two, but if Batman's fast enough he can spring from the guy he just took down to a second guy to instantly take HIM down, and then from there to the last guy to knock HIM out as well. If I can do that with the three guys who are left guarding the microwave antenna, it'll be mine for the tinkering with.

    -The first simulation is easy, since you just need to sneak up on three guys all facing the same way. Subsequent ones are tougher, since you can't do this string of takedowns unless they don't see you before you knock out the first guy; the second one has one guy facing the other two, making it more difficult to knock one of them out from behind without being spotted first.

    -The third simulation has three guys inside a small building all facing one another, but there's a skylight you can drop through to take out the first guy and jump onto the other two before they can react from there.

    -The last simulation has three mooks on a catwalk with one of them walking around patrolling. This may not seem to present a problem at first, but remember that to do this move you need all three guys close together; if I snuck up behind the patrolling guy when he was far from the other two and did a silent takedown, then I'd be too far away from his friends to take them down immediately aterwards and it wouldn't work.

    -There's also a simulation to learn how to do a "Throw Counter". Lucius mentioned that the suit had better shock absorption, and that this meant I could put more energy into my counterattacks. The simulation puts several mooks against me in combat and I need to counter as usual, but pushing WASD (whichever direction the mook I just countered is in) immediately after countering makes me hit or throw them hard enough to send them flying. Pretty sweet, although I didn't immediately get the hang of it.

    -Another simulation teaches new players Predator mode fundamentals, so nothing new there. There's also a "glide through the rings" simulation, which is thankfully less of a pain in the ass than the one in Arkham City. (At least this particular one.) The last simulation teaches you how this new suit interacts with the Batmobile; see, the suit hooks into the car somehow in a way that the faster the car is going, the faster Batman will fly when he ejects from it. This means that I can go higher and glide farther.

    -Anyway, with all of those done, I'm now ready to get to that antenna. Oh btw, did I mention that Scarecrow's guys have a hostage in there? And that I've kept that person waiting all this time while I practiced how to do Bat-stuff? No rush, right? :p

    -When I get back to the building I hear the remaining guys talking inside; they heard the Batwing fly by and drop the heavy container with the new suit, so they're wondering what the hell it was. One guy says "Shut up, he's just trying to flush us out!" Again, genre-savvy. I approve of these guys being smarter than the average mook, instead of just falling for the same old tricks. But there's a grate I can climb in that takes me under the building's walls, and I'm about to spring out of it in the middle of the room and use my new multi-takedown thing. SURPRISE, MOTHERFUCKERS!

    -The hostage is a police detective. (What's weird is that this detective, as well as ones I talked to in the station, were all in uniform. Aren't detectives usually plainclothes?) He says he never saw anybody move that fast and take out three armed guys. Well, neither have I before. He also says something like "Tell me you're gonna stop Scarecrow!" Um, no actually, I had no intention of doing anything like that, and I'm off to have a nap now. So long! (Might as well have said "Tell me you're gonna breathe in and out!")
  • -Batman gets control of the microwave antenna, places a call to Oracle so she can get things set up, and then it's a matter of using the microwave antenna and the radio antenna to scan Gotham. The place that the radio and microwave frequencies overlap is the place where the fear toxin is being manufactured.

    -This turns out to be Ace Chemicals. Batman calls Gordon to tell him as much, and Gordon says this can't be right, because he's had a team guarding the place per Batman's suggestion. Batman figures that Scarecrow either bribed the cops on that team, or "worse". Gordon says he'll get some cops together and head over to Ace, and Batman says to hold off until HE gets there, because of course.

    -Once I get there, Gordon tells me that the building's locked down and they can't reach anybody inside. Batman's making plans to go in and do his usual thing, when a BIG FUCKING HELICOPTER shows up and launches a fireball at the bridge Batman and the cops are on, destroying part of it and forcing everybody but Batman to retreat. (Looks like we found out what attacked the fire engine.) The pilot gets Batman in his sights and says, in a distorted voice, "Time to die, old man!" We see that it's the Arkham Knight. Scarecrow tells him that he shouldn't do it yet, though, that in death Batman has nothing to fear, and that if he waits then his vengeance will come.

    -The Arkham Knight flies away, but we see a bunch of unmanned tanks being activated to stand in Batman's way. While taking cover behind some parked cop cars, Gordon asks Batman if that's a friend of his. Batman says he'll find out and heads toward the building.

    -The bridge is out, but that's no problem since I can just grapple to the top of the gate on the other side, and once I climb up I see that there's literally an ARMY of mooks and tanks and helicopters here. Batman calls Oracle and asks her to find out who the guy commanding this army is. All she can tell him is that there was a military training facility in Venezuala where the troops were wearing the same insignia as these guys, and she can't find out anything on their leader except that he calls himself the "Arkham Knight". So there's our title drop.

    -Batman also asks her how he might find the surviving Ace Chemical workers, since they'll be able to tell him useful stuff. Turns out that they all have unique ID chips, so if Batman gets to a security terminal then he can use that to locate the workers.

    -But there are mooks standing in the way, which Batman needs to take out first. On the radio, the Knight tells his troops that they'll be evacuating this facility in 30 minutes and counting. Also, the mooks are talking about how they should be ready for me. One of them asks if I'm this much of a badass, how do they stand a chance? Another says that the Knight knows how I think and has shared that knowledge. How does he know how I think? We'll find out later on.

    -I just saw something weird. When Batman does a silent takedown it's the same animation as in the previous games, which means that part of it involves him pressing a hand over the mook's mouth and keeping him from breathing until he passes out. Except that I just did that to a guy wearing a helmet covering his entire face, so that shouldn't have worked. Oh well, I suppose it's just a video game and I should really just relax.

    -Batman gets the ID codes and goes to the highest vantage point in the plant so he can start scanning for where the workers are. Meanwhile, Oracle has intercepted a conversation between Scarecrow and Arkham Knight. Knight is still upset that Scarecrow talked him out of shooting me. Scarecrow says it's better because I can be broken first this way. Knight insists that I must die tonight. Scarecrow wonders why he hates me so much, and the Knight tells him that he could never understand, but he'll get his revenge. Oracle observes that it sounds like he has some kind of history with me, and Batman replies that he's made LOTS of enemies.
  • I wanted Red Hood vigilante violence and Black Mask taking over the mob in this game D:
  • @Serocco3: I'll get to the Red Hood DLC eventually, I'm sure, but right now I'm on this.

    I should probably mention that while I gave a spoiler warning at the start of this thread, there are still plenty of events which happen in this game that I don't know about, and I'd like to learn about those as I play through it. I mean, I'll be revealing stuff in here, but only as I get to that point in the game, whether it's something I know to expect or something I haven't heard about.

    -Dropping into one building shows that the worker inside has been killed by the militia members, and after a fight with them Batman calls Oracle and lets her know about this. She's hacked into their comms so that I'll overhear more of their chatter, and meanwhile there's a switch here that will open the gate and allow me to bring in the Batmobile. This is good, since in addition to all the mooks there are many tanks rolling around outside, and as far as I know the only way to deal with those things is with my own vehicle.

    -The Knight realizes what I'm about to do and lets his troops know to expect the Batmobile, which I'm controlling via remote. They have their tanks ready....but it turned out they had nothing to worry about, because like an idiot I just gunned the engine hoping to make the jump over that previously created gap in the bridge without looking at my options first, meaning that the Batmobile fell short and plunged into the murky depths. Thank god for continues, right?

    -Yeah, I was supposed to shoot the power winch at the end of the bridge and pull it up into a ramp for me to use. In real life this might just tear off more of the bridge, but oh well.

    -OH HOLY SHIT! Okay, I was watching that Batmobile fly over the gap when suddenly Batman leaped into the shot and dropped into the driver's seat while the thing was rocketing through the air! That was pretty amazing.

    -I make short work of the tanks. One of the militia on the radio informs the Knight that I punched through them exactly as he predicted I would, and the Knight in turn tells him that I'm probably listening to them and not to say anything non-essential on the radio from now on. Then he addresses ME, telling me to listen as he gives an order to his people to commence Operation Savior. They're spread out through Gotham, they all have a part to play, and in an hour's time he expects to have a stranglehold on the city.

    -How does he know what to expect from me? Well, those of you who have either played this game or read about it know the answer to that. Those of you who don't, but are reading this liveblog...well, I'll keep a lid on the answer and wait until the game reveals it.

    -Moving further into the plant and destroying more tanks, I overhear a conversation between a nervous mook worried that I'm gonna come up and get them now that the tanks are gone, and an overconfident mook hoping that I'll do just that. Well, I hate to disappoint the latter...

    -Oh, this is an interesting option I have here. See, this particular group of mooks are in a room above me, and there's a pipe leading up to that room. Viewing the pipe with Detective Mode says that if I use the winch on it, I can gas them. Now, nobody in there has guns and I could probably fight them all, but I think I'll do the gas thing instead.

    -That, er, didn't work. Not sure why. Oh well, guess I'll be fighting them after all.

    -Another one of the workers is found dead after the fight, with Batman feeling guilty that he wasn't here sooner to stop it. Oracle calls, with Robin on the line as well, and they both tell me again that I should really get help from Robin since I'm literally up against an army here. Batman again tells Robin not to come and to keep focusing on the thing he's doing right now. Robin insists it can wait, and Batman says that it can't; if Robin doesn't do the job Batman gave him to do, things will get a LOT worse.

    -Ah, I've found the reason why it let me break that gas line earlier. The same line leads further in and is spraying gas in my path, preventing me from getting to one of the other workers. (I can see him through the gas spray and if he's alive then he's not conscious.) So I open a window for the Batmobile to fire the winch inside, hit another section of the pipe, and break it, cutting off the gas.

    -Yup, he's dead, and Batman vows to make the people who did it pay.

    -Knight comes back on the radio and informs his forces that part of the city is under their control already. I use the Batmobile to pull an elevator up to where I am and then lower the elevator to get to another worker and more mooks. And this worker is actually alive! Although they're threatening him in a way that makes it seem like he may not stay that way if I don't do anything. Buuut, it's kind of my policy to listen to everything mooks have to say before pummeling them into dreamland, so he'll have to wait. 

    -Anyway, one of the mooks is wondering where this Knight came from and says he must be richer than Bruce Wayne to put together an army like this.The answer, according to another mook, is that all the supervillains gave him money for it. What kind of sales pitch he made to them is a mystery, but he got three billion dollars. That much money to take Gotham over seems like overkill to one mook, and another mook says that the real objective isn't Gotham--it's Batman. Well, I suppose if you want to draw Batman out, then this is a pretty effective way to do it, although it DOES seem like overkill to me too.
  • -Looking at the group of militia and the worker (Adam Brewer) with Detective Vision shows something interesting. I see the outlines of everybody in the room, plus another person who just seems to be sitting casually and motionless, inside some kind of box. Dead? Alive and waiting to spring out of it to surprise me? Guess I'll find out...

    -Ugh, got killed for the first time in a brawl, thanks to motherfuckers with swords. Also, and this is a first for the Arkham games, there's a medic in the group who can revive the guys I've knocked out. So I guess I should take him down first.

    -The death screen has the Knight standing over me, telling me that I'm old, predictable, and I never stood a chance. If anybody wants to guess who he is, go ahead, just so long as you spoiler it out. I'll tell you if you're right.

    -Brewer tells me what these guys have been up to. Not only are they making a big fear toxin bomb, but it'll produce a cloud big enough to engulf not only Gotham, but the ENTIRE EAST COAST. Wow.

    -I take Brewer up in the elevator and we get in the Batmobile, when the Knight's helicopter shows up and starts attacking me, with several tanks backing it up. Alfred comes on the line and tells me there's nobody in the aircraft, so I can feel free to shoot it down. The Knight spends a lot of time taunting me and one of the things he says is that he'd like to be in that thing himself, but then I'd just hold back. It's tough and I die on my first try. The Knight tells me in the death screen that he didn't want it to end like this; he wishes I put up more of a fight.

    -After I beat him on the second try, the Knight (sounding angry now) tells me that I haven't won and that tonight I'll pay, for EVERYTHING. Alfred tells me that the city's overrun by tanks, but Batman says that the first priority is stopping the fear bomb, since that'll do a lot worse than the tanks could.

    -Before driving Brewer to safety I decide to look for the last worker. Turns out he (Mark Cheung) is alive too, and being guarded by militia guys who are wondering why they don't have permission to kill him. They decide that they can still have some fun with him, just as long as they stop short of doing anything lethal. In order to break in and save him, I need to get the Batmobile over there.

    -As I'm working on doing that, Scarecrow says over the PA that there were whispers that my experience in Arkham City changed me and that I actually did kill the Joker. He says he knows better and that there are some lines even Batman fears to cross. (Personally, I wish there were a few more of those. Like the torture thing.)

    -Batmobile pulls down the wall of the building that Cheung is in, surprising his captors. I decide not to get out and just shoot them with the car's weaponry, which is apparently (and surprisingly) non-lethal despite what it does to other vehicles. Cheung's handcuffed to a pipe inside, and right when I'm about to free him a number of other mooks charge in to make things a bit more difficult. Um, wait, maybe a LOT more difficult, because the Knight is with them!
  • -The Knight instructs his guys to keep their guns trained on me, and tells them exactly what parts of my armor to aim at. When he threatens Cheung and Batman tells him to leave Cheung out of it, the Knight gloats that I'm always worried about protecting the weak, and that that's why they're going to win tonight, because I'm so predictable and he knows what I'm thinking before I do. Batman asks the Knight what he's thinking right now, to which the Knight responds "Who the hell is this guy?" Batman says no, he's thinking which one of them he'll take out first.

    -The Knight responds that while he fully intends to kill me before the end of the night, he'll make sure I suffer first. Then he makes a call to somebody else--presumably Scarecrow--and says he has me trapped and just needs the order to take me down. But he doesn't get the go-ahead, and tells Scarecrow (?) that it's the wrong decision. MEANWHILE, the Batmobile is right behind all of them. The Batmobile that I can control remotely. Oops! (Actually, can it be this easy? He's anticipated pretty much everything else I've done, and I have a hard time believing he'd just forget about the car.)

    -Yes it is, in fact, that easy. I open fire with the Batmobile on the Knight, which doesn't do anything besides distract everybody and cause them to turn around and begin shooting at it, giving me the opportunity to attack them all. At some point in the melee the Knight vanishes, leaving his goons to all get knocked out. With them down, it's time to uncuff Cheung.

    -Cheung tells me that Scarecrow's in the central mixing chamber, getting ready to release the toxin. He's seen what it does to people, and despairs that anything can be done to stop the bad guys here. Well, I'll prove him wrong. Batman places a call to Gordon and tells him he's bringing the workers to him before going after Scarecrow.

    -Bring the Batmobile back to the gate with the two passengers, jump over the hole in the bridge, wait for them to get out and be escorted away by Gordon, and then back into the plant to look for Scarecrow.

    -Oracle says that the only way to Scarecrow is sealed off. Batman asks about the service tunnel, which she tells me the location of, and which the Batmobile blows a hole into. It's above me, but that just means getting another ramp in place.

    -I have to blow up a couple more tanks before I get to some mooks and overhear them arguing over whether the Batmobile is a car or a tank (after one of them calls it a tank) as I get ready to attack them.

    -There's a swiveling automated sentry gun covering the room, meaning that I need to do a multi-takedown of these guys while it's pointed away from them.

    -Once that's done and I've opened the gate for the Batmobile, Arkham Knight comes on the radio and says that it's time for everybody to evacuate Ace Chemicals. It was mentioned in Scarecrow's bio that he's immune to the effects of his own toxin by now, so I guess he won't be worried about what happens if he's at ground zero when he sets the bomb off.

    -Further in there's a bunch of mooks being briefed by a mook leader, who tells them that when they evacuate they need to either get deep underground or very high in the air, since that's the only way to be safe from the gas. One of the mooks asks if it's true that some of the toxin's been moved off-site, which the leader says is true, because they need it for phase three of the plan, whatever that may be. Well, time to beat them all up.

    -Following the fight, Oracle comes on line and tells Batman what they can expect from the bomb, which is basically a repeat of what we found out already, that it would cover an area much larger than just Gotham. They figure out that Scarecrow didn't care if almost everybody left the city, since the bomb would get them no matter what. It fits Scarecrow's character that he would want everybody to panic and be afraid before he even used his toxin on them. Plus, I guess the evacuation made it easier for the army to move in and secure Gotham.
  • -Close to Scarecrow now, or at least something that looks like him; we can see his silhouette through a window, although Detective Vision reveals nothing. There are also mooks with guns patrolling this area. (Aren't they worried about the fear toxin? I'd have thought they'd have evacuated per the Knight's orders.) Anyway, Scarecrow is saying that soon his plan will be complete and so on. Well, not if I can help it.

