One of the biggest, most-hyped features in the new video game “Batman: Arkham Knight,” is the Batmobile.
After three previous “Arkham” games that merely teased the Dark Knight’s fleet of vehicles, the series is finally letting players take Batman’s most iconic ride for a spin. It’s a huge part of the game that allows for all sorts of new puzzles, firefights, and cool maneuvers.
It is also kind of really hard to drive.
At first, it’s no big deal — there’s a button to accelerate (the right trigger) and a button to brake/reverse (square on Playstation 4, X on Xbox One).
But that’s just driving around. The Batmobile has a bunch of gadgets and weapons of its own, and to use them, you have to transform it into battle mode.
That’s where things get a bit confusing.
See, in most modern games involving vehicles, the brake/reverse controls are assigned to the left trigger — this mimics how cars set up the gas/brake pedals. It’s intuitive, and when you pick up a game controller, it feels natural. But since the Batmobile assigns the transform control to that button instead (and because transforming changes the
entire control scheme) it becomes
very easy to forget what button does what.
Here’s how the controls in the game look for the PS4 and Xbox One. Note that there are separate controls for Battle Mode (orange) vs. Pursuit Mode (grey).
Take a look at this video I captured when I first gained the ability to transform the Batmobile. Here I’m trying to launch a new mission by parking precisely on top of a green icon.
The controls, while very responsive, take a little bit of time to master, and it makes it very difficult to manoeuvre into a small space between a light pole and gated area on a street corner.
Naturally, I’m a total mess.
If the real Batman were caught on camera driving like that, he’d go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Of course the game teaches you later that battle mode is specifically for precise manoeuvring like that. In fact, once you’ve had some time with the Batmobile, you start to feel really cool, especially once you get to eject from the cockpit straight into the night sky like an expensive ninja bullet that also knows kung fu.
Of course, simply driving the Batmobile is very fun too, especially when you have to make dramatic white-knuckle exits.
I’m a lot better at this now.
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