Always Be Yourself, Unless You Can be Batman: Surviving Batman Arkham Knight (PRO-TIPS)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
After powering through Batman Arkham Knight twice (both in normal and NG+ mode), for those who aren’t as intimately acquainted with the series, I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks to survive being the Batman.
I’ll be running through the free-flow combat, Batmobile combat, predator encounters, and combo moves that can help you survive the hoards of overly aggressive criminals that litter Gotham’s streets.
Fight Like the Bat: Free-Flow Combat
Rocksteady’s free-flow combat, first introduced in Batman Arkham Asylum, has evolved from its humble beginnings. The brutally satisfying combat from Arkham City is further given more teeth. But at its core its a very rhythmic experience. The face buttons all govern Batman’s actions, from striking, counters, cape stuns, and dodging. Whether going offensive or defensive, you need to use your left analog stick. While counters are achieved by just tapping the counter button (triangle on PS4, Y on PC/Xbox One), your strike button benefits greatly from tilting the left analog stick.
When striking, you can zero in on a general location for someone to attack. This is exceptionally useful if you get surrounded and need a quick out, taking down a baddie in the distance while giving Batman some breathing room from the bulk of your attackers.
Button mashing isn’t the way to go in freeflow combat. You need to utilize your gadgets as well as takedown moves to build a high enough score (more XP) and to keep the flow rolling. Pay attention to your surroundings so you don’t inadvertently kill your combo with an ill-advised strike. Mastering the blade-dodge takedown (requires upgrade) is paramount. Turning knife wielders from being some of the most dangerous to easy pickings. Throw counters are new this time, allowing you to throw a thug (originally a special move in Arkham Asylum) when you tilt the left analog stick toward the attacker and counter at the last possible moment.
Environmental takedowns can mean the difference between victory or defeat, utilize these to take down high damage dealing enemies first like brutes and combat specialists. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when that gift horse lets your drop steel light fixtures on a baddie’s skull.
While standard thugs aren’t that much of a problem, I’ll focus on a few of the more dangerous enemies.
Knife Wielders: These guys can be either freebie takedowns or a serious pain in the ass. It's paramount to master the blade dodge takedown for these guys. What they think is their advantage is really their downfall.
Combat Specialist: These are like the League of Assassins characters from Arkham City. Time your strikes and when possible use an instant takedown to clear them from the battle. As I said above, mastering the blade dodge takedown is super useful when tackling a Combat Specialist and if you are playing on NG+ it’s key to know the animations (especially without the counter prompts), a standard counter has him holding his sword up high while a blade-dodge counter has him pulling back to the side.
Medics: If you see the white clad thugs, you should focus on taking them out first. They can revive unconscious thugs while also electrifying an attacker’s suit to make them invulnerable to standard attacks (like stun baton wielders). They aren’t the strongest but can pose a nuisance, especially with a large group. If they do happen to electrify an enemy, make sure to use the batclaw to cancel out the buff and deliver a slam with double damage.
Stun Baton Wielders: God I hate these asshats, most of the times I ruin an epic free-flow it’s because I didn’t neutralize them. The REC can be used to counter them and take out their batons for a short period. If you have the disarm and destroy special move (upgrade required), use it on these guys to take their weapons out of commission for good. Another option, especially when dealing with multiple stun baton wielders, is to quickfire the freeze blast to at least take out one for an extended period of time.
Shield Wielders: Another enemy type that can ruin a free-flow. Taking them down is simple, cape stun then double tapping the dodge button knocks them down. But like the stun baton wielders, you should focus on disarming and destroying any shields so noone else can pick them up. Dodge if you can’t take em down, but try to build up a high enough combo to take out their weapons. Personally I never had that much trouble managing them so I’d save disarm and destroy specials for other armed foes.
Armed Thugs: Too many can pose a threat, but freeflowing quickly between them can make all the difference. Be quick and if you can spare it (meaning no stun baton weilders or shield wielders) then execute a disarm and destroy on them. Lose your focus and you can get gunned down pretty quick, and if there are too many armed thugs don’t try to pull a Neo. You may be the goddamn Batman but you can’t control the Matrix.