    -Mook chatter provides the answer; these guys are doing the heavy lifting of getting the chemicals ready for the bomb. (Literally; one of them says that the barrels are heavy.)

    -Scarecrow says Gotham will pay for what its "savior" did to him. Um, dude? Killer Croc is not Gotham's savior last I checked.

    -He's gone on to say that while the cloud will cover the Eastern seaboard, it could spread to cover the entire country afterwards, with the fallout lasting perhaps longer than a CENTURY. Damn. Meanwhile I've taken out all but one of the mooks.

    -He knows I'm out here now and tells me that the door is open. Trap? What trap? I'm sure he's just accepted his defeat and is inviting me in so he can go along quietly.

    -Actually, it does sort of seem that way at first, because Scarecrow puts his hands behind his head and gets on his knees, albeit while engaging in more evil gloating. Batman pulls him up, smashes his head into the console, and demands to know how he can stop the fear bomb. Scarecrow responds by telling me that if I don't let him go, "she" will die, meaning Barbara. This causes Bruce to drop Scarecrow and call Oracle, who is currently okay, but Batman tells her to get the hell out of there. She's sure she has nothing to worry about since nobody knows her location...and then she's cut off and nothing but static. Batman turns around to see that Scarecrow has stepped out of the room while he was talking to Barbara, and before Batman can do anything the door is closed on him. Scarecrow taunts him from behind the door, saying that there's nothing quite so painful as losing a member of your family and knowing that you have nobody to blame but yourself. (I believe his choice of words here might be significant.)

    -Scarecrow takes off, and Batman gets a call from Alfred, who heard everything Scarecrow said and is thus far unable to reach Barbara. He'll keep trying to do that. Meanwhile, Batman goes to the console and starts doing something with it. Alfred asks him what he's trying to do, since it's too late to actually stop the bomb from going off. Batman says that he can reduce the blast radius at least (which an automated voice had been saying was at least a few dozen miles earlier when I was picking off the guards). What will happen to Batman after being caught at ground zero? Batman says that doesn't matter and that Alfred needs to concentrate on making sure Barbara will be okay.

    -There are canisters of neutralizing agents which I can use to water down the bomb, so to speak. They're highly volatile though, and trying to move them across the room and insert them into the bomb apparatus too quickly just caused me to die. So I'll try again.

    -Getting one canister's worth of the stuff in the bomb has reduced the blast radius by 25% according to the computer. There are three other canisters left. Now I'm no math whiz, but according to my calculations we can expect a 0% blast radius by the time Batman gets the last one in. (Unless there's diminishing returns on these canisters, I guess.)

    -Alfred chimes in again and tells me that this is what Scarecrow wants: if the bomb even just takes ME out, then he'll win because he'll be free to do whatever he wants unopposed. Maybe this whole thing was a ploy to just get me in this position?

    -Alfred's still begging me to get out of here and save myself, and Batman says that Alfred taught him that doing the right thing is what matters most. This is the right thing. He says goodbye to Alfred. The blast radius is at 50% of what it would have been now, with a third canister being slowly and carefully carried across the room to be added.

    -HOLD ON! I just put the third canister in and the computer says that the blast radius is now INCREASED by ONE THOUSAND PERCENT! The hell? Batman's been coughing for the last little while, so this has to be him hallucinating, right?

    -Okay, yes, THING ARE GETTING FREAKY NOW! So freaky it warrants a whole new post! 0_0
  • -Here's how the freakiness begins to ramp up: Batman seemed to figure that there was nothing to do but grab the last canister and insert it anyway, which he did, but upon turning around who did he see but THE JOKER pointing a pistol at him! "Miss me?" Mr. J asks before pulling the trigger.

    -And after that, we see a helicopter land and Gordon get out. I'm, uh, controlling Gordon now. And the city he's landed in seems eerily calm and deserted.

    -Gordon goes up to a door marked "VIP Elevator", but can't get in. As he grumbles about this, the Bat-computer says that it's analyzed his voice and his identity has been confirmed, so he's welcome to step inside, and grants him access.

    -It's switched to a first person view as the elevator takes Gordon down to who-knows-where. It looks kind of like the Batcave, maybe? Except with movie posters and shit, and with high-tech cells filled with smoke. I can go up to one and talk to the prisoner inside, whose features are currently hidden by the smoke.

    -The prisoner is an old man named Henry Adams who begs Gordon to get him out of the cell, because they're doing tests on him like he's some kind of guinea pig, but he's same and there's nothing wrong with him, he says. (Not sure if this is intentional or not, but his hair is sort of like Joker's except for the colour, his build is more or less like Joker's, and his face looks sort of like Joker's might if he had glasses on and his skin weren't bone-white.

    -The next prisoner I talk to is absolutely nothing at all like Joker. He's really muscular, really tall, African-American and his name is apparently "Albert King". He belligerently demands what I want, calling me a pig and saying I can't police him, I can't police "The Goliath".

    -This next guy is definitely Joker-ish, except his physique and facial features bear more of a resemblance to Heath Ledger's Joker than the Arkham Joker (for lack of a better description, he looks more "normal", even though he has green hair, the red smile, and the white skin), he's wearing a white jacket instead of a purple one, and he has a deeper voice than Mark Hamill's version. His name is "Johnny Charisma", and he says cheerfully says something about how I must be the Commissioner, the person who replaced him on some billboard. What am I waiting for, he asks. He says he doesn't do requests, with his tone becoming suddenly more ominous.

    -Wow, this next person is named "Christina Bell" and she's like a Rule 63 Joker. Pink blouse, black skirt, but green hair and red lips and white skin and although her voice is definitely that of a female, the way she talks and her mannerisms are EXACTLY like Joker, like the voice actress studied Hamill's delivery and did her best to mimic it when they were making this game. And she nailed it. "Christina" wonders if I missed her. She hopes I haven't done anything bad to her "soulmate", because if I have then she'll carve me a smile so wide that my head might just fall off.
    -Oh, hey, here's a little thing that could easily go unnoticed but which I'll mention now that I just saw it. While Christina's outfit looks like it wouldn't break the dress code of any corporate environment anywhere at first glance, I just noticed that her stocking have tears in them and the feet are almost entirely worn through, which I can see because she has no shoes on. It's a small touch that I guess is there to add to the sense that she's not as respectable or normal as she might seem if you examine her closely?

    -Gordon turns around and sees BATMAN. Bats tells Gordon that he's glad Gordon is here. According to him, when Joker sent his infected blood out to hospitals in the last game, it turns out that some people actually did get transfusions of it, and those are the people in the cells, who are being turned Joker-ish because of it. Five of them, Batman says. Gordon points out that Adams seems to be not like Joker (although a closeup of him shows his features are so similar to Joker's that they almost used the same model, like seriously, this could be what Joker looked like if he aged ten or twenty years and had never gotten the toxic waste bath). Batman says that Adams seems immune, so they need to hold him her and keep doing tests on him to figure out how to cure the other people. Adams shouts that he's cooperated, he's done everything they asked, and he wants to be released. Gordon says Batman can't hold Adams there against his will, but Batman says it's necessary.

    -Obviously none of this can be real. But to continue: Gordon asks who the fifth person is. The two of them walk over to an empty cell, and Batman says that the fifth person will be there soon.

    -"Present Day" says the caption, and Joker is trying to awaken Batman back at the chemical plant by calling "Bruuuuuce." I shouldn't act so surprised, he says, since it was only a matter of time before he wound up inside me. Together, he says, they're going to give Gotham what it deserves, a new, better, DARKER Batman. Um, okay. Anyway, before that happens, he tells me that although I've reduced the blast radius, I really had better get out of this plant since it's still going to blow the fuck up. So the current objective is to escape Ace Chemicals.

    -Just if anybody's curious, I DO try to hit this Joker and just keep missing. It's a few seconds later (no idea if this is because of what I tried to do or whether he would have said this next part no matter what) that Joker says that he really is here, but no, I can't kill him again.

    -I try to go out the door but it doesn't work. Joker gives me a hint: "Now, if only we had somehting powerful enough to rip out a wall! No, I'm not talking about YOU, you big lump." Okay, Batmobile. Winch. Remote control. Gotcha.

    -Wow, okay, Joker may be a complete monster, but the people writing him give him the BEST lines. After the Batmobile tears out the wall and allows me to leave the room, Joker's like "Oh Bats, how I've missed you! All the subtlety and nuance of a napalm enema!"

    -I rocket back out in the car/tank/whatever, jump over the gap in the bridge JUST ahead of the fireball consuming the plant, and watch at the whole structure collapses behind me. However, even though I appear to be back in the "real world", I suspect the freakiness will continue.

  • -Batman calls Alfred, who's relieved that he escaped the explosion. Of course, as Alfred says, the city's still overrun with militia. Batman tells him that Scarecrow escaped and shows enough self-awareness to tell Alfred that he was exposed to the fear toxin. Alfred is worried about this, after what happened in the first game when I was infected with it. Batman proceeds to show significantly LESS self-awareness by telling Alfred that he had a bad reaction to the toxin, sure, but it was all over.

    -Tempting fate, Bats? Bad idea! Because a second later he's not talking to Alfred any more, he's talking to JOKER! Joker says he's never been a fan of Scarecrow's concoctions before, but he likes this one. It brings out the HIM in me.

    -Then I'm looking at Alfred's face again and he asks if I heard what he just told me, about Gordon wanting to speak with me. Batman switches over to Gordon, who is glad that he survived and stopped the bomb; Gordon knew that Batman wouldn't let him down. (Hmm, that sounds a little bit odd coming from Gordon; normally he doen't talk to Batman like he--Batman that is--is a subordinate. He also seems gruffer than usual. Is Batman only intermittently hallucinating here, or could this entire thing be a hallucination?) 

    -Batman says he's heading to the station because he needs to talk to Gordon about what's happened.

    -As he drives along he asks Alfred to get him info on the militia so he can better deal with them. Alfred gets right on that, and then we hear from Scarecrow, who observes there's something different about Batman. He's afraid now. Something he's suppressed and kept in his subconscious is clawing its way to the surface.

    -After THAT, I overhear some thugs talking about how they've never killed a firefighter before. Oh, it's this side mission again. Well, assuming that THIS part is real, I'd best go and save the dude.

    -Heh, one of the thugs rattles off a list of professions he's killed members of, starting with cops and eventually getting to stuff like traffic wardens and pest control. Never a firefighter though.

    -Once the firefighter's been rescued I overhear a thug wondering if Anarky's around, since he'd probably love this kind of chaos. Guess we'll see.

    -Stumbled across my first Riddler trophy. Then Scarecrow speaks up again, wondering what fears he can coax from Barbara's terror-stricken mind.

    -Wow, this is sort of surreal: I checked the character bios, and it has bios for all of the prisoners. Makes what I have to assume is a hallucination seem that much less like a hallucination.
  • -Overheard mook chatter: one of them thinks they should GTFO of Gotham. The reason is that they just trashed the emergency room, so if Batman decides to break all their limbs they'll sorta be fucked. :p

    -On my way to the GCPD I get into a bunch of fights, both hand-to-hand and vehicular, but eventually I do get there and guess who's waiting for me? Gordon, yeah, but guess who else? JOKER. Yeah, only I can see him, and he's chortling about how priceless the look on Gordon's face will be once I tell him that his daughter's been kidnapped and it's all my fault.

    -Joker says it reminds him of the time he had something to tell Gordon himself, and he found visual aids helpful. That was a "bad day", he says, but fun. I'd be curious to learn exactly how the Killing Joke story played out in the Arkhamverse.

    -The thing that I neglected to mention before is that during my conversations with Barbara, she said that she told her pop she had evacuated along with most of the rest of the Gothamites so that he wouldn't worry about her. Naturally, then, Gordon is shocked to learn that Barbara actually was in the city and got captured from the Clock Tower. He's barely keeping it together as he demands we go to the Clock Tower and have a look around for clues. I'm supposed to follow him.

    -After he gets into his car and speeds off, Joker taunts me about how I have to tell him it's my fault she got kidnapped eventually, and of course when that happens he'll have a front-row seat, because he's going to stay with me wherever I go.

    -Oh wow, despite Batman telling Gordon to drive slow and let HIM take care of any tanks or anything...okay, Gordon follows the letter of that at first, but the problem is that he's leading the way. I repeat: the vulnerable police car is taking point while the heavily armored Batmobile is trailing behind. This turns out not to be very smart as suddenly two armored militia cars pull in front of the Batmobile and start tearing after Gordon, with Arkham Knight coming on the radio and commanding them to run him off the road and take him alive. So I have to chase after them and get them off Gordon's tail, but it's difficult to do when all three cars are going at top speed and I have to slow down in order to enter Battle Mode and shoot at them. It does give me an option to fire an "immobilizer" at different points, but they're few and far between, and this chase goes on for a long time. Fortunately for me, there doesn't seem to be any time limit, so they never do catch Gordon. But they do fire behind them at the Batmobile, and by the time I finally take care of the second car and Gordon is safe, the Batmobile's armor is almost completely gone. Phew!

    -Only after ALL OF THIS does Batman suggest Jim get IN THE BATMOBILE. Why does he only think of that now?!

    -Alfred comes on the line after Gordon gets in (and the only passenger space in this car seems to be the rear "paddy wagon" part, so it's a bit snug for him) to fill us in on the strength and deployment of the Knight's forces as we asked him to do earlier. Gotham is made up of three islands. One of them is absolutely NOT safe to go right now because of how heavily it's defended. The other one has less of a militia presence, but still pretty heavy. The island we're on right now, however, contains only twelve light drones, all of which are guarding the Clock Tower. Well, that works out pretty nicely.
  • -The drones are taken out rather easily, much to the vexation of the Knight. There are also militia inside the tower patrolling around. Gordon wants to go in with Batman, but is persuaded that this would be very stupid and suicidal, so he stays in the Batmobile very reluctantly while I go to do my stealthy sneaky knocky-outy thing.

    -I died on my first attempt, partly because there's one of those irritating medics with them who goes around reviving people I went to the trouble of knocking out. He only has enough supplies to do it three times from the looks of things, but it's still annoying, so this time I take him down first.

    -The Knight is impressed, but warns me that my tricks won't stay new for long and he'll learn how to counter them. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, because right now I've secured the area and it's safe for Gordon to join me inside the tower.

    -Okay, this is eerie. On the surface the room looks normal. Barbara's even here. But for one thing, the furniture is all different from how it had been, and for another thing, Barbara is sitting in a chair--not a wheelchair, a regular chair--with her back to me, and she has not done anything to acknowledge my presence yet. She's just reading a book. So let's see what happens when I get closer...

    -Barbara just STOOD UP and walked to the door, after hearing the doorbell. Still not reacting to Batman at all, so I'm apparently hallucinating this. Shit, I think most of us who are familiar with how Batgirl became Oracle know what to expect next...

    -Joker is on the other side, of course, shouts "CANDY GRAM!", tosses a box of (I guess?) candy at her, and then shoots her point-blank. Don't pass out just yet, he pleads--"show a little SPINE." Then he proceeds to take a bunch of pictures of a badly wounded Barbara lying on the floor gasping, and laughs at how furious her father will be when he gets here, because of "the mess". Then he takes off. All I can do as Batman is walk around, and once I turn my back to the door Joker came through and turn back, it's been replaced with a graffiti-covered wall. The graffiti reads "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DRAG YOUR FRIENDS INTO THIS CRAZY LITTLE GAME OF OURS"

    -Then after a bit more exploring, the furnishings of the room change to what I saw earlier in the Clock Tower. Joker's voice rings out and says there's nothing like a trip down memory lane. Yeah, Batman has to endure more of his trolling now. Joker relaxes on the couch and muses that you'd think poor old Jim Gordon had been through enough, since first some "handsome young maniac" crippled his daughter, and now she's been kidnapped. I really should tell Jim it happened because of me, Joker opines. He's sure that Gordon will understand, because it isn't like I got Barbara KILLED or anything....well, not YET...

    -And once I turn my back on him, when I look again Joker has pulled a Batman and vanished when I wasn't looking.

