The much anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight has been making waves for quite awhile, and a fair amount of the buzz being generated is over the rating. Arkham Knight will be the first game in the series to receive the “M” for Mature audiences rating from the ESRB.
Of course, the question has to be asked: Does this mean that Batman is suddenly going to get excessively dark and violent? Will we see the return of the ’40’s comic book Batman that mercilessly used indirect methods to carelessly end the lives of his enemies?
There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered, but let’s break it down.
Is Batman going Mortal Kombat on everyone?
No. This is Batman and regardless of how dark the character and lore has gotten, that’s his one constant. The thing that separates him from the thugs. He’s not killing folks or throwing them off buildings to their deaths. He’s DDT’ing their heads into the ground and judo hip-tossing them into walls, causing severe pain and bodily harm. But he’s not going to start killing folks. The violence dished out by the Dark Knight is going to be pretty on par with what we’ve seen in the previous Arkham games.
So, where’s this excess violence coming from?
That’s the thing. According to the ESRB, it’s not Batman’s level of violence that helped jack up the rating, so much as it was the kill-everything-living-and-breathing nature of his Batmobile. The ESRB entry describes the Batmobile as a “tank-like vehicle” that allows the Caped Crusader to “use machine gun turrets and rockets to shoot enemies”. Clearly, the ESRB folks haven’t played a Batman game before. He hasn’t honestly shot folks since Batman: Return of the Joker on NES!
What else is contributing to the “M” rating?
That would be scenes of graphic torture. The ESRB mentioned two different torture scenarios that raised some eyebrows. One involves Batman using the wheels of his aforementioned deadly Batmobile of dangerous deadly death to torture a thug and another scene shows a man being tortured on a bloody operating table.
The torture scene involving Batman isn’t available to the public currently, but fans of the Dark Knight’s exploits know that he frequently employs harsh interrogation methods, such as dangling his foes off the edges of buildings, to get information from them.
Is there anything else causing the rating, aside from the violence?
There’s the use of colorful bits of profanity. Words like “ass”, “bitch” and “gobshite” in particular, as well as in-game advertisements for “live nude girls”. Keep in mind that this is Gotham City. It’s supposed to be a seedy metropolis caught in the throes of corruption and immorality, not Pleasantville.
Arkham Knight releases for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 2.
Are you excited for the final chapter in the Batman: Arkham trilogy? Let me know in the comments section below!