Brutes: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The best way to take down a brute is to cape stun to beatdown, instantly taking them out of a battle. Of course if there are multiple thugs they will try to attack you, watch your back. Brutes come in three new flavors as well, shield wielders require you to cape stun/attack from above then beatdown while the electrified ones require you to disperse their charge with the REC before going going into Brute 101. The third new brute is a dual blade wielding brute, only difference is they now can attack with bladed weapons; depending on your proficiency with blade dodge takedowns, these guys can be trouble or easy KOs. Most special moves require two attacks to take down a full health brute, but the Batclaw takedown (quickfire + HOLD Y/Triangle) takes these baddies down quick and easy, plus a nice litte AOE on any foes around.
A little preparedness goes a long way here, if you have the chance to spy your prey before attack, take a few moments to survey your enemy. If you have much of your arsenal unlocked by this point, you can easily turn the tide in your favor if you have the right skills unlocked. Batman’s disruptor rifle is a godsend for moments like this. With the right upgrades, you can sabotage stun batons, medics, and weapon crates to take down a few thugs easy.
Here’s my usual tactic, find a hidden vantage point and begin sabotaging high priority targets like stun baton wielders and medics. If available rounds are left in the chamber, I’ll sabotage a weapons crate. Arkham Knight’s all new Fear Takedown mechanic is incredibly useful when starting a fight, allowing you to take down up to five goons before tackling the rest. I’d drop smoke in the middle of a populated crowd, if you jump in you can initiate a Fear Takedown and by the time the smoke clears the crowd is that much thinner, combine this with sabotaging high priority targets and you’ve already grabbed the upper hand.
Another great way to get the drop on baddies is to unlock gadgets while gliding. This new move allows you to throw batarangs, freeze blasts, REC shots etc at unsuspecting foes as you glide in. While lacking the “ompfh” of my above mentioned tactic, it’s damn fun and an exciting way to start combat.
Be The Vengeance, Be the Night: Predator Encounters
A staple since Arkham Asylum, utilize every weapon at your disposal to take down multiple armed enemies. Much hasn’t changed over the years but employing some new gadgets mix up these encounters. Much like surveying a crowd before combat, you want to pick apart high priority targets first if you have the disruptor rifle in your arsenal, otherwise take them down the old fashioned way. Medics will be a pain in the ass if you leave them unchecked, anyone you take down will be brought back into the fight unless you neutralize them first. Also those annoying sumbitches that disrupt your detective vision continue to throw a monkey wrench into some of the best laid plans. New, primarily with the militia, are soldiers armed with optic camo; while you can see them when they’re in your line of sight… they don’t show up on detective vision. Mini gunners are deadly and force you to take some time with dropping them, after initiating a strike you need to beat down and dodge before his allies come to his aid, these guys are best left for last. If you are lucky enough to employ an environmental takedown or lure them to a sabotaged wall or generator, they can be dropped pretty quickly.
Very cat and mouse, you need to know when to take someone down silently and when to try and draw the crowd to you. If you get lucky enough to take one down by a wall you marked with explosive gel, you can lure a crowd to your recently knocked out prey and take out the rest with a controlled explosion.
The new remote hacking tool allows you to interact with the surroundings as well, lure an enemy to a location or take them down by activating electrified floors or causing generators to explode. The sonic batarang is gone, but you can still lure enemies to strategic points either with a well placed batarang or the new voice synthesizer that allows you to impersonate their commander and issue orders.
Beware of falling into a trend, the militia were trained to anticipate Batman’s tactics and will respond accordingly. If you attack from above too much, they’ll begin setting mines and watching the vantage points, attack from below too often and they’ll continually look down into floor grates. Forcing you to step out of your comfort zone and play a bit differently, than you may have in previous games. These guys are smarter than the typical Arkham scum, so be careful… patience is a virtue.