    -Oh, Barbara's wheelchair is here, knocked over and sans its usual occupant. As Batman picks it up, Gordon arrives in the elevator and sees. He's distraught and doesn't notice as he steps forward that he's stepped on a framed picture of himself and his daughter until he's already cracked it with his foot. The poor man kneels down to pick it up, with Batman telling him that this isn't his fault.

    -Gordon says of COURSE it's his fault, because obviously Crane has kidnapped Barbara to get to HIM. Which is the conclusion he'd come to, I guess, knowing none of her history with Batman. So it's at this point that Batman decides to come clean, by using the retinal scanner and making the room transform to show Jim all of Oracle's high-tech shit.

    -Once Gordon realizes the truth, he flips his shit and punches Batman in the face, raving that he never should have trusted him as he storms out of the room, throwing away the communicator he uses to call Batman on the way out. He says that he'll do this himself, and that Batman had better stay the hell away from his family.

    -Of COURSE Joker's there when I turn around. "I think that went quite well, considering." Then he says that he, personally, wouldn't have told Gordon.

    -Batman uses the computer, pointedly ignoring the Joker leaning on the console, and determines that they nabbed Barbara by disabling the security cameras. However, he can hack into the municipal CCTV cameras to see what happened outside.

    -Four cameras have an hour of footage each to skim through, and I can't seem to find much on the first one, but I do see a familiar face at the end: Victor Zsasz steps into the picture.

    -The camera covering the front door shows two militia armored cars pull up in front with some mooks getting out, and shortly after that the Arkham Knight himself emerges from the door, carrying an unconscious Barbara over his shoulder. As soon as Batman gets to the part of the video showing which car the Knight put her in, he looks at the tires and realizes he can program the Batmobile to track their unique tread pattern. And with that, I've seen everything I need to move the story along, so I can't look at what the other two cameras have to show me to see if there's anything interesting like the Zsasz thing. I just have to shut the thing down and leave.

    -Joker's back after I finish, and he wonders how Scarecrow knew to go after Barbara. Because he sure didn't know about the connection when HE targeted her. Well, the Arkham Knight IS somebody who knows all about Batman. I guess that could easily include knowledge of his allies as well.
  • -I've found another captured firefighter nearby, and guess what happens when I try to fight the mooks who are about to do something bad to him? I see one of the mooks as the JOKER. I'm not doing so great so far; this is my second try and I've died again, and this time Joker's on the death screen. He actually looks alarmed. "Don't head towards the light, Bruce! It's not fair! THEY'LL NEVER LET ME IN!"

    -When I finally get it done and save the firefighter, he tells me that he was actually laid off a couple of weeks ago because the government figured they didn't need as many firefighters as they had. Of course, that was before the whole city went up (many parts of it literally) in flames, so THEN they called him back, and this happened to him.

    -Following the tire tracks, Batman tasks Alfred with finding out the identity of the Arkham Knight, with Alfred musing that the Knight must have chosen that particular name for a reason. Batman suggests looking over a list of former inmates from Arkham City. He also says that the Knight knew about Barbara, so Alfred should use the Batcave's security measures to prepare for any possible attack on HIM.

    -Speak of the devil: the Knight comes on the line and says that he's got Oracle, so naturally NOW Batman cares who he is. (Could he also be listening in on me?) He invites Batman to find him, but Gotham's a big place and he has a whole army on his side, so he'll be ready.

    -Oh, this doesn't look good. A flying drone just dropped something that looks like a mine, which burrowed into the concrete. Batman tells Alfred about this, and Alfred tells him that there are a lot of other devices like that also being dropped all over Gotham. Batman's gonna have a closer look.

    -As I get closer to the "unidentified militia device" as Detective Vision labels it, it sounds like I guess right as to what it actually was; the cops are talking about a militia explosive device that's just been planted somewhere.

    -Yup, Batman determines it's a bomb, and Alfred asks if he should really be, you know, STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO IT if so. Anyway, the two of them are going to work to disarm it by hacking it with the Batcomputer so they can open it up and expose the core. But while that's in progress, a bunch of militia tanks are heading my way to make sure I don't succeed at that.

    -Once the tanks show up, Alfred tells me that I've destabilized the bomb with the hardware I'm using and that if I want to keep it from exploding, I need to stay nearby as I battle the tanks.

    -The Knight chimes in that the tanks are UNLIKE me in that they do not give up, they don't hesitate, and they don't hold back. Hmm, a clue as to his grudge against me, perhaps? Maybe I gave up on something he thinks I shouldn't have? Not sure. (In this case, I'm not trying to clever by hinting at anything; I really don't know if this is significant or not. See, while I know who this guy is, I'm unclear as to his motivation for hating Batman and what precisely turned him into the Arkham Knight.)

    -Well, despite all that, it isn't long before the tanks are all so much scrap. By then, the bomb has been opened up and the key to triggering a controlled explosion of the core is firing the power winch into it and revving the engine like I did back at that antenna.

    -Done. The Knight comes on and asks if I think that's it. It isn't. He's got these things all over Gotham. If I try disarming them too, I'll need to go through more of the tanks, and he can turn Gotham into a charred crater if he wants. He's waited years for this, he says, and nobody's taking it from him. Alfred tells me that he wasn't just broadcasting that to me, but to everybody; apparently he wants to discourage anybody but me from trying to deal with the bombs. Which makes sense, I suppose, if his beef is with me.

    -Back to following the tire tracks to (hopefully) Barbara, they lead to a bridge that can be raised or lowered for boats to go through. Currently it's raised. Batman asks Alfred to lower it, but he can't; he's locked out. The militia has control of the bridge, and if I want to get the thing lowered I need to go to the access point inside the nearby Grand Avenue Station. The station will, of course, be crawling with militia.
  • -On top of the bridge supports I find Joker sitting around, who compliments me on the new car with all the guns. It's like an evil clown was whispering in my ear as I designed it, he says.

    -The Knight continues to predict what I'll do as grapple and glide over all the tanks guarding the way to my goal. Batman can and will adapt, he tells his troops, so watch the skies. Fortunately, nobody seems to be looking up just yet.

    -Overheard mook chatter: "There's gotta be someone left in Gotham worth robbing. Or, you know, at least BEATING." Dude, you need another hobby.

    -There's an aerial drone covering the mooks guarding the station, making the sneaky stealthy takey downy approach a bit more complicated. I tried destroying the drone with batarangs, without any luck, before I realized that one of the mooks was controlling it, and taking HIM out. The Knight chides me for still fighting like a coward after all these years and advises his men to stick together so they don't get picked off one by one. Which is a good plan, yes, if I weren't now able to take down more than one of them at a time.

    -A lot happening at once to blog here! Okay, first, after I've finished taking out the mooks, I can get to the terminal to give Alfred access to the bridge controls so he can lower it. Joker hops on the table and asks if that isn't Barbara's job--OH RIGHT, she's been kidnapped. He asks if I really think Jim will forgive me even if I save her. Gordon holds a grudge, Joker says, as he well knows.

    -Batman still ignores him and calls Alfred to tell him he can work the bridge now. When suddenly over the PA, a voice tells me to forget Scarecrow and concentrate on my TRUE nemesis! Alfred's like "Oh no, is that who I think it is?" Yes, the RIDDLER.

    -Riddle him this: why would a Batman visit an abandoned orphanage? Riddler appears on a big screen nearby and shows me the answer: Catwoman is tied up. Bound and blindfolded, but thankfully not gagged, so she's still able to snark at her kidnapper: he has her confused with Robin, she says; the big guy and her are really not all that close.

    -Nigma threatens to kill her if I don't show, because he remembers our last meeting and how I HUMILIATED him, which he hasn't forgiven. So now he's talking about how he'll stand over my bloodied corpse and watch the light fading from my eyes while my last thought is that he's bested me. In other words, there's actual hatred involved here now, not just a desire to prove himself against Batman.
  • -There are still police helicopters patrolling Gotham, which amazes me; you'd think that the Knight's people would have shot them down.

    -Outside the orphanage, there's a green-glowing Riddler mook trying to recruit Two-Face and Penguin mooks. After he finishes his pitch I take my time before engaging them, and hear a bit of additional dialogue, including "Nigma's the man to work for. I mean, he talks down to you a bit, but still." Just a BIT?! No, a LOT, buddy. Be honest with these guys.

    -The interrogation of the Riddler guy goes different than the typical ones: this time, Batman wants to know why Riddler has Catwoman. Guy says he doesn't know, he just tied her up as instructed and planted a bunch of trophies around, which I get added to the map before knocking him out.

    -Heading inside shows a screen with the blindfolded Catwoman on it but nothing else just yet. I'd have expected Riddler to greet me right off the bat. (No pun intended with that last word.)

    -Oh, I see now. Moving closer to the screen with Catwoman on it and getting a better view of the room it's in shows that the lady herself is tied up on a stage in front of it, and there seems to be an electrified floor or something between herself and me.

    -Line launcher over the floor, and as Catwoman hears something she asks "Batman? That had better be you, and you had better be sorry." Hey, this wasn't MY idea!

    -Catwoman responds to the question of if she's okay, as Batman undoes her restraints, with "Perfect. What little girl doesn't dream of being bait for her strapping Dark Knight?" Batman wants to leave, Catwoman wants to stick around and go after Riddler. Nigma immediately appears on the screen and is happy that both "contestants" are here now.

    -He introduces us to his "lovely assistants", who turn out to be a lot of robots. He's unhappy with the henchmen he's had, so he decided to design his own. And THIS is cool: the game is letting me choose which character I want to fight them as. I choose Catwoman, both because I've been Batman the whole game so far and because of all the playable characters I was able to use in the last game and its DLC (Batman, Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing) I enjoyed playing as Catwoman the most.

    -Oooo, here's something ELSE cool! Once I get the combo meter to a sufficiently high number, it gives me the option of a double-team takedown, where Catwoman launches the robot at Batman, calls out to him, and he delivers the coup de grace. Noice. Although it switches me to controlling Batman, so I have to wait and do another one if I want to get back to Catwoman.

    -Riddler mockingly tells us we make a good pair, and to enjoy this while it lasts, since he has more in store for us than just giving us stuff to hit.

    -By the way, Catwoman here is VICIOUS, because even though these are only robots, you know what the end of a beatdown sequence by her is? Catwoman digs her claws into the robot's face and RIPS IT OFF OF THEIR HEAD!

    -Oho, now for Riddler's plan. See, he tells us that Catwoman (who he calls a "feisty felonious feline", at least two thirds of which people have been calling her probably since the days of the Adam West tv show, not that I'm tired of it, mind you) has been fitted with a shiny new collar. Moving the camera reveals that yes, she does have a collar with lights around her neck. The only way to get the keys to unlock it is to complete Riddler's challenges.

    -"Collect every key, and the kitty goes free. Remove it too soon, and the kitty goes BOOM!" Nigma tells me that my next challenge is in Chinatown and that I need to bring the Batmobile. After he's finished, Batman says he'll be back soon. Catwoman tells him he'll be back right away, and complains that guys like "Eddie" let her be until she started hanging around with Batman.
  • edited 2016-08-13 01:55:02
    -We can stick around and talk to Catwoman for a bit. Batman observes it's unlike her to get caught and wonders how Riddler did it. Ambush? Blackmail? No, actually Riddler invited her here. Catwoman answers Batman's surprise by saying that Riddler told her he had a job, of the cat burling variety. Which she's pretty good at; not everybody who sneaks around on rooftops does it to help people, after all. "Now, where's my key?" I, er, haven't left yet to get it, Selina.

    -Does Catwoman do a lot of work for Riddler? Only when Batman isn't looking. "Selina..." he says disapprovingly, to which she responds that if somebody needs something stolen, she's the person they call to steal it. Really, I didn't think I'd reformed her, did I?

    -Catwoman tells "Mr. Tall, Dark and Brooding" that it would be nice if he stopped looming and started helping. Pressing space again elicits "Look, I'm sure standing there like a towering pillar of muscle works on the more impressionable girls, but I'd be much more impressed with some keys."

    -"Yes, Batman, I've noticed the new suit, it's very dashing. Now why don't you go play Eddie's games?"

    -There's a bio for Catwoman in my files now, and I see some trivia I was previously unaware of: her very first appearance in this franchise was Batman #1! Yes, Catwoman--or perhaps Selina Kyle in her normal-person identity--was in the very first issue of the comic book ever printed! Wow, I knew she debuted in the '40s, but not at the very beginning of that decade.

    -Joker's waiting on the steps of the orphanage as I exit, observing that I have quite the dilemma, figuring out which "incompetent friend who got herself kidnapped" to save first. He suggests going to see what Riddler's cooked up. Well, that's actually what I was going to do anyway.

    -Damn, just after I finished typing that and unpaused the game, I hear Joker go on: "Besides, you can't save ALL of Barbara. I killed half of her already!" I know we shouldn't expect the Joker of all people to avoid saying offensive shit, but still.

    -Overheard mook chatter, specifically militia chatter: one guy says that when you go back to civilian life, everybody expects you to switch off the soldier part of you, but you can't. He couldn't live a normal life, so that's why he joined up with the Knight. The guy he's talking to agrees, saying he couldn't do the 9-to-5 thing either after being in combat.

    -More overheard chatter (at one of the militia's checkpoints which, it turns out, I have a side mission to clear off Gotham's streets): Lex Luthor has a building here in Gotham. There's a rumour, another guy says, that Luthor contributed money to the Knight. After all, he's had his eyes on Gotham for a while. Someone else says that even if Batman is killed tonight, Luthor still has to deal with Bruce Wayne. "Ooo, terrifying," somebody responds sarcastically.
  • -A little bit over a hundred meters from the location of Riddler's challenge, Riddler pipes up and observes that I still haven't shown up, which irritates him, so he tells me to hurry up since he hates to win by default. Yeah yeah yeah, keep your shirt on.

    -Another elevator ride in the Batmobile where I'm subjected to more of Riddler's taunting, including a gem about how in the future crowds of schoolchildren will pack this very elevator to see the place where the great Dark Knight was defeated. Of course they won't understand a thing because they're so stupid compared to the great genius of the Riddler, but they'll come all the same.

    -For this puzzle I need to power up a thing the Riddler's set up. Of course he criticizes my driving; while landing upside down in the Batmobile isn't a problem since it can flip itself over, Riddler mocks me when I end up doing so. "The wheels go on the GROUND, Batman, that's a fundamental principle of driving!"

    -I also need to exit the Batmobile and stand on a pressure pad to make a piece of the "road" pop out for me to drive over using the remote control. 

    -After I FINALLY manage to make a jump that was giving me trouble, Riddler congratulates me with a hearty laugh and tells me that my true calling as a third-rate circus stuntman becomes clearer by the day. You know what? Fuck you. That's what. Just for that I'm gonna embed a YouTube video of your big humiliation from the last game right here:


    -At last, I get to the place I need to be and inject electricity into the socket Riddler provided using the power winch. With the challenge completed, he tells me to get onto the pressure pad beside the video screen, and then says that with me sitting on that it has caused a number of cabinets to appear near Catwoman in the orphanage. Now it's time to switch over to Catwoman and do stuff with her. (Puzzle-solving stuff, that is. Other sorts of stuff will have to wait for another time.)

    -The cabinets in front of Catwoman all contain keys, one of which will unlock part of her collar and the rest of which will blow her up. Between the two of us we need to figure out which one is the correct key.

    -Aha! In front of Batman there are a number of lights, most of which are red but one of which is green. The pattern of these lights seem to match the way the cabinets in front of Catwoman are laid out. So I'm guessing she needs to get the key in the cabinet that's in the same position relative to the others as the green light is relative to the red lights.

    -If Riddler would just SHUT UP and let me concentrate this would be a lot easier! But I do eventually pick a cabinet, which Catwoman opens up (her claws function as glasscutters) and gets the key out of. By the way, the number 9 has been lit up on her collar from the start, and as she puts the key in the lock and turns it, it changes to a 7. Nigma explains that he's just this once going to lower the count on the collar by TWO digits instead of one. He could have set it to 8, he says, but 9 lives! Like cats have! How could he resist?

    -Anyway, Riddler instructs Catwoman to tell Batman what's changed at the orphanage. She tells him to do it himself. He insists. So Catwoman says, with an obviously false tone of surprise in her voice (and I'm paraphrasing since too much time has passed between her saying this for me to remember it word for word) "Why Batman! Look! A BIG GREEN DOOR has lit up!" Riddler tells Batman to get back to the orphanage and go through it with Catwoman. The door, incidentally, is labeled "Numeracy 101".
  • -The Riddler's latest taunts are drowned out by Alfred on the radio telling me he's about to lower the bridge, and also that there's a significant militia presence on the other side. Yes Alfred, I know, I glided over them all earlier. Anyway, Alfred tells me that he's looked at Barbara's analysis of the drones and managed to finish her work; a single shot to their sensor arrays will blow them up. Okay.

