Nobody but Batman can make brooding on rooftops look super cool, and the Arkham franchise does a fantastic job at making you feel like you’re out there doing the same thing. It’s good to have the Caped Crusader rid Gotham City of a superstitious and cowardly lot, but it’s even better to actually do it yourself—which is where the appeal of the whole “Be The Batman” tagline of Arkham Knight comes in.
But when Scarecrow has been dealt with and the Joker is no longer plaguing the Dark Knight’s mind, is it still worth playing through everything the game has to offer? While you can extend your adventure a little bit more with the various DLCs (you can even play as Catwoman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn) or start all over as a more beefed-up Batman in the unlockable New Game+, I’d like to focus on what else you can actually do while free-roaming around the city. What else is out there, and are they even worth spending your time on?
Getting That Sweet 100% Completion Rate
There are two endings that players can get upon completing the main storyline of Batman: Arkham Knight. The action-adventure game is the fourth main installment in the franchise, and it supposedly ties a neat ribbon around the whole thing with an ending that may or may not be continued in the next Batman game.
If you haven’t tried this game yet (which you should), I’m not going to spoil the main ending for you—but basically, you have the option of activating the "Knightfall Protocol" once you’ve cleared at least seven of Gotham's Most Wanted side quests. Completing all fourteen—which includes triumphing over the Arkham Knight's militia, the watchtowers, the bombs, Deathstroke, the works—will unlock a second, more complete ending, which you can still get even after you’ve gotten the first one in a single playthrough.
Here’s the catch—you have to collect all 243 Riddler trophies to do it.
Collecting every single Riddler trophy gives you the satisfaction of confronting Riddler himself, and after the wild and elaborate goose chase he set you on throughout the game, it’s rewarding to finally get to beat him to a pulp. You can easily spot Edward Nigma’s subordinates around the city since they show up with a green glow on Detective Mode, so if you rough them up a little bit, you can squeeze out the information you need from them to help you on your quest. Once you have everything, you can unlock the final ending sequence and enjoy the cinematic you totally deserve.
To be honest, I personally think only the more hardcore completionists will get a kick out of collecting all those trophies. Quite frankly, they’re pretty tedious, and a lot of them can be repetitive. Plus, if you’re not already looking for them while you go about the main storyline, it’s a challenge to scout out every single one after the fact. The best thing to do would be to just glide atop buildings in Detective Mode with your eye on the ground and collect them as you progress through the story. You’ll come across the green-glowing goons a lot anyway, so you might as well interrogate them when you do. Some of the trophies you can only collect once you’ve completed the gadget wheel, so you really have to save these until endgame. But other than that, circling Gotham City specifically hoping to find these crooks can take the fun out of the experience—at least, for me.
Beating Up Bad Guys And Pretending To Be Batman
There’s another option for you to extend the life of the game even after the cutscenes all play out—just roam around the open world and be The Bat. After the ending, you’ll find that the dialogues of the NPCs have changed since they’re gossiping about, well, what happened in the ending. Eavesdropping on their conversations makes for an interesting change of pace. You can also use different Batmobile skins and just drive around the city scaring the crap out of people.
Now, you’d think that after putting all the big baddies away, Gotham will finally be at peace—but crime never really sleeps, especially in Batman’s city. There are still plenty of thugs and rioters you can beat up just for the heck of it. There are also random little treats like the permanent snow effect you can get in the Season of Infamy DLC (you can achieve this if you activate the 100% Knightfall Protocol before you finish the Mr. Freeze “Cold Heart” mission).
Also, you no longer have to worry about the Joker giving you a heart attack each time you grapple up rooftops, since you’ve successfully cleared him out of your head. He will no longer be glitching on the billboards and statues during flashes of lightning, leaving you to patrol your city in peace.
Is It All Worth It?
There’s no question about how incredibly enjoyable Arkham Knight is even as you’re roaming around the city without a definite goal. The satisfaction of playing as Batman alone is enough to amp up the fun factor of the game no matter how far along you are at the completion rate.
For me, even after the curtains had closed and the game was technically over, I still hadn’t had enough of the World’s Greatest Detective. I wanted to be him just a little bit more because it’s just that intoxicating—the developers definitely made sure of that. I initially didn’t mind finishing all of the other side quests to get that “true” ending, but the requirement of completing every single Riddler trophy was a huge turn off. I made a few attempts and eventually just checked it out on YouTube—it was simply less of a hassle that way. I mean, life’s too short (and there are too many games to play) to spend them on activities you don’t enjoy.
That said, I still think Arkham Knight is worth going back to after all these years, just because you get to be Batman. And if you can be Batman, then always be Batman, right?