A few of my tactics… I always go for medics/disruptors/optic camouflage thugs first. If there is a mini gunner, I focus on taking them out with exploding walls or generators. One tactic I’ll employ is lure a group to my location with a loud takedown, spray exploding gel (requires upgrade) on the ground then wait for a crowd to follow, drop smoke and fear takedown the bunch before grappling away, when another group inspects their KO’d comrades I’ll detonate the explosive gel, taking down one or two in the process. Anyone left is easy pickings and scared shitless, just the way I like em.
Hi-Ho SIlver!: The Batmobile
Whether you love it or hate it, vehicular combat is part of Arkham Knight. Mastering the Batmobile should be high on your list of things to do in the game. While it’s tempting to dump most of your Wayne Tech Points into the Batman, you should give some loving to your noble steed. Tank battles will crop up constantly, and especially during later half of the game, you’ll want a souped up Batmobile to survive the oncoming waves of heavily armored unmanned tanks.
As you play through the game, you are given a secondary weapons upgrade at specific story points, the first one you should grab is the drone virus. This allows you to hack an enemy drone, turning it into a friendly partner. Especially when the fighting gets frantic, it helps to hack a few to your side to direct attacks and even potentially take out a few of them. This effect last all battle, until either they are destroyed or all aggressive tanks have joined their buddies in pieces, at this point they self destruct. The lesson learned here kiddos is that turning enemies to your side opens up the possibility to shift the battle greatly in your favor.
Dodging incoming fire is paramount, but when dealing with missiles or smaller in air drones, you’ll want to use your gatling gun. In my first playthrough I either didn’t pay attention to it or miss the prompt entirely, it’s possible it never really came up that the Batmobile had a secondary primary weapon… attempting to shoot missiles out of the sky with the 60mm vulcan cannon isn’t exactly the most intuitive.
Taking them out quick should be your top priority, each drone has a weak spot that allows you to destroy it in one shot. While it can be challenging to take them out in motion, the best time to one-shot a drone is when it has you in its sights. Take a page out of Han Solo’s book and shoot first.
Cobra drones are the “predator” section of this game, forcing you to stalk rather than attack. To make matters more challenging, you have to shoot them from behind to deal any damage. My tactic was to employ the drone lure with every encounter. Shoot at a building in the distance to lure a Cobra away from a pack, take them out one at a time and never try to go head to head with them, they will make short work of your Batmobile. Also, the drone virus does wonders in a Cobra encounter, you lead at least two levels of secondary weapon power to hack them, but hack one of them and it can turn the tide in battle.
Managing your sonar, the radar, and when to go into pursuit mode and drive away make up what most of these encounters are like. Upgrading your steed should be a top priority in this game, or else you’ll find yourself really hating these slices of gameplay.
A Little Here, A Little There
That should round out my three main pro-tip sections for surviving Arkham Knight. The following segment outlines a few simple ways to help you survive the onslaught.
Glide on Cars and Drones: When gliding, if you get close enough to a car or a air drone, a button prompt comes up (same button as strike) that allows you to jump on top and imobilize it. For cars, you grab the drive and throw him out; drones allows you to to spray explosive gel on them, blowing them up in satisfying fashion.
REC and Freeze Blasts: The REC and Freeze Blast gadgets are just sitting there, waiting for you. The REC can be found early on in the game, in the evidence locker of the GCPD; just break the glass and reclaim your toy. The Freeze Blast is more hidden, since much of the game doesn’t require you to have it, you can go the whole campaign never finding it. It’s on a table in Panessa Studios, make sure to grab it the first time you visit.
Reverse Glide Boost: Holding back on the analog stick while performing a grapnel boost allows you to glide in the opposite direction. Handy when traversing the city and/or trying to get those elusive Riddler trophies. This is a move that was never taught and one I just found out while zipping around the city.
Those are my tips, surviving Arkham Knight is well worth the price of admission, especially when a game with the tagline “be the Batman” allows you to be even MORE like the goddamn Batman. Make sure to check out our review, we also wrote an article about the top skins we wanted to see in the game (before launch) and for the uninitiated, a spoiler article to catch you up on the events of the Arkhamverse so far.
I has a blast being the Batman, hopefully you do too! What were some of your favorite moves and tactics? Sound off below!