    -The drones are now firing missiles at me, while the Knight boasts that he has surprises too. Fortunately they aren't tough enough to one-shot me or anything, and I can shoot them out of the air with my machine gun. So the drones still aren't that much of a problem.

    -I decide to destroy all of the drones in this part of the city, Miagani Island, and once they're all gone I radio Officer Cash and tell him that it's safe for him and the other cops to return to the island and resume patrolling it. He's appreciative. Now back to the orphanage.

    -Riddler tells me that Catwoman's unharmed right now upon my return to the orphanage, but there's a barrier in my way that I can only get rid of if I solve another puzzle of his. I eventually do and he grants me access back inside.

    -Catwoman says Riddler wouldn't let her through the door until I got back. You know, if they made a Catwoman game I would so buy it, because I love her snarkiness. "I'm sorry, do I seem testy? It might have something to do with the gorgeous necklace Eddie picked out for me. Have you seen it? It explodes." Rest assured that once I'm done with the main game, the Catwoman DLC is first on my list.

    -Strangely, turning on Detective Vision doesn't shown me Catwoman's skeleton, so at first I didn't even notice she was in the room with me.

    -In order to solve the puzzle in the next room, Batman and Catwoman need to work together. There's a purple-coloured pressure pad, which I put Batman on, and a pink one which I get Catwoman to stand on. This results in bars springing up to trap both of them in the sections of the room they're in.

    -Five questions marks are lit up on each side, with the numbers 1 through 5 flashing in a particular order in front of both Batman and Catwoman. The idea is that Catwoman is seeing the order in which Batman has to hit the question marks with batarangs, and Batman is seeing the order in which Catwoman has to hit the question marks with her whip. As soon as that's done, the barriers are removed and more robots attack us, so we destroy all of them. Then we get another key.

    -With Catwoman's collar counter now at 6, we leave the room and Riddler tells us that the next challenge is beneath Elliott Memorial Hospital. More conversation with Catwoman has her complain that I still haven't apologized. Batman asks what for. For Eddie treating her like a white hat, like one of Batman's sidekicks, she explains. Half the crooks in Gotham think that she feeds Batman info. Well, she DOES, Batman answers. Catwoman admits this is true, when there's something in it for her, but they think she's doing it on principle.

    -"Sorry for making criminals think less of you," Batman deadpans. Selina returns that she's never hurt anybody or anything. She's just freelance. Batman tells her she should pick a side. "Your side should pay better," Selina says.

    -Some more Catwoman dialogue I like: "Batman, the next tests are ready, and I really can't wait to play the 'Will my head explode?' game again."
  • -I half expected Joker to be waiting on the steps outside the orphanage and turned out to be right. He asks when Catwoman got so cute; must've been when he started seeing her through Batman's eyes. So, is he gonna ask her out or what? Oh, he's not still torn up about Talia al-Ghul, is he? C'mon, get over it, it's been months, even the worms that ate her corpse have probably forgotten about her by now. Take a tip from your wingman, Brucie, girls hate it when a guy can't get over the ex whose lungs Joker blew out.

    -No, I still can't punch this vision of the Joker.

    -Okay, I crashed through the orphanage's gates when I arrived in the Batmobile and now they're back for me to knock down again. It's MAGIC! Zatanna, are you here? Did you do this? Did you say "!kcab gnimoc peek setaG" just to screw with Batman?

    -At the hospital I take another elevator ride during which Riddler tells me that the previous trials were just to make it clear to Batman how brilliant he was, and that Riddler could have killed me right away if he wanted to, but he didn't want to before. But now he does, and he isn't going to go easy on me any more. Well, we'll see.

    -Riddler says that I shouldn't let this next course CRUSH my spirit. And there was a sign over the door to the elevator labeled "CRUSHONATOR". I wonder what it could possibly mean for the Batmobile!

    -Yes, there are blocks that drop from the ceiling to flatten the Batmobile if I'm under them. (The amount of force the Batmobile is hit with is measured in "deadbats of pressure", which the Riddler says is a unit he invented himself.) Not only that, though, but when I use the signal to remove barriers in my way I have to be on the right part of the course; if I'm on the blocks the Riddler used to build it instead of the natural ground, then the Batmobile gets blown up. 

    -This course actually gives me less trouble than the first one. I do die a few times, but I finish the three laps required within ten minutes of play or so. After that Riddler says that he's not going to make me do a fourth lap because it would mean certain death for me. (Yeah, right, he just doesn't want to admit that I've got this course figured out. Unlike the very first one he put me through, the layout doesn't change, at least not that I've noticed.) So he gives me another pressure pad to stand on with more lights. Which means more cabinets. As Catwoman says, "Oh good, the FUN part." One more part of her collar now unlocked.

    -The next challenge is at Gotham Casino, heading there now.

    -Overheard mook chatter: "So, Riddler bagged the Cat, did he? He'll regret pissing HER off." Yes, I expect he will.

    -On the way to the casino I stumble across another one of the Knight's bombs, which I neutralize after a fight with more drone tanks, and also solve one of the Riddler's riddles. The ones I've solved so far have unlocked stories set in Gotham, which are pretty well-written I must say. 
  • -On the elevator ride down, Riddler brags some more and tells me that I can't possibly imagine what it's like to be so intellectually removed from the human race as he is. You know, Eddie, that can be taken more than one way.

    -This challenge starts out with a pressure pad on the wall on the other side of a gap, and the idea is for me to floor it in the Batmobile until I reach the edge and then eject myself, which will hopefully launch me with enough power to glide across and hit the pressure pad.

    -Unfortunately, on one attempt I back the Batmobile up too far and it goes back into the elevator, which takes me back up while the Riddler gloats about how I'm running away because I can't solve the puzzle.

    -Hitting the pad opens up a door, with another pressure pad behind it. Except in order to reach this one I need to go in the opposite direction from the first pad.

    -That was actually easier than I thought it'd be, with another door opening up, which I need to take a right at the second pressure pad to go through. Riddler tells me to mind the deathtrap I'm about to run into when I attempt that part.

    -"Bats! The only mammal capable of flight! Since all you do is GLIDE, you're actually a variety of squirrel."

    -I glide through a tunnel where it appears that touching the walls would have meant instant death and hit another pressure pad, opening up a door which takes me back to where the Batmobile is parked. I think I've finished the challenge and it's time for another key now.

    -Yup, more lights and more cabinets. Oh, and after I typed that I switched to Catwoman and the first thing out of her mouth was "More cabinets." Anyhoo, "time to possibly, maybe die". Selina, I wouldn't do that to you! The counter on her collar is now down to four.

    -By the way, I'm hoping that Barbara is still unconscious and blissfully unaware of everything during all of this, because this stuff is taking a while. If I were her and had to be kept waiting for such a long time, it'd be no fun at all.
  • -Asked how she's doing as soon as Batman is back at the orphanage, Selina sarcasatically praises the entertainment value of the Riddler lecturing her on the thirteen innovations that allowed him to pack her collar with enough plastic explosive to blow her head off. Anyway, we have another room to go into, this one labeled "Intro To Physics".

    -Our next challenge is simple, says the Riddler. Guide an electrical charge to its destination. He hopes that the varying amounts of PRESSURE don't get to us. You know, the guy has been much more generous with hints in this game than usual.

    -An exchange between Catwoman and Batman, with me googling part of it so I can copy and paste the whole thing:

    Catwoman: What’s Eddie’s problem?
    Batman: Fanatic narcissism, egocentrism, and megalomania crossed with severe obsessive compulsion. 
    Catwoman: Thanks. 
    Batman: Don’t mention it.

    -Right now we're both standing on a floor made up of tiles that will electrocute anybody on top of them once they're activated. So when we fire this thing up we'll probably want to be elsewhere.

    -There are more pressure pads, and after both Batman and Catwoman step on them to see what they do (they move stuff) Batman notices that the stuff moves more when HE steps on the pads. Catwoman observes that he IS getting older and that maybe it's time to add a few more notches on the utility belt. How...CATTY of her. (Ho ho ho!)

    -Anyway, the charge generated when I throw a batarang at a lit-up question mark starts out moving along a pipe, but very slowly for electricity. What the two of us apparently have to do is move additional sections of pipe in front of the spark so that it can continue on its way without meeting any obstacles and fizzling out.

    -AHA! This is interesting. At first I thought that all I'd need to do in order to move one section of pipe up high enough for the spark to travel through it would be to put the heavier Batman on the pressure pad, but that only brought it up partway and the spark fizzled out. Then I wondered if I could have BOTH of them stand on the thing to raise it as high as I wanted it, and that worked. (Catwoman doesn't like how Batman's crowding her on the pad, by the way.)

    -Got the spark to the thing it needed to power up in order to open up the box with the key, but it also powered up the floor around it, so we need to grab the key without touching that in its present state.

    -Batman jumps across a small gap onto another pressure pad, which shuts down the floor. Riddler congratulates him on figuring it out and says he'd better grab the key. Of course, I presume that if I move Batman onto the floor and off of the pad, it'll get all sparky again and fry him. So I have Catwoman go for it instead while Batman keeps standing on the thing.

    -Or perhaps the trap is different than that; as Catwoman gets closer to the key, more robots burst in, some of which have red stripes and others blue. Riddler says they're his second generation of machines and specifically tailored to one or the other of us. Sure enough, when I try to hit a blue-striped robot as Catwoman, I get an electric shock. Okay, lesson learned.

    -Oh, perhaps it was both! Because after I finish destroying the Catwoman robots and switch to Batman, Catwoman jumps up onto the pressure pad while Batman jumps down. So I guess if we had tried to fight them simultaneously then we would've gotten fatally crispy.

    -Just when I think I'm finished, another batch of robots springs up. Okay, fine, you guys can get sent to the junkyard too.

    -"See children? I color-coded the robots to help you share!" Yeah Riddler, we figured that out, thank you oh so much.

    -That's done now, and the number on Catwoman's collar is down to three.

    -So Joker dies, takes half the crime in Gotham with him, and Catwoman doesn't hear from Batman for months. What's the deal, she would like to know? He's been busy, he says. She responds that she knows the two of them were close, but that Batman should get back out there and meet some new maniacs instead of mourning forever.

    -Oh, this one is just too good for anything less than a word-for-word quote. And here I was worried that the writing in this game would suffer without Paul Dini being involved!

    Batman: Selina, where were you last Friday? Between midnight and one a.m.?
    Catwoman: Giving blood - no, wait, volunteering. Why?
    Batman: There was a break-in at the Museum of Gotham. A valuable gemstone was stolen.
    Catwoman: *gasps* What? No! Who could DO such a thing?
    Batman: ...Just put it back.

    -You guessed it: more trolling from Joker upon exiting the building! He casually mentions that he was hanging out in Hell, and I'll never guess who he ran into: Talia al-Ghul! But don't worry, he asked Talia, and he says Talia's totally cool with Cat-lady have a go on the ol' "scratching post". He also says that she said "Ow ow! Is this a bullet in my sternum or a broken heart?"
  • -An example of even evil having standards, I overhear a mook say that as much as he hates pigs like Gordon, kidnapping his daughter is going too far.

    -Oh, it sounds like Azrael is in town, because some other mooks are talking about a guy in a costume with knives on his gloves and a big red cross on his chest, which is a good description of Azrael from Arkham City. One moook quips that maybe he's here to kill a dragon. His friend doesn't get it.

    -By the way, in case you forgot about the serial murderer or the firefighters, I'm hearing both mooks and police talking about those things, specifically that they've spotted another firefighter being held captive and another body. And I will GET to that stuff guys, you can shut up about it, but right now I'm busy with the Riddler and Catwoman.

    -Actually, okay, fine, I just flew over a firefighter and the mooks guarding him, so I'll take care of that now before getting back to what I was doing. But this time literally ALL of the mooks have guns, so I need to drop down through the ceiling and do a multi-takedown of the three who are beating on the firefighter for fun before grappling back up and doing the stealth thing to deal with the others that have been alerted.

    -OHO! This rescued firefighter just gave me a possible clue! See, he mentions firefighters getting laid off in previous weeks like the other guy did, but he also mentions that this was happening DESPITE a lot of fires springing up lately. Now, who could be causing that, if it's a specific person? Could it be, mayhaps, a specific member of Batman's rogues' gallery? A certain pyromaniac whose nom-de-crime includes the word "fire"? And if it IS him, then maybe that explains why firefighters are being targeted. Because I doubt Firefly enjoys seeing his hard work extinguished. If it is him, of course.

    -Joker pops up on a gargoyle that I land on in mid-flight, commenting that he can't believe I'm Bruce Wayne, Batsie. Or he can't believe I'm Batman, Brucie. He asks if the whole idle playboy fiddling while Rome burned thing was an act, because if so then he LOVES it.

    -He also encourages me to look into those murderers, saying that there's mutilated stiffs out there just waiting to be gawked at! Surely they can't be worse than anything HE left for me, Joker says.

    -Here's one of those well-written stories that I referred to earlier, the ones you get for solving certain riddles around the city. Just giving you all a taste: http://arkhamcity.wikia.com/wiki/Arkham_Knight_City_Stories#Change_of_Heart

    -More interesting mook chatter: when the Arkham Knight first showed up, Scarecrow told him he had to prove himself by fighting the toughest guys Penguin and Two-Face had working for them. The Knight beat them EASILY.

    -LOL, some mooks are talking and one wonders why Ace Chemicals blew up but there's no enormous cloud of fear gas over the city. The other one says that maybe it was a metaphor, like "the fear toxin was in our hearts all along."

    -Hey, another side mission. After landing on a pressure pad in the city I get a message from Riddler, who comments on my tendency to want to save people's lives no matter who they are. So he's cooked up another test for me: there's a triple-murderer among the rioters nearby, and unbeknownst to this guy, Riddler has planted a bomb in his head which will explode at dawn. (What is it with Riddler and blowing people's heads up these days?) Anyway, I have to go and fight all those rioters while finding the one with the brain-bomb and deciding whether or not to save him. Also, the bomb monitors the guy's brain activity, and if I knock him out, it goes boom.

    -Batman throws a remote-controlled batarang over the rioters below and it scans each one it flies over until it identifies the one with the bomb. Then Batman throws another remote batarang through an electric current to charge it up and guides it so that it hits the bomb dude, succeeding in shorting the bomb out without detonating it. Riddler comes back on and congratulates me for saving a murderer, a monster, and a moron, and that the gene pool thanks me for my efforts. But there are more doomed men walking around Gotham, he tells me, and I won't prove my "obnoxiously principled" point until I save all of them.
  • -Stumbled across some more guys tormenting a firefighter. And they all have guns. And the space they're in isn't big enough that they'll be splitting up to make it easier for me to take them down one by one anytime soon. Well, thank goodness for smoke-bombs!

    -This guy also mentions a rash of fires springing up before Scarecrow made his big move. Batman says to the rescued firefighter that he needs more clues to be sure, but it seems like there was a serial arsonist at work.

    -Holy crap, did you know that Batman can COUNTER A CAR TRYING TO HIT HIM while he's on foot? It's true! A carful of thugs just tried to run me down, the Counter prompt popped up, and I clicked in time to jump on the hood and stick an explosive in just the right place before jumping off again, causing the car to crash.

    -Overheard mook chatter, specifically militia: "The bat's used to fighting street punks. He's never faced trained soldiers like us before." Oh really? I think Hugo Strange's TYGER guards count.

    -More overheard mook chatter, with one mook assuring another one that the Joker's dead and he shouldn't worry about him, and the other saying that he hates clowns and that he remembers being creeped out by seeing Joker on tv years ago when he ran for president. I...think that actually happened in the comics? Have to check. But anyway, the first guy says that nobody ever figured out how Joker got on the ballot. (This game was released in 2015. In the year since, I would say that the bar below which a person can stand no chance of being elected has dropped significantly.)

    -Nope, nothing on his Wikipedia page about it.

    -Overheard mook chatter: maybe the GOVERNMENT is funding Batman! Because who the hell has enough money by themselves? "Bruce Wayne?" answers somebody. Good guess. The other guy says "Yeah, maybe it's him!" and I honestly can't tell from his tone if he's seriously considering the possibility or just being sarcastic.

