Field Notes: The Riddler’s Gambit

Spoilers for several properties of the Batman Arkham universe follow

Know this: Batman Arkham Knight: The Riddler’s Gambit is a fantastic read and a fantastic Batman story. It fits in with the Arkham universe well and gets you ready for Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight.

I need to add here that it was AMAZING to finally be moving forward in the Batman Arkham Universe. I’ve spent so much time exploring the past that the newness I found here was a joy to read.

Reading through the book it’s hard to put it down; author Alex Irvine keeping things moving at a fast clip while still giving all the main players a chance to have their moments of reflection.

The story takes place about four months after the conclusion of Batman: Arkham City; the void left by the death of the Joker in the criminal underworld is begging to be filed and the Riddler sees this as his chance to step up.

I enjoyed how the book gave him a chance to be center stage; Riddler has always been a side player in the games and it was fun to have the character realize this as well.

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Getting his due

The clues and puzzles throughout the book are well done in that they are tricky yet believable, with our heroes coming off as just clever as the Riddler for figuring things out despite the deadly situations he puts them in.

Format and the Option to Leave

The format of the book contains what I’ll call a Grapes-of-Wrath-type of interlude where the main action is broken up by a shorter chapters of a different type, giving us Continue reading →

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Field Notes: The Road to Arkham

Reading The Road to Arkham drives you up to Arkham Asylum with the Joker in tow and drops you off right where the game Batman: Arkham Asylum begins.

It’s a short but good prequel to the game and there are several details that get us ready to the upcoming adventure:

  • Oracle is working with Batman right from the start and see how their relationship works, with each bouncing ideas off the other as to how all these villains could have been so “easily” captured
  • Black Mask is mentioned, someone we won’t met in-game as a major player until Batman: Arkham Origins. Nice name drop!
  • We see the Joker go after the current mayor of Gotham, pre-Quincy Sharp. Not a huge plot point but interesting after playing through the games that we get Mr. Sharp’s precursor
  • Zsasz makes an appearance, and it’s pretty clear you’ll be seeing him again soon

The Dark Knight’s instinct tells him that something’s off, that this was all a little too convenient as we arrive at the Asylum where his instinct will be proven to be dead on …

Road to Arkham 1

Good call

Field Notes: Arkham Unhinged

I’m marching towards Batman: Arkham Knight and before playing it I want to wrap up any extended lore from the previous games. First up, the Arkham Unhinged comic book series.

Batman Arkham Unhinged Cover 1

There are 58 issues is all and the canonization is a bit fuzzy as things don’t always match up with the games but I think there are elements that can be mined to enhance one’s experience of the Batman Arkham series.

Unhinged has been described as a prequel but it goes all over the all place. While this makes it Continue reading →

Field Notes: Batman Arkham City, Page 6

This is the sixth and final entry on my play through of Batman: Arkham City. Be ye warned that there will be spoilers for as far as I’ve played and please avoid spoilers for me if you have any comments concerning future segments of the game

Since the Joker’s death at the end of Arkham City, Harley Quinn has been grieving in her own way by taking over the gang and planning a trap for the Dark Knight.

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Grieving her own way

While being even more silent then usual at the conclusion of City proper, neither Robin or Oracle has heard from Batman since he went into the Joker’s recent haunts to stop whatever Quinn was up to. Continue reading →

Field Notes, Batman: Arkham City, Page 3

This is the third entry on my play through of Batman: Arkham City. Be ye warned that there will be spoilers for as far as I’ve played and please avoid spoilers for me if you have any comments concerning future segments of the game

I continue to be amazed at how much Batman there is in this game. If you were someone new to the Dark Knight’s now seventy-seven year public history, you could play this game and get it – get what Batman is all about, from the characters to locations and motivations driving everyone forward. It’s great stuff.

Gang Related

The way the gang activity is portrayed throughout the story is well done. The chatter of the thugs gives you a ground up perspective of the events you are reacting to, and enhances the environment around you by giving it more history (if even very recent history).

Continue reading →