    -So, um bad news for Catwoman, looks like. See, the island with the next course the Riddler wants me to take the Batmobile through? I can't get to that island yet. The bridge is raised and there seems to be no way to lower it, even after taking out a militia checkpoint and a watchtower on the other side of the bridge. (Hey, quick question: if you were to set up a watchtower and put six guys or so in it, would you give them only a single gun between them? Because for some reason that's all this one had. Oh well, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess; it made them easier to knock out.) I think that I have to progress further through the main story before I can get the bridge lowered, which means going back to tracking Barbara. Sorry, Selina!
  • -AAAAAAAHHHHHH FUCK! JUMP-SCARE!

    -Okay, want to know what happened? I grappled up onto a building and right when I reached the top the MAN-BAT is there and roaring right in my face in first person view! Goddamn, took me completely by surprise! Now he's flown off and I have no idea how Batman is his usual stoic self after that.

    -Rescued another firefighter and unfortunately he has no idea what might've caused the increase in fires, apart from saying he wouldn't be surprised if it were the Devil himself.

    -New side-mission: get a blood sample from this bat-creature (which has gotta be Man-Bat, right?) in order to better identify and pursure it.

    -I get this thing by flying after the creature, landing on its back, and wrestling it in mid-air until it crashes, at which time I draw some blood before it fights free and flies away. I send the data to Alfred, who determines that while this blood is mutated as all get-out, it partially matches one Dr. Kirk Langstrom. Okay, so it IS Man-Bat.

    -Langstrom and his wife lease a basement laboratory in Chinatown. Upon arriving, Detective Vision reveals nothing. Not on the first floor, nor after the elevator ride one floor down. Oh, wait, might've spoke too soon; behind a door up ahead there's a skeleton lying on the floor. Langstrom's wife? Hopefully she isn't actually dead or anything.

    -Ah shit. Okay, there's a video playing inside the room, a log made my the two scientist spouses, which reveals that they had the idea to splice vampire bat DNA into humans, with the objective of curing deafness. Langstrom himself is the one who gets the treatment first, which results in his transformation, and since his wife was filming the whole thing, him attacking her causes her to drop the camera and results in us not actually seeing the moment of her death, but she drops in front of it at the end with her last facial expression being the one of sheer terror that you'd expect.

    -Kirk's computer has a lot of data, which Batman looks through and figures out how to create a cure which will change him back. That done, all that needs to be done now is finding him again.
  • -Outside the lab, waiting to troll me some more, is.....MARTIAN MANHUNTER! No, not really, it's Joker, and he wonders what it is about dead relatives--like my parents and Langstrom's wife--that causes you to become a giant rodent.

    -I can't actually do anything else for Langstrom right now; trying to select the mission has Batman tell me that the creature is in hiding and I'll just have to wait for it to show up again. So, back to tracking down Barbara.

    -The trail ends at the car the Knight was transporting Barabara in, which has swerved, crashed, and been abandoned. A computerized reconstruction of the crash in Detective Mode shows that the car swerved for some unknown reason, causing the crash, and causing the driver to fly through the windshield and a considerable distance through the air because his parents never taught him the importance of buckling up. Batman decides to locate and examine the body.

    -Aha! The unknown reason the car swerved? The face of the dead driver has PEPPER SPRAY on it! Barbara's work, no doubt, so I guess she's been conscious for quite some time and waiting with the patience of a saint for me to get around to finding her. Next step is looking at where she was sitting in the vehicle, in the passenger seat. (You'd think that they'd keep her in back and have the Knight riding up front to minimize the chances of just this sort of thing happening, but apparently not.)

    -According to the reconstruction, the passenger door was torn off its hinges in the crash and sent flying. The reason for this was because it was opened by the passenger, who bailed before the impact. Now to find out exactly where she landed.

    -May I just pause here to say that the amount of detail Batman's equipment puts into these reconstructions defies belief no matter how much I try to suspend my DISbelief? Like how can you determine from scanning a car not only that the driver went through the windshield, but be able to recreate video of the exact way it happened and the spot he landed? Or precisely when Barbara got out of the car, where exactly SHE landed, and how far she managed to crawl WITHOUT anything like a blood trail or scuff marks or anything?

    -All right, here's the next bit. Oracle dragged herself a ways before somebody fired a gun at her, forcing her to stop. Now we scan the bullet.

    -As you may have guessed, it isn't Deadshot or anybody, but rather the Knight who fired at Barbara after exiting the car. It was a warning shot to make her stop since he couldn't possibly have missed at that range if he wanted to kill her. Anyway, the simulation ends with the Knight picking up Barbara and carrying her out of the frame.

    -Batman guesses that Barbara caused this crash so she could leave a clue for him to find. Sure enough, the reconstruction shows Oracle throwing something under some nearby crates as she was dragging herself along. (Again, HOW can it tell she did this?) It turns out to be a scrambler device which Batman inserts into his gauntlet before calling Lucius to ask him to figure out the Knight's location based on whatever info's on there. Lucius says that he'll get on it, but he's not as good as Barbara at this kind of thing so it'll likely take a while.

    -Batman decides to pass the time by calling Alfred and asking about more side missions. Well, he asks about "Gotham's Most Wanted" to quote him exactly. Anyhoo, Alfred tells us that there's a mysterious hooded figure on some rooftop near a flaming bat symbol. Sounds to me like it could be Azrael from the last game. Alfred also says that the fire station is on fire right now with it looking like an arson since power to the building has been cut.
  • -Overheard mook chatter: one wonders who these militia guys think they are, taking over the city for some freak. That's THEIR job. His friend tells him to be careful since one of those ex-army guys might decide to "get extrajudicial on your ass", which I like the phrasing of.

    -I forgot to mention something last time about what Lucius said: while he did tell me it would take time to get the data we need, he told me to swing by Wayne Tower later to see if he'd found anything out. And I can do that right now, so I can continue the main story any time, I guess. However, "somebody has set fire to the fire station and EVERYBODY INSIDE IS IN DANGER OF BURNING TO DEATH" is not the sort of thing which I feel okay leaving until much later, even if this is a video game and I can procrastinate as much as I want without anybody dying. So I'm doing that next.

    -I burn rubber to the fire station, somehow managing to avoid going off the road and bumping into every last thing for once. The inside is full of fire. (This reminds me of kid I knew who was a real asshole the one time I ever interacted with him, and some time later I heard that he got arrested for setting fire to the fire station, which I guess he did both out of the aforementioned assholishness and a desire to be ironic. Don't know what happened to him after that.) There is a helpful socket on the outside of the building that I can shoot the power winch into, which I can then use to power up the fire suppression systems inside the station. (The power, remember, was cut by the arsonist.)

    -Once they're activated, guess who bursts out of one of the top floor windows? Go on, guess. Did you guess Firefly, like I guessed a lot earlier? Firefly is the correct guess. He says that Batman beat him once, but that was a long time ago. (Even though I didn't play through all of Origins, I know that Firefly was in that game. So I guess they ARE acknowledging it as canon, even if they aren't talking about the events in it too much.) He flies away and I chase after him in the Batmobile, with him shooting back at me as I tail him attempting to get close enough.

    -The first time is NOT the charm here. While I do eventually get close enough for the game to tell me I should press Space twice to take him down, I fuck it up and just eject from the Batmobile while Firefly speeds away. Then I get a message saying he's escaped. So now I just have to keep an eye out for more fires and only THEN will I get another shot at the bastard.

    -Overheard mook chatter: one guy wonders if the Joker's really DEAD-dead. Other guy's pretty sure he's actually dead, like permanently. First guy says he can't believe it, since he thought the Joker would be around forever. You know, like Santa Claus! Well, at least Batman hasn't killed HIM too...

    -Hey, as I'm going around grabbing Riddler trophies I find one in the diner where this whole mess began! Speaking of messes, it is a mess inside, as one would expect.

    -Another firefighter discovered, who's shocked when he's told that his captors are gonna kill him...eventually. See, he thought he was a hostage and they wanted a ransom or something. Why would they need a hostage when they can just take anything they want with the city like this, one mook asks. No, they just have him because they want to have fun torturing and killing him. When the firefighter tells the guy he's crazy, the response is that that's the same thing the mook's probation officer said...before he set him on fire. Did...did Firefly meet all these guys in a support group for violent pyromaniacs or something?

    -This particular one is problematic, because there are sentry guns all around these mooks, and they're unfortunately not all pointing outward so I can't just drop onto these guys without the turrets detecting me and filling me with bullets. So what I need to do here (maybe if I leveled up my gadgets and got some new ones I could hack a turret or something, but I'm not at that point yet) is to get close to each one and sabotage it without being picked up by any of the others. Tricky.

    -Talking to the firefighter after I get it all done has Batman asking him if there was a common accelerant used, which there was: petroleum-based napalm. Yes, napalm. Shit. Anyway, this sounds familiar to Batman, who tells the guy that Firefly likes to use that stuff. The firefighter says that this freak hasn't hit Gotham in, what, ten years? They need to open up the Asylum again, he opines.

    -Well, time to swing by Wayne Tower, I guess. When I get there, Lucius tells me that he's decoded everything and that he's recorded all militia transmissions on my computer. Batman can now scan those for the Knight's voice and determine where he's radioing from.

    -Batman is able to discover the Knight's location: in the tunnels beneath Miagani Island. So that's our next stop, but first Lucius gives me the option of choosing an upgrade for the Batmobile: either a virus that hacks into enemy drones and makes them fight for Batman instead, or stronger weapons. I go with the virus.

    -I also spend some time talking to Lucius afterward. He says that the Knight's suit reminds him of stuff that he designed back in the day. Hmm. Also, he compliments me on the new Batsuit, although he says it looked better on him.

    -Oh hey Joker, you've been unnaturally quiet for a while. Yeah, he's sitting in one of the chairs in the office, telling me that if he was ever really interested in my secret identity then he would have unmasked me years ago, but he didn't when he had the opportunity because he figured the truth would have been a letdown. But he still compliments me on pulling the wool over everybody's eyes by masquerading as Gotham's "least-interesting socialite".

    -There's another bust of somebody or other on the shelf which, just like the one in Oracle's clock tower, performs a retinal scan when activated and makes stuff pop up. The stuff in this case are pods containing Bat-equipment. Lucius laments that I went and spoiled the surprise by doing that, since in one pod there's a new disruptor waiting for me. He says he'll have it ready later on in the evening.

    -Listening to Bruce's answering machine gets me messages from Vicki Vale (who is apologizing about some article that portrayed him in a less-than-flattering light, apparently, and who says she misses him), some girl named Cassie who had lots of fun with Bruce the other night and has lots of cute friends she wants to introduce him to, Kate Kane (Batwoman) who asks if Bruce is coming to her and her girlfriend's engagement party--he taught her the importance of keeping up appearances, after all--and also asks if he's okay, since he's been out of touch for a long time following the whole Arkham City thing.

    -Oh, guess who else has called? If you said Joker, you're wrong this time; it's Lex Luthor. I'm actually a bit disappointed that this version of Lex sounds nothing at all like Clancy Brown. Anyway, Luthor is becoming annoyed that Bruce hasn't gotten back to him about working out a deal for him to buy WayneTech's Applied Sciences division, which Luthor says I don't need as much as I need another billion dollars.

    -Guess who ELSE called? If you said Joker THIS time, you're right. Although he says he's actually Bruce's father and, in a "dad" voice, says that he needs to talk to his son about the whole "dressing up" thing. There's another message, with Joker-in-a-falsetto saying that he's Bruce's mother before he just cracks up in mid-sentence. When he stops laughing he explains that it's funny, you see, because they're dead!

    -While leaving the building via the balcony, Batman radios Alfred to tell him that he's located the Knight in the tunnels. Alfred asks if he should open the tunnel entrance, and Batman tells him to wait until he gets there. Alfred also says there are a lot of drones in that area and that it would be folly to engage them without the Batmobile, which, well, DUH. Anyway, I run into the drones and hear a radio exchange between their commander and the Knight. The commander recommends that the Knight take off before Batman gets to him. The Knight refuses to run off, however, and just tells the commander to take me out. The commander fails.
  • -Alfred opens up the entrance to the tunnels so I can drive in, but I don't get very far before I run into another closed door. Alfred can't open this one because they've locked him out. Fortunately, there's a big fan on the wall above the door, and I'm able to pull that off using the power winch, meaning I can go through the space it formerly occupied.

    -So the thing Batman has Robin working on turns out to be a cure for the fear toxin, as we find out when Robin calls him. He's asking about Barbara, and previous dialogue implied that the two of them were...more than just friends. Batman lies to Robin and says Barbara is fine and is just busy working on something for him. Oh Bruce...

    -Joker approves of my lies, since it's the kind of thing he would do. He sees why I did, though, after the way Gordon reacted to the news. Then he tries to guilt me by saying that maybe if I cared about Barbara as much as Robin does, she wouldn't have been kidnapped in the first place.

    -Ignoring Joker and moving further in just results in me bumping into him again. He says Barbara and Robin (Tim Drake, if you were wondering) are star-crossed, just like Joker and Batman! Shame that Batman is tearing them apart with his silly crusade, though.

    -Joker just WILL NOT GO AWAY now. I've crawled into a ventilation shaft and probably gone less than ten feet when he shows up inside the shaft, recapping the situation for me: Barbara's kidnapped, I'm lying to "Lover-Boy Wonder" about it, and meanwhile Jim Gordon has run off all by himself to try and save the day. Not my best day at the office, he says. Something on my mind? Yes, actually, and it won't shut the fuck up.

    -Oddly, right after I say that, I exit the shaft and get into the room with a ton of militia goons and tanks, with Joker standing around looking down at them but NOT SAYING ANYTHING! YAY, FINALLY! Of course it's too good to last, I'm sure.

    -Yup, he's now telling me to let Robin out of his cage and stop making him slave over my cure. And if that gets Robin killed, I won't have to suffer through the awkwardness of telling him the truth! It's win-win! The game tells me to turn on Detective Vision now, and this hallucination of Joker doesn't extend to Batman's perceptions in that mode, since it doesn't show Joker's skeleton. He's still visible, though, just in monochrome now.

    -Joker asks if I really think anything Robin cooks up can cure my Joker-itis. Nope, he's CHRONIC, he says, LINGERING. There's no cure that'll get rid of him.

    -Dude's a lot more talkative now than he was before. He asks if I remember the old days when it was just me, him, and a war against crime. But now it's literally a war zone, with me right in the center. And he might actually have a point, if the whole reason these guys threatened the city was to use a Batman Gambit against Batman himself, knowing how Batman would react to such a thing.

    -While the game directs me to throw a remote controlled batarang to hit a switch so I can move on, Joker continues: in any war, of course, there are casualties. Death's inevitable...well, not for him as it turns out, but for other people. Then he brings up Talia again, and how it only took one piece of lead to kill my hopes of "happily ever after". Oh, I might blame him for that, but I'm wrong, because it's MY fault that Talia ended up in Joker's crosshairs. See, people believe in me, and they follow me into danger, and then bad things happen to them. You know something? I believe this counts as foreshadowing; I know parts of the plot, and one part of it which we haven't gotten to yet supports Joker's last statement.

    -During all of this, I'm being shown exactly how close I am to the last known location that the Arkham Knight transmitted from. Less than 100 meters away now, as the crow flies. Or the bat, I suppose. Going around obstacles makes it further. And I'm passing over lots and lots and LOTS of mooks which it would take a long time to fight, if even Batman is capable of dispatching that many of them.

    -I'll say this for Joker: it's easy to get turned around in this area and lose track of which direction I'm supposed to be going, but I can identify the path ahead by just looking to see where Joker's hanging out. When I make progress, he disappears from the area I got to (after saying whatever he wants to tell me, of course) and appears in the next area I'm supposed to reach.

    -Well, at last I get to a balcony overlooking a garage full of mooks, and it can't be more than a dozen so it's time to drop onto one of them and commence beat-em-up proceedings.

    -Overheard mook chatter: asked how long he's been down in the tunnels, one says a week. The guy who asked him says HE's been in here a month, but he's been in worse places. Like the time he had to go deep cover in Pena Dura and pretend to be a regular prisoner until the strike team hit the place. (That would be the prison where Bane grew up.) The other mook is thankful that at least they're gonna be able to leave by the end of the night.

    -Oh, beat-em-up proceedings will have to wait; trying to drop down has Batman telling me that I need the Batmobile for this. I actually do notice that I'm on the other side of the door which wouldn't open for the car and caused me to get out in the first place. Hmm, how to open the stupid thing...?
  • -Cabin fever--well, tunnel fever, I suppose--seems to have shortened some of these guys' tempers, with one of them telling another one to finish working on something and the other snapping back that he's doing it as fast as he can.

    -Meanwhile, a mook wonders where the Knight got all this equipment and why he needs it to take out one single Batman. Other mook says that according to the briefing, Batman is very, very good. Still, says the first one, a whole friggin' ARMY? Second one says he'd rather have too many guns than not enough.

    -I can get into another ventilation shaft which takes me below the floor all these guys are standing on. I overhear them talking about Barbara, with one saying they ought to kill her after she got Woods killed, and another saying that Woods got himself killed because he didn't fasten his seatbelt. They also talk about how Barbara can fight and had some "ninja sticks" in her wheelchair which she used to put up a fight when the Knight grabbed her. Another one is pretty sure that they aren't called "ninja sticks". Well, whatever they're called, she had them, and they can't kill her because Scarecrow wants her alive.

    -Joker pops up behind two mooks and throws an arm around each of their shoulders (which they're oblivious to, of course, since he isn't real). He asks me if I see these guys who think they own Gotham and asks what WE are going to do about it.

    -Oh, guess how close this shaft is gonna get me to the Knight? RIGHT INTO THE ROOM WHERE HE LAST TRANSMITTED FROM, that's how close. I suppose I should expect either a confrontation or a trap.

    -BOTH, as it turns out! I pop up out of the shaft in a seemingly empty room, but then the Arkham Knight drops down from the ceiling and knocks me to the floor. He stomps a boot on my chest to hold me down and observes the type of armor the suit's made of, which is very reliable....unless one knows EXACTLY where to shoot, which the Knight does, causing Batman to seem like he might be very badly wounded. Knight tells me not to worry about Barbara, since he'll take better care of her than I ever did. As his back is turned on the seemingly incapacitated Batman, Batman injects himself with something. The Knight then calls his men into the room and instructs them to teach me what happens to people who mess with HIS city.

    -A very big mook (a Militia Brute, which I've faced on a non-story challenge map before this)goes to grab me, but whatever Batman injected himself with seems to have revitalized him since he's able to counter the Brute and stand up to face him. The thing about these guys, however, is that they're armored and can take a LOT of hits. Seconds later it isn't just that guy I'm up against, but a bunch of regular mooks as well, plus a couple of ninja mooks with katanas who are all jumpy-around-dodgy like the League Of Assassins ninjas in Arkham City, and a sentry turret that fires at me from the other room. I need to jump out of the turret's line of sight and lure all the mooks into the room with me where I can knock them all out.

    -And just when I think I'm almost finished with them, another wave of mooks runs in to reinforce the first group. Well, OF COURSE this wouldn't be easy...

    -Just when I think I'm almost done after taking most of THEM down, a THIRD group runs in, and this time they have a medic with them who revives people I've sent to dreamland unless I remove him from the equation. Still not easy, although I've avoided dying thus far, even though my health is very low by now.

    -Whew! Finished that fight, but now there's a problem: a big tank has rammed through the doorway and is firing indiscriminately into the room. Fortunately for me, it can't get all the way into the room and is currently stuck in the partially-wrecked doorway, meaning it can only fire straight ahead and I can take as long as I need to stay out of the line of fire and figure out how to disable it or sneak past.

    -Well fuck me sideways, Joker's actually being helpful for once! He's standing near a panel and rubbing it, which naturally draws my attention to the thing. This must be what I break into in order to open the big door and get the Batmobile in here.

    -The Knight really doesn't know me very well, Joker opines. He actually thinks I'm trapped. What kind of supervillain thinks that a bullet to the stomach and a bunch of tanks will stop the Batman?

    -Joker asks if he can drive the Batmobile with the remote. No, no, I got this, thank you very much. The car shoots through the door since it can do that now, and engages the tanks. It's a bit tougher than usual since I'm in a narrow tunnel and have less space in which to dodge, but I do destroy all of the nearby tanks without the Batmobile taking too many hits. Then I get in the car and drive down the tunnel to confront the Knight and rescue Barbara, with luck.

    -After opening another door, the Knight is behind it and jumping into an armored car to speed away while ordering his men to stop me. Alfred comes on the line to tell me that he only picks up a single warm body in that vehicle, and that Barbara must be elsewhere. A high-speed chase through the streets of Gotham ensues with me having to take out the Knight's vehicular escort before firing on his car. Much property damage and crashing into things ensues, but when it's all said and done his car can't take any more hits and flips end over end.

    -Oh, um, the guy who was driving this car is a decoy and not the real Knight. I...think a disturbing scene is coming up here. I heard about this and if it's what I think, I am NOT looking forward to it. The game, you see, wants me to interrogate this guy...

    -FUCK. All right, here's what happened. The mook taunted me about chasing the wrong man as I removed his voice-changer that made him sound like the Knight. The REAL Knight came on the line and asked if I actually believed I could monitor his broadcasts without him knowing. See, he knows how Batman thinks, which means he knows how to beat him. The mook--rather stupidly, given that Batman is not only willing to torture information out of people but is also quite angry now--says that the Knight is with Barbara and then TAUNTS Batman about what might be happening to her right now. And that's when things get ugly, with Batman using the remote to bring the Batmobile over and get one wheel in position to RUN OVER THE GUY'S HEAD.

    -At first I thought that maybe I could do this with just the threat of having his head crushed looming over him and I wouldn't actually have to do anything. Press "W" to intimidate, the game told me. Well, pressing "W" revs the engine, but in order to get results you actually need to HOLD IT DOWN so that the wheel makes contacts and begins grinding into the guy's head. Yes, it's disturbing, and no, he doesn't talk until you've tortured him with the wheel for several seconds.

    -The information he gives is that the Knight has gone to see Penguin, who's contributed to this effort by providing safehouses around the city. Batman isn't satisfied with this even though the guy says he knows nothing else, and tortures him with the wheel some more until he offers up something else: the name of the company Penguin uses is "North Refrigeration". After that, Batman mercifully knocks him out.

    -I really, really, REALLY hope that this is the last time this fucking game uses the "Torture Always Works" trope. Because for one thing it doesn't (the guy could have told Batman that the name of the company was, oh, "Polar Refrigeration" or something and sent him on a wild goose chase), and for another thing it would be fucking wrong even if it did work. Look, I can tolerate it when superheroes just scare the shit out of people and get information that way, or if they bluff, but it's stuff like this which bothers me a lot.
  • -Batman tells Alfred to find information on the Penguin's company, which Alfred says he'll do and then puts Lucius on. Lucius says that my Batmobile upgrade is ready and he'll send the Batwing to deliver it. Finally, Alfred comes back on and says that he's figured out the exploit that the Knight used to call me directly a minute ago, and asks if I want him to lock him out so he can't radio me again. Batman says no, since he wants the Knight to talk as much as possible so he can learn more about him.

    -The Batwing flying in is noticed by the Knight's forces, and drones are sent to the rendezvous location, which gives me a chance to try out my new drone-infecting virus. The computer says that not only can it turn ONE drone against its allies, but several if the conditions are right. (I guess if I build up enough of a combo.)

    -After the battle, Alfred informs me that Nightwing has actually been investigating the Penguin's "North Refrigeration" company for a while now and has some info on it. Batman asks Alfred to give it to him but he says that Nightwing insists on a face to face, and tells me where he'll be waiting. There's also a new side mission: the Knight's sent his lieutenants into the city and I can go after their vehicles if and when I wish.

    -Nightwing's there as promised, and Batman tells him that he shouldn't have come because Batman can be a dick sometimes. Nightwing starts to say that when he heard about Barb, he--Batman cuts him off by demanding what he knows about North Refrigeration. Resigned that Batman's gonna Batman, Nightwing says that Penguin's company is using refrigeration trucks to smuggle weapons from Bludhaven. Batman concludes that if he can follow one of those trucks, he can find Penguin. "Huh, if only you knew someone who'd been tracking their movements," Nightwing answers, and it so happens that one of the trucks is right below them, likely the reason Nightwing chose this place to rendezvous.

    -Batman didn't think that Nightwing would come here without a plan, did he, asks Nightwing. Batman tells Nightwing to go away while he takes care of this because, again, Batman is being a dick and an unreasonable one. Nightwing protests because Bruce can't do all this on his own, but Batman counters that Dick is needed in Bludhaven more than he is here. (Seriously? How are things worse in Bludhaven right now than they are in Gotham?) Nightwing gives in, but not before giving Batman the new disruptor that Lucius showed him earlier, which can not only sabotage guns and shit but can also track vehicles. It's the size of an assault rifle, but I guess Batman has space for it somewhere.

    -Using the disruptor on a gun once makes it not work. Using the disruptor on the same gun again means not only will it not fire, but it'll explode when the trigger is pulled, taking out the wielder and anybody close by. Not too shabby.

    -Once that's done, I jump down off the rooftop and begin hitting people. Joker's sitting on top of the van watching me work, because of course he is.

    -There are still a couple of mooks chilling in the van (I know I know, it's a REFRIGERATION company van and they're CHILLING, but I swear I was not going for a pun when I typed that), and somehow they didn't hear any of the stuff going on outside. Batman shoots the van with a tracker and then knocks on the door. A mook opens it expecting that it's one of his friends, freaks out when he sees Batman, and then he and his buddy jump into the front of the van and speed off. Batman think "Subtlety always works". REALLY. SUBTLETY LIKE GRINDING A WHEEL AGAINST A GUY'S HEAD TO MAKE HIM TALK? Goddamn it. Look, don't get me wrong, I actually LIKE that he's being an actual detective here and acquiring information by being sneaky instead of brutalizing people, but it's inconsistent as fuck given what he did not ten minutes earlier.

    -All right, I'll just calm down and type the next part here, which is that all Batman needs to do now is follow the van.

    -Oh, not QUITE that simple, because using the Batmobile will make them realize I'm following them. On top of that, they're already worried I'm doing exactly that, since one shoots down the other's suggestion that they go back to their hideout by saying that they'll just lead Batman right to the boss. Asked what to do then, the second guy has no ideas better than "Just drive around and hope we can lose him!" So I need to follow them via gliding and grappling, and make sure not to be spotted. Fortunately, the tracker lets me see their location even when buildings and shit are in the way, so staying behind those while keeping tabs on them seems like it'll get me what I want.

    -They get to their heavily-guarded destination after crowing to each other about how they were able to shake my pursuit even driving a piece of crap like that. Sure guys, keep tempting fate. One of the guards asks if they were followed. "Batman tried, but we scared him off." Yes, that is exactly how it happened.

    -Preparing to sneak up on everybody and knock them out I first sabotage one of two sentry turrets covering the place. Unfortunately this is discovered and they're soon watching out for me. Oh well, just have to be a bit more careful now...crap, just died. Okay, try again.

    -Once that's finished, I get to drop into the building and spy on Penguin giving a speech to his troops. Right now the plan is for them to keep selling weapons to anybody who pays, but that arrangement is strictly temporary, and as soon as Batman's dead then Penguin plans to turn on all the other villains and claim Gotham for himself. Two-Face is mentioned specifically as a target.

    -Now people might be wondering "Hey Trout, if you wouldn't use torture to get information out of people, what WOULD you use?" Well, I just got an idea. Batman previously used a sample of the Knight's voice that he recorded in order to track the guy down, so he can record stuff. It wouldn't take a whole lot of foresight for him to anticipate that he might hear something interesting upon dropping into this building and start recording everything Penguin said. So once he gets to Penguin, he blackmails him with that. "How do you think Harvey will react to hearing you plan to doublecross him, Cobblepot?"

    -Sliding down a ventilation shaft so I can spring up through the floor and start attacking everybody, Joker's all excited over taking them by surprise when they have no idea we're right underneath them.

    -Actually, Batman just bursts up through the floor and grabs Penguin for immediate interrogation. He doesn't take my approach, he just threatens to break every bone in Penguin's body and Penguin tells him where the Knight's gone, which is to meet some pharmaceutical magnate by the name of Simon Stagg. Meanwhile, individual mooks are trying to hit Batman and he counters them away while continuing to hold Penguin. After he's finished, he throws Penguin into two guys pointing guns at him and ordering him to put their boss down. Penguin stumbles out of the room saying that the info won't do me any good, because Scarecrow's still gonna break me, and then two mooks grab Batman from behind, holding one arm each. A third one strides up and tells them to hold me steady as he lines up for a swing with a baseball bat--but then Nightwing bursts into the room and takes him out. "This is you handling it, right?" Batman deserves that. Anyway, no need to thank him, Nightwing says, before springing away to hit somebody else, and now I'm free to counter the guys holding onto me and do some fighting of my own.

    -Oh, cool, this is like fighting alongside Catwoman earlier where I can choose which of the two I fight as. Naturally I pick Nightwing, both because it's nice to play as somebody different for a change and because he's not gotten on my nerves at all, which is more than can be said for his mentor.

    -Batman decides to destroy all the arms stored here so that they won't fall into the wrong hands before moving on. Talking to Nightwing after the fight not only has him observe him coming in to save my ass is just like old times, but also wonder about the Arkham Knight. Guy had to pick that name for a reason, right? Yes Nightwing, he did, and all will be revealed later.

    -As Batman enters the vault with the weapons, Nightwing insists on helping. Batman snarls that he said Nightwing should be in Bludhaven, and Nightwing comes back that these shipments affect Bludhaven and as that city's defender it's in his interests to stop them here at the source. So Batman relents and tells him to look around for more evidence showing where additional caches might be. After that, we meet Joker inside the vault who treats us to his Penguin impression and makes fun of his former rival, guessing that Penguin just uses the accent to try and seem scary.

    -Okay, this is actually funny. Batman backs away from the vault after spraying the weapons with explosive gel and starts closing the door, with Joker still in there. Joker begs not to be locked in there with the explosion and offers to do Batman's laundry, help Alfred, anything! Of course I wasn't expecting that this would get rid of the Joker, and of course right after the vault closes the Joker appears on the safe side of the door in front of Batman. The funny part is him jerking his thumb back towards the vault and saying "I wouldn't wanna be THAT guy!"
  • edited 2016-08-20 10:42:44

    -On the way out, Batman runs into some militia guys setting up to ambush him. Joker tells me to just let him handle it, since they'll never see him coming. Although he's probably a bit rusty, it's been a while, he just needs to limber up and then we can all marvel at his Joker moves. (Actually, I remember Joker being a pre-order bonus for Arkham Asylum back when that game was released, so I guess he CAN actually, canonically, fight against multiple people and win. I never did get to play as him, though.)

    -Oh boy, I took a step or two too close to the hostiles and they started shooting. It was no problem for me to grapple up onto a vantage point and get out of the way of the bullets, but Joker put on a big show of being riddled with gunfire before flopping onto his back and acting dead.

    -The key, as it turns out, is using the remote to bring the Batmobile around and fire at the blockade from behind. 

    -The next step is getting up to Simon Stagg's airships, a couple of blimps in the air above Founder's Island. Founder's Island is also the location of the next Riddler challenge, the island I couldn't get to because the bridge was up. It turns out to be a good thing I wasn't able to drive there, though, as Alfred tells me that the militia have radar and missile launchers and shit set up on that island which could blow my car up as soon as it appeared. So Batman needs to disable all that shit.

    -Hmm, this is interesting. The militia radio that they have Stagg's blimps "hooked and tethered", and the Knight talks about getting ready to interrogate Stagg. So I guess Stagg isn't as buddy-buddy with the villains as I first thought based on what Penguin said. The Knight also orders an escort for Scarecrow, who wants to go aboard the airship with Stagg.

    -Incidentally, the mooks I'm overhearing are pretty angry that Nightwing's here, some because they don't like him trespassing on what they feel is their turf and others because they hold grudges against him for being the crimefighter who fought their crimes in the past.

    -On Founder's Island, there's a watchtower full of militia which Stagg's blimp is tethered to. One of the mooks has a device that picks up when Batman uses his Detective Mode, though, and if it's used for too long then they'll be alerted. Well, that sucks.
  • -Upon loading the game to pick up where I left off I get a replay of Batman's observations of the scene, and it turns out I wasn't paying close attention the first time; the mook with the device not only will be able to pick up when I'm using Detective Vision in the area, but he'll be able to TRACK me. I saw him doing it when I had it on, trying to figure out exactly where I was. Fortunately I turned it off in time, and got him with a silent takedown moments later.

    -Hey, these mooks DO know what to expect from me! Because one of them tells the other "He WANTS you to panic! Keep it together!" Why yes, seeing them panic IS quite satisfying.

    -The Knight's kind of a bad boss as his guys get knocked out. He tells them that they're supposed to be the very best and that they aren't worthy of the training he gave them. Also that he taught them every move I had and they still weren't able to see me coming. "Pathetic!"

    -After the last pathetic guard is knocked out, Batman blows up the console controlling all the sentry turrets and drones, which removes those particular obstacles. A call is placed to Alfred, who reports that there's a hatch on top of Stagg's airship I can enter through, but that I should expect security to be high since he's very protective of his research. Well, I was already expecting that, but thanks.

    -Batman then calls Lucius and asks if the remote hacking device is ready. It is, and the game tells me that I need to go to Wayne Plaza (which is a different location than Wayne Tower) to pick it up.

    -Yup, the remote hacking device is apparently needed to open up the hatch on the airship, which Alfred didn't mention but which Batman just kind of guessed right about. Also, as soon as I grab the device and turn around, there's Joker sitting on the guardrail. If he were still alive, then all it would take to turn him dead would be a little push. But he's dead, so I can't.

    -More trolling from Joker, saying he sees why I like it up here; it's a good place to ponder big questions. Such as "Is Oracle dead?" and "Is it all my fault?"

    -Inside the airship is a floor. Lying on the floor are Stagg's guards, all of whom are deceased. Standing on the floor and NOT deceased are three of the Knight's boys, one of whom is piloting a drone around and telling the other two about what it can do. This drone, it turns out, can lock onto three targets simultaneously! But wait, one of the other guys asks, why three if they only need to go after one Batman? "Why, so Batman can hack it and use it to neutralize the THREE of us!" says the drone operator...well no, what he actually says is that the extra two are just a bonus, but I figure that's what I'll be doing to get past them.

    -Tempting fate some more, the drone operator gives his pals a demonstration by making the drone target them, which makes them nervous. But he tells them not to worry, because see, the white light on the drone is on, meaning it's identified them as friendly. Now, just HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, if the RED light went on, then the drone would see them as hostile and attack them. What do we do then, asks the guy the drone currently sees as friendly. The answer is that then you stay out of its way. At least the operator didn't scoff at the notion, which would be tempting fate even MORE.

    -Yup, this baby is UNHACKABLE, says the operator. Only he can control it with the device he's holding. "Doesn't that make you the weak link?" asks another guy. "There is NOTHING weak about me," boasts the overconfident drone operator.

    -So it is true that I can't just immediately target the drone and override the mook's control of it. What I CAN do, however, is to target his control device and download control codes from the thing, which I can THEN use to target the drone and override the mook's control of it. Which I prepare to do.

    -Targeting the drone gives me the option of having it incapacitate all three of them with a click, and when I have that option the red light on the drone lights up, causing the militia to get nervous and ask the operator why it thinks they're hostiles all of a sudden. He says it's nothing, the drone is...calibrating, yes, calibrating, that must be it. No, it's getting ready to zap you all. ZAP! Down you go!

    -Um, how did the Riddler put a trophy on this airship for me to find? Oh well, never mind. Gift horse. Mouth. Avert eyes.
  • -Joker's not here to troll, but to help (this time)! He observes that a trapdoor nearby looks MIGHTY INVITING. I had actually noticed it before, but forgot about it as I explored. There's a ladder underneath it that goes someplace. The trapdoor is partially covered by a reall enormous container, however. How enormous? Well, Joker says that it's gotta be even bigger than my codpiece, so there's no possible way I'll be able to move it.

    -Alfred asks what's up, and Batman says that while he hasn't found Stagg, he's seen that the mooks working for the Knight and Scarecrow have been through here and killed everybody. Alfred wonders what their plans are, and Batman says that his first priority is saving Barbara and he can worry about dealing with them afterwards. Alfred says that Barbara would want my first priority to be capturing Scarecrow, which would put an end to all the danger the city is in, but Batman is not willing to lose anybody else.

    -Ah, I think I see what the game wants me to do. The stability controls of this airship can be overridden with the remote hacking device. I suppose if I were to tilt this thing, then that container might slide off of the trapdoor.

    -And that's exactly what happens. The container slides off the trapdoor and crashes into the booth housing both the controls and also Batman (who has to stay near the controls since the device will lose its connection if he goes too far away). The glass cracks but doesn't break, and now I can climb down.

    -Climbing down means that while I'm LOWER than I was before, I'm not actually going to get far enough away from the stability controls to lose the connection unless I move further horizontally. Which is good, because I need to tilt the blimp again so that the part I'm standing in moves away from something blocking my way and allows me to drop down further.

    -I find more enormous containers which are locked in place magnetically. However, I'm able to turn off the magnetic field with the remote hacking device, and then tilt the ship again to make them slide away so I can proceed.

    -There's LOTS of Riddler trophies on this ship! I think I just picked up my fourth since boarding. Anyway, there's a room beyond with many unarmed mooks to be beaten up or something.

    -YIPES! I grappled up into a hatch to try to get into that room, and there was one of those big guys from the militia--Militia Brutes, remember--waiting for me and greeting me with a slash of a blade springing from his gauntlet which Batman only JUST dodged. Oh, he has another one popping out of his other gauntlet as well. Yes, the big and strong enemies in this game aren't just big and strong, but they have weapons too sometimes.

    -The game kind of forced me to do a Blade Dodge Takedown here. If you've never played any game in this franchise, that's where you have to dodge an enemy's attacks with a bladed weapon X number of times, and if you don't get hit then it results in the attacker leaving himself (or herself, since female ninjas in Arkham City would do this all the time) open for Batman to grab and knock out. However, since this Brute is Big And Strong as mentioned before, dodging four slashes from his blades only results in Batman hitting him and him shrugging it off and trying again. Only after dodging another four slashes is Batman able to put his lights out.

    -Ooooo, now that I'm perched in the shadows overlooking the room with all the mooks in it, Batman observes that they are interrogating Simon Stagg and that from the looks of things he probably won't last much longer. These guys want to know where some files are, and they are proving they can be just as cruel in their interrogations as Batman, if not worse, since the guy who is literally twisting Stagg's arm right now to immobilize him is threatening to remove his fingers one at a time, for starters.

    -Stagg is, for now, refusing to divulge the location of the files aboard the ship, because they're HIS, dammit, not Scarecrow's! But the militia is determined to get them, and the interrogator tells Stagg that while he WILL die, his cooperation or lack thereof will determine how many pieces he gets buried in and how much he suffers. Anyway, time to drop down onto these fucks and get to work.

    -I said they were unarmed, but there is actually another Brute down there with his own set of gauntlet-knives. Fortunately for me, some of the normal mooks are also carrying batons, which I'm able to grab after they're dropped and use in the fight. That makes things a LOT easier. For one thing, it only takes a handful of hits with the stick to knock out the Brute, whereas if I used my fists I'd need to stun him and then hit him two or three dozen times.

    -As you might expect, Stagg is very happy I dropped in. I ask him what he did to get the militia's attention, and he says he doesn't know, they just showed up and attacked. Batman asks about something I forgot to type, namely that while Stagg was being tortured, other mooks were trying to collect cylinders in the room. Batman wants to know what the cylinders are, and Stagg says they're some kind of clean energy source thingy.

    -Batman also wants to know where Scarecrow is, with Stagg telling him that Scarecrow went onto the second blimp. Did he have anybody with him, Batman wants to know. Stagg gathers that he means Barbara Gordon, but wait, how does Stagg know--WAIT, WHY IS STAGG GONE AND JOKER STANDING IN THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS?!

    -Joker tells me that he thinks both of us know that Barbara's dead by now and then goes into a laughing fit, before HE vanishes. And then, quite creepily, I see three of the mooks I knocked out rise up like fucking zombies. Followed by a few more, and then a few more, until all of them are standing. But they aren't attacking or anything, they're just standing in place, at least right now.

    -Wow. As I rotate the view to look at all the mooks, I see that now I'm not surrounded by militia any more, I'm surrounded by Jokers, and all of them are laughing. The game lets me attack them and I do, one-shotting Joker after Joker after Joker, but then in the blink of an eye I'm on the ground with all the Jokers holding me down and one of them pressing his face right up against mine and laughing. "Press space to Struggle." Yeah, I struggle, and I saw my eyes beginning to close before I started so I don't guess anything good would have resulted if I didn't bother.

    -Then, after struggling against the Jokers, they're suddenly gone, and a dazed Batman finds himself on the floor in an empty room. He picks himself up and overhears a militia mook telling someone that their target has been secured. Batman looks up and sees that Stagg has been captured by some more militia guys and is now in a pod that's moving away from Batman, and from this entire section of the airship. Stagg is scared, and the mook tells him "Wave goodbye, that's the last time you'll see him."
  • edited 2016-08-21 05:55:53
    -Batman calls Alfred to tell him that Stagg's been taken to the other airship, and Alfred says that it's defended by sentry turrets. Fortunately, there's a security terminal on THIS blimp which can be used to disable the turrets on the other one.

    -Joker's here--just a single one, thankfully--and he chuckles. He says he could feel me losing control there. Just a little more of that delicious fear gas, he says, and it'll be all over...for me, that is, not for him.

    -Scarecrow also chooses this moment to talk to me over the PA, asking if I really thought I'd beaten him just by stopping the explosion at Ace Chemicals. He taunts me about Barbara and asks if I can imagine her cowering in the darkness, cursing the hero who failed her. He COULD have her killed right now, and it would be cruel and sadistic, but no, he won't do that yet. He has plans for her, and for me as well.

    -As I make my way to the room with the terminal, Joker pops up again and he hopes I'm not upset about what happened back there. He wasn't trying to kill ME or anything, he was just trying to kill my MIND, he explains, so we're still pals, right? Yeah, friends for life! Then he tells me not to blame him; blame Scarecrow and his "Joker-liberating miracle tonic".

    -Lots of mooks with guns guarding my objective, with the Knight telling them to expect me. One of them says there's no way I'm stupid enough to try anything. NUH-UH, I AM TOO STUPID ENOUGH!!!! (This group has both a guy with a device to track me whenever I use Detective Mode PLUS a guy piloting a drone, though, so it won't be a walk in the park.)

    -The Knight sarcastically congratulates me after I'm done with his boys, telling me it's nice work but let's be honest: it's the new suit, not the worn-out hero inside. (I wonder how old Bruce canonically is in the Arkhamverse, since the Knight keeps on bringing it up, and even Catwoman commented on Batman getting older.)

    -Huh, this isn't very nice to discover: I find some caged up apes (chimps maybe?) further back in the room, and Detective Vision tells me that their condition is "terrified" despite there being nothing here to scare them. Was Stagg experimenting on them? Animal Man would not approve. (Not as written by Grant Morrison, at least.)

    -There's another monkey (or whatever) in another cage in another part of the room which I need to use to solve a Riddler puzzle to get a trophy, like I can open up doors to different parts of its enclosure so that it goes in there and stands on the right pressure pads, I guess. I started to feel bad about using a terrified simian for something like this until I looked at Detective Vision and it told me that she or he was "calm", so that makes it not so bad. (Also, just to be thorough, Detective Vision tells me that none of the primates are armed.)

    -Hey, I noticed something just now when looking at the calm monkey, so I went back and looked at the frightened ones, and it turns out that all of them have kind of metal headband thing on them.

    -While I've been exploring this blimp I have come across a few doors that I couldn't open because they had fingerprint scanners; only Stagg's fingerprints would unlock them. Now that I'm at the security terminal I find that his prints are also required to shut down the guns on the other airship. Batman's solution is to look at CCTV camera footage to see what Stagg touched while he was still on board, and hopefully get prints from that surface.

    -The footage from the first camera I look at shows Stagg relaxing in a chair with his hands behind his head as he leans back. He doesn't get to chill too long, though, as the Arkham Knight silently walks into the frame (there's no sound to go with the video, but I have to assume the Knight wasn't making any noise since Stagg didn't react to his footsteps), grabs Stagg from behind and throws him to the floor before dragging him elsewhere. Batman makes a note that Stagg left handprints on the floor, and then decides to look for other areas that might have good prints.

    -Man, I don't know what Stagg might have been up to or how ethical it was, but I'm feeling sorry for him here as I see him either get thrown down some stairs by the Knight or fall down them by accident. Oh, Batman observes that Stagg was "thrown" down the stairs as I discover another place where his hand was flat against the floor. As if that weren't bad enough, the Knight catches up to him, grabs him, and then tosses him down the flight below that. Damn, dude, rage issues much? Also it's kind of stupid, since Stagg could break his neck or something from being thrown down these stairs, and then how would the Knight get any information from him?

    -Once Batman's gone over an hour's worth of security camera footage of Stagg being thrown around and breaking his many falls with his hands, he sets off to scan those locations and hopefully get a full set of prints. Joker is waiting nearby, of course. Am I really going to reconstruct a match from all these itty-bitty pieces? Speaking of itty-bitty pieces, Joker wonders how Barbara's doing.

    -Now that Batman has all of Stagg's prints and has modified his glove to simulate Stagg's hand, he's able to access the ship's computer. It turns out that he CAN'T disable the other ship's guns from here, but he can fire the guns on THIS ship at the other one, destroying the second ship's turrets that way. With that done, there's nothing stopping Batman from gliding across to the other blimp.

    -Shit, I solved one of Riddler's riddles and it unlocked a story. A story of Stagg doing something terrible to somebody. Suddenly I don't feel quite as sorry for him. Look at this: http://arkhamcity.wikia.com/wiki/Arkham_Knight_City_Stories#Lab_Rat

    -Going by that story, I suppose that the monkeys in those cages are reacting to some kind of fear-inducing agent, and if Stagg were doing research on that sort of thing then that would explain why Scarecrow would take an interest.

    -Alfred calls with a report on his investigation of who this Arkham Knight may be. Batman had previously asked him to look into former inmates at Arkham City, and Alfred is finished now: none of those people match the Knight's profile. Batman tells him to widen the search, as many inmates escaped when things got chaotic in the last game. He tells Alfred to search for young men with military experience.

    -Batman come across a roomful of mooks, including two medics. One medic zaps a regular mook with electricity, with the non-medic finding it momentarily painful and asking what the hell the idea is. The medic explains that he's helping; anybody who touches the guy now will get a shock. I've faced guys like this before on the Iceberg Lounge challenge map in this game. (Iceberg Lounge debuted as DLC for Arkham City, but when making this game the devs apparently asked players which past maps they wanted to be included, and Iceberg Lounge was one of the most popular requests.) The trick to dealing with them is to use the Batclaw: as soon as that touches them and pulls them forward, it also absorbs the shock and allows Batman to hit them afterwards. And if I hadn't already known that then I would have learned it quickly, since right after the fight starts the game tells me to use the Batclaw.

    -Soon as those guys are all out, Lucius calls to inform me that another Batmobile upgrade is ready. I can either take stronger weapons or an EMP pulse. I choose the pulse. Lucius assures me that the Batmobile will be immune to it. Well, I should fucking hope so!
  • For once, or maybe twice, I was in my prime.

    (Also, just to be thorough, Detective Vision tells me that none of the primates are armed.)

    image
  • @MetaFour: Heh, yeah, and I guess Gorilla Grodd is also somewhere in the Arkhamverse. Can't be too careful! :p

    -Batman makes a dramatic entrance by smashing through a window on the other airship and slamming into a mook in the room. Another fight, another collection of unconscious militia people.

    -Hmm, Scarecrow comes on the PA to tell his mooks that Stagg hadn't gotten the Cloudburst (I don't know what that is yet, but I'm sure I'll find out) ready to deploy before they captured his airships, so they'll have to set it up themselves. He tells men to get to work in Biological Engineering and not to fail him. This sounds like it could be bad for Gotham.

    -So yeah, right now I'm in a lab, and there are big jars full of liquid containing partial human skeletons. There is also a dead scientist stuck in a cage. Did Scarecrow put him there, or did Stagg?

    -Once again I hack into the stability controls of an airship so that I can tilt it, in this case because I want to make a big container slide into a glass wall obstructing my progress. (For some reason the game wouldn't let me just blow the wall up with explosive gel.) I really have to wonder what all the bad guys are thinking when I do this and if I'm causing any of them to fall over.

    -Oh, more puzzle pieces are falling into place. Batman comes across a cell with some dead bodies in it, and the computer nearby plays a recording of Stagg. Stagg is happy with the results of his latest creation, which apparently was responsible for the people in the cell dying. It goes through clothing and gas masks and anything else, being absorbed through the skin and eyes, with horrifying results. He says that this stuff could be very lucrative if combined with the Cloudburst (there's another reference to that thing), but that Dr. Crane is uninterested in the potential for profit here; instead, he wants to use this stuff as part of a personal vendetta! (Against Batman, of course.) Stagg decides that it's time to dissolve his partnership with Scarecrow and makes a note to leave Gotham since Scarecrow's likely to be kind of pissed about Stagg bailing on him. Well, you didn't get going fast enough, Simon.

    -An earlier log entry--located on a computer outside a cell with a dead body inside, strapped to a bed--records the poor bastard begging for mercy and crying that he wants to go home, and Stagg ignoring him while impassionately commenting on how human testing has thus far been a disappointment. The Cloudburst, on the other hand, works fine, though he hasn't told Crane that just yet. He wants to perfect Scarecrow's formula first.

    -More logs. In one, Stagg talks about how Crane is wasting his creation; it could be used to cure depression or turn an army against itself, but all Scarecrow wants to do is frighten people with it. Stagg is determined to take advantage of Scarecrow approaching him for the Cloudburst technology to refine Scarecrow's fear toxin and use it to make himself a lot of money. In another log, Stagg notes that the patient he's speaking to has been exposed to the toxin two weeks previous, and asks how he is. The poor guy can't even speak coherently, only blubber. Stagg notes "mild terror, permanent damage, not good enough." Fucking bastard. I hope he gets a dose of this stuff himself before he dies.

    -In another log, Stagg is audibly happy, starting out with "Now we're getting somewhere!" He notes that in fact, they had to restrain the patient, and when he addresses said patient, the guy rants that he'll kill everybody.

    -Oh, Joker appears in an empty cell and mimics an announcer from a drug commercial while talking about the "possible side effects" of fear toxin. Then he cackles and says that the logs just make this stuff sound better and better.

    -Batman places a call to Alfred and lets him know that Scarecrow and Stagg were working together on this Cloudburst. He gives Alfred access to Stagg's computer network and asks him to find out what the Cloudburst is.

    -Oh, looks like I might get my wish. See, I enter a room just in time to see Stagg being thrown into a cell by a REALLY big militia guy, bigger even than the Brutes. This guy's carrying a gun like the Heavy's from TF2. Stagg is protesting that he has money and trying to buy his way free, but the guy with the minigun says that even with all that money he couldn't resist betraying Scarecrow at the prospect of a little more. Stagg says he's sorry, and the militia guy says that Stagg will REALLY be sorry when the fear toxin starts pumping into the cell. Stagg is horrified because he's seen what that stuff does. (Because, of course, he himself was administering it to innocent people.) He cries out for somebody to save him. I'm in no particular hurry.

    -The minigunner tells everybody that they have two goals: get the Cloudburst powered up and keep Batman from getting to the boss. He tells them that if they fail at either one of those, then he will personally make sure they share Stagg's fate. Speaking of the big guy, Batman notes that taking him out isn't something which he can do quickly enough to get away before the other mooks arrive to help him, so I should take him down last.

    -Overheard mook chatter before I start taking them out: Scarecrow wasn't happy when he heard that the Knight had shot Batman. The only reason that the Knight didn't finish me off is because he knew Scarecrow had bigger plans.

    -Okay, I died on my first attempt, and the death screen was an exasperated Joker telling me that if HE had been in charge then this never would have happened. That was kind of amusing, actually.

    -Here's some hypocrisy from the Knight: after I take out a few of his guys, he tells me that anybody can choke a man out when his back is turned and that I should have the courage to fight his guys head-on. Excuse me, Mr. Arkham Knight, but didn't YOU jump me from behind earlier in the story?

    -After everybody's down (and in order to take down the "Heavy", I needed to fight him and counter him several times as he swung his gun at me as a melee weapon before he was finally knocked out), the Knight radios Scarecrow and tells him that the mooks have stopped reporting in, which obviously means that Batman is there. Scarecrow doesn't want to leave yet, since the Cloudburst isn't ready. But the Knight says that they can't stay and they'll have to power up the Cloudburst off site. He orders his men to begin extraction.

    -Stagg eagerly asks Batman to let him out, and Batman angrily responds that Stagg lied to him and he would get only one more chance. Stagg nervously admits that Scarecrow came to him for the Cloudburst. Now, if this were me and I wanted Stagg to tell me stuff, I would have gotten him out of that cell immediately, but Batman doesn't do that. He just demands Stagg tell him what the Cloudburst does, and before Stagg has gotten a full sentence out the fear gas begins pumping into the cell. Batman asks Stagg again to tell him about the Cloudburst, but Stagg can't hear him any more; he's just panicking. Batman says he ought to leave Stagg to his nightmare but uses the Batclaw to pull him into the cage bars and knock him out.

  • -I enter a door marked "Cloudburst Chamber" and Joker's ready on the other side to tell me this is be big moment of truth where I can get Scarecrow and rescue Barbara, if I don't fuck it all up of course.

    -Inside I see Scarecrow from behind as he works at a console. I also see a second Scarecrow from behind as he works on an identical console. Joker pops up in front of them and plays game show host for the "Pick The Real Scarecrow" show.

    -Yeah, the one I pick has the Joker under the hood, and as soon as I see that the other Scarecrow shoots gas in my face from the other side. As Batman writhes on the floor coughing Scarecrow stands over him gloating evilly. But then Scarecrow is surprised when Batman speaks in the Joker's voice and springs up to grab him by the throat. Okay, now Batman looks kind of freaky, since his eyes are all insanely bugged out and the skin on his face has turned pale with veins showing. To all appearances, Joker (or a copy of the Joker's personality) has taken control. "Joker" marvels at the great body he has now and how strong it is. Then he proceeds to beat up a bunch of militia mooks who are wondering what the hell is wrong with Batman to make him act so out of character. Meanwhile, there are many other Jokers filling the room, watching the fight and cheering on the guy in the cape and cowl.

    -After the fight, Scarecrow paces around me and marvels at how brutal I was, how I was ready to abandon my beliefs, how I almost killed those men. The game lets me hit him, and then I'm surrounded by Jokers telling me to finish it, kill him, he's no better than the creep who killed my parents. One Joker literally puts his mouth right up to Batman's ear and whispers for him to do it. Then Batman's holding a gun, which he fires, to the approval of all the Jokers. After that, reality seems to reassert itself; Batman's skin changes back to normal, and he slumps to his knees in exhaustion.

    -Scarecrow is behind him, alive and standing, and he observes that Batman is very different. Joker chimes in to say that I'm a work in progress. Anyway, Batman picks himself up and tells Scarecrow that he's trapped and can't run. Scarecrow replies that he's not running, and sets off a series of charges which separate the section of the ship he's standing in from the rest of it. The part with Scarecrow drifts away instead of just plummeting, since a helicopter has attached cables to it. On the chopper is the Knight, who shows up in the doorway and fires a rocket launcher at Batman, who narrowly manages to dodge the blast but gets knocked down even so.

    -When Batman's back up and the helicopter is long gone, Alfred calls and says that Scarecrow is broadcasting to all of Gotham. He patches it through, and it shows Oracle, seemingly unconscious in a chair. Scarecrow taunts me about how she'll be dead soon and I'm powerless to do anything about it, that I stretched myself too far this time, that I've failed. Batman apparently recognizes Barbara's surroundings, however, as he tells Alfred that she's at the safehouse in Chinatown. Alfred urges Batman to haul ass over there.

    -Oh, yeah, I recognize this place now that I'm here. It's the same place where I rescued Poison Ivy all that time ago.

    -HOLY FUCK, this scene is intense. So intense that I'm gonna use it for the start of a whole new post, because it just wouldn't feel right lumping it in as just another point.
  • -All right, Batman got to the location and saw Barbara inside the enclosure which formerly housed Ivy when she was Scarecrow's captive. Barbara wasn't moving and was staring up at nothing. It looked like she was dead, which Joker pointed out. But then Scarecrow popped up on a nearby video screen and said something to the effect that part of fear was theatrics. Suddenly Barbara began to move, and she was wondering where she was. But then Scarecrow flooded her cell with fear toxin as Batman tried, in vain, to get through to her and keep her tethered in reality.

    -Barbara was freaking out at things only she could see, and Scarecrow talked to her, telling her that the only way she could escape the monster on the other side of the glass--the other side of the glass where Batman was standing--was if she picked up the gun next to her and shot it. Barbara did just that, although the bullets didn't penetrate the glass. Batman tried to tell her that he was her friend, but it didn't work. Barbara kept panicking, telling the "monster" that she wouldn't let it get her, and then she put the gun to her head. Joker stepped in front of her at that precise moment and mimicked her actions, pointing a finger at his own head and "pulling the trigger" right at the moment Barbara pulled the real trigger on the real gun, KILLING HERSELF.

    -Scarecrow mocked Batman by telling him that he only brought death to those close to him, and then signed off. Alfred asked what happened. A distraught Batman told him, and is upset that he didn't stop it, that he failed to save her in time, that he put her in danger in the first place. Alfred was also horrified at what happened, but he still had news to deliver: he had discovered that the Cloudburst was a dispersal device. It could flood the city with fear toxin, and while I did DELAY that by stopping them from using it on the airship, they still might use it if I don't stop them.

    -Batman doesn't respond. Alfred asks him if he's there, if he heard. Joker chimes in that Batman heard, he's just having a hard time living with himself right now.

    -Alfred urges Batman to not give up, to keep fighting and not let Barbara's death have been in vain. Joker, meanwhile, tells Batman that he should give in and let him, Joker, take control, since Batman won't have to worry about any of this any more if he does.

    -Eventually Batman snaps out of his Heroic BSOD and says "Ivy". Alfred asks what he means. Batman tells him that Ivy is immune to Scarecrow's toxin, and therefore may be the key to discovering how to counter it. Alfred asks if she'll be willing to help, and Batman responds that she'll have no choice in the matter.

    -Well holy shit, inside the police station the cells are PACKED with mooks. These are apparently all the guys I beat up and left for the cops to pick up. I'm amazed there's any space left at all.

    -Something else unexpected: one of the cops is glowing green. There isn't a prompt to interrogate him, but right-clicking DOES cause Batman to neck-lift him and accuse him of working for Riddler. The other two cops with him are both shocked and then they draw their guns on Batman, thinking he's gone crazy. The Riddler guy claims that's exactly what's happening. And you know, at first I think that maybe he's right, because I've been seeing things that aren't there all night because of the fear toxin. Having it cause me to see a friend as an enemy wouldn't be such a stretch. The other cops are telling Batman to put their friend down, with the guy I'm holding telling me I'm wrong. Batman growls "Are you SURE?" and then the guy blurts out that all right, okay, he actually does do some little things for Riddler now and then, like letting him know when Gordon's on his tail and leaving trophies in places for him. But he protests that he's not a bad guy. Batman opens up a cell and tosses him inside. The guy protests that Batman can't do that, he's a cop! "Not anymore," Batman says. And the other cops, having heard his confession, appear willing to go along with this course of action.

    -Talking to the cop in the cell first has him telling me that he was actually a TRIPLE agent, see; he was feeding the Riddler bad intel and actually sabotaging him. So he asks to be let out in light of this new information. Talking to him again has him admit that he wasn't a triple agent, he sold info to the Riddler because he needs the money, because he's really sick! Then he lets out a single cough, to prove it. And asks to be let out again. 

    -Talking to the guy's buddies has one saying that he had beers with that guy and talked with him about their kids. He bets the guy was laughing at them behind their backs. The other guy says that Internal Affairs suspected somebody in this place was dirty, and it looks like they were right.

    -Well, here's ONE positive: Officer Owens from the intro is marginally better than he was before. He recognizes his co-workers and is asking them what happened to him, but he still says his head hurts and he's still rocking back and forth.

    -Officer Cash asks about Barbara. Batman tells him he's sorry, and Cash realizes what it means. Batman says that if Gordon comes back (Jim's still out trying to find Barbara himself), to lock him up for his own safety; if they don't do that, he'll try to get Scarecrow himself, and he WILL end up getting himself killed.

    -The same cop who said he found Ivy attractive before hasn't changed his mind. He finds Ivy's concern for the environment commendable. He also says that he's a cop and she's...well, you know (his words), but it doesn't mean they shouldn't try...

    -By the way, some nice attention to detail here, since so far I've bumped into the various firefighters I saved earlier, as well as the guys I saved from Ace Chemicals, and also each cell full of mooks is labeled (Watchtower Militia, Penguin's gang, etc) and is filled up or almost empty depending on how much progress I've made on those side missions.

    -Okay, so this is kind of cool. As soon as Batman approaches Ivy he asks for her help (instead of demanding). She says that it seems like he needs a miracle, and then observes that he's really scared. Batman tells her that she should be too, considering Scarecrow's plans. Ivy wants to know why, and Batman tells her that Scarecrow's fear toxin cloud will result in plants dying as well as people. This convinces Ivy to cooperate. Batman opens the door and then asks her how she's immune to the fear toxin. As the two of them stroll to the Batmobile, Ivy explains that she created a plant spore which gave her immunity; not so difficult when you can control plants on a molecular level. Batman asks if she can make a lot more of it, so that the whole city will be immune. Ivy tells him that there's no way she can make THAT much of the spore by herself, so Batman offers to get her some backup.

    -At the car, Batman asks where to go. Ivy says that they should start at the Botanical Gardens; the plants there are the oldest in the city, and they can tell her what to do.
  • For once, or maybe twice, I was in my prime.

    -Stagg eagerly asks Batman to let him out, and Batman angrily responds that Stagg lied to him and he would get only one more chance. Stagg nervously admits that Scarecrow came to him for the Cloudburst. Now, if this were me and I wanted Stagg to tell me stuff, I would have gotten him out of that cell immediately, but Batman doesn't do that. He just demands Stagg tell him what the Cloudburst does, and before Stagg has gotten a full sentence out the fear gas begins pumping into the cell. Batman asks Stagg again to tell him about the Cloudburst, but Stagg can't hear him any more; he's just panicking. Batman says he ought to leave Stagg to his nightmare but uses the Batclaw to pull him into the cage bars and knock him out.
    Because clearly he'll stop breathing the airborne toxin if he's unconscious. Wasn't it established that the effects of this formulation are permanent? Way to go, Batman.
  • @MetaFour: Yeah, pretty dumb. I'm sure Stagg will still be a mess when he wakes up.

    -You would think that I wouldn't run into any obstacles until after I'd left the station, but no; the door to the GCPD garage won't open when I reach the exit. Batman radios Cash to ask why he can't get out, and Cash tells him that there's a BIG tank out there basically camping the entrance and ready to destroy anything that comes out. Batman decides the best course of action is to have Cash open the door so that he can exit on foot, sneaking past the tank, and examine it from the rooftops to determine how best to remove it.

    -To defeat this giant Cobra drone tank, Batman needs to use Detective Mode to scan its rear and both sides in order to see where it's weakest. As he's doing this, Scarecrow broadcasts that Barbara wasn't the first to die and wonders how many of my allies I'll get killed if I keep this up.

    -Scanning the right side of the drone almost gets me killed, since it notices me and begins firing, but I'm able to dive to safety before taking too much damage. Batman has determined that it's too tough to fight head-on and that its weapons are strong enough to make quick work of the Batmobile if I engage it, but that it has an exhaust port which can be targeted to blow it up.

    -Oh goddamn it, of all the shitty timing: as I'm gliding back to GCPD to get the Batmobile, I see that Firefly has struck again and ANOTHER fire station is burning. This while I have to take Ivy to the Botanical Gardens and while I have a humongous, nigh-indestructible tank hunting the roads for me.

    -Well, first thing's first I guess by eliminating the biggest threat. This is basically like stealthily taking out mooks, except with vehicles; Batman needs to watch where the Cobra is on his radar so he can roll up behind it and shoot its exhaust port.

    -The Cobra is slow and lumbering, so if it even knows the Batmobile's behind it then it isn't able to turn around quickly enough to stop me from locking onto its weak spot and firing the big gun, one-shotting it to the amazement of the militia commander; he says that this is impossible, that its armor was impenetrable! (Then perhaps I shot it in a place that didn't have any armor, ever think of that?) The Knight retorts that you can't expect to take care of Batman with a single one of those things because he's better than that. So the Knight orders a whole GROUP of Cobras into the area. Oh good.

    -Ah, good ol' Lucius! He comes on the line, hoping that the tank didn't give me too much trouble, and telling me that the upgrade I requested is ready to be installed on the Batmobile if I can get it to the Clock Tower in one piece. That ought to make things easier.

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