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July 15, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight (Content Guide)


Intro: As promised, my middle of the month review has arrived, starting with the Content Guide. As the game is quite long and extensive, it took me a while to write down all the content and edit everything.

So enjoy the Content Guide, and don't forget to stay tuned for the Review, which will be landing shortly in a couple days time.

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Verdict: Caution Advised for Scenes of Strong Violence and Mature Themes

Strongest Content: Violence

Recommended Age: 16+



Content Guide:

Potential Emotional Triggers:

--A scene of suicide in the game, involving an important character, may be a bit shocking for some. Additionally, The entire theme of the game revolves around mental instability, which might be a bit of an emotional trigger for certain gamers. (5)


Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Intense Explicit X-Rated

Storyline Violence:

--A couple of monsters stomp and bite screaming customers at a diner; we hear thuds and see the victims convulse with pain. We also see monsters biting and tearing at victims. A man is beaten to death off-screen; the screen shakes and trembles with the blows. (7)

--A character commits suicide; we see them put the gun to their head and hear a gunshot. Their death is obscured by another character. (6)

-An unconscious character is shot in the head off-screen by a crazed character. Later on, another character puts a gun to their head and commits suicide; the shot is off-screen, but we see their body fall over. 

--A man is suddenly and brutally shot in the chest; he is flung backwards by the shot, and we see blood staining his chest area as he dies. (6)

--A man grabs another man and slowly twists his neck, before finally snapping it; a crack is heard as the man's head snaps around. (6)

--In an extended sequence, a man summons a vehicle which crashes into a monster and slams them into a wall, a loud crack is heard as they obviously die, and proceeds to gun down a room full of soldiers with explosive projectiles, sending the enemies flying. (6)

--In a single sequence, the player walks through rooms gunning down unarmed enemies, which fall over as they die. (No blood.) One of the enemies takes a hostage. They can both be gunned down. At the end of a scene, a man pulls a gun and is summarily shot with a groan of pain. Once again, this is bloodless. (6)

--A man is restrained to a rope hanging from the roof, hanging over the ground. He is bloodied and bruised, with blood on the floor beneath him. Another man comes in and loosens him, chasing him off-screen with a crowbar. The man screams horribly, implying he is being beaten. (6)
--A woman is shot as she runs away from a man; we see a bloody wound on her chest and blood pools out beneath her on a carpet as she groans in pain. (6)

--A woman is attacked by an unseen creature; we see her shocked face hit the ground and hear her screaming horribly before the scene cuts away. (5)

--A man is shot at close-range by a pistol in the ribs; he groans and spasms in pain. (5)

--A man is interrogated by having his head placed between the tires of a car and the pavement, and the car pushed slightly onto his head, almost squashing it, until he reveals vital information to the interrogator. (4)

General Violence:

--Players engage in hand-to-hand combat with enemies; punches, kicks, stomps and headbutts are thrown, with impact sound effects and cries of pain. Batman is able to break limbs to finish off enemies, a loud crack and a scream heard. Players can also use objects to attack enemies, with thuds and cries of pain heard, and players can slam enemies against objects, cries of pain heard. 

Players can also punch enemies repeatedly at a very fast rate, thuds heard as the enemy flinches. He can additionally fire an electrical charge at enemies, causing them to convulse and spasm in pain. Enemies can return the favour, causing the screen to flash with electric energy. (6)

-In one sequence, a man fights against several enemies, brutally stomping on their faces, jamming his foot into an enemy's spine and breaking their back, and dropping the enemy on his knee, also breaking their back.

--Players engage in high-speed pursuit chases with enemies; cars are depicted blowing up, with explosions shown, and the surrounding environment is destroyed, with wreckage shown. Players can also fire concussive rounds, knocking enemies out with a loud thud. (6)

--We see several environments stained with the blood of the dead, and with bloody corpses littering environments, some of which are mutilated with blood visible on the bodies and with blood pooling out beneath them. (5)

Context of Violence: Shock Value

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Intense Explicit X-Rated

--A few of the female characters are suggestively dressed; Poison Ivy is dressed in clothes which expose her cleavage, legs and thighs. Catwoman is dressed in a form-fitting suit which exposes cleavage. Harley Quinn wears an outfit exposing her cleavage. (5)

-Neon signs promoting "live nudes" are found across the city.

-A man makes a remark that a woman is fine with another woman "having a go at the old scratching post", referring to a man.

-A woman suggestively remarks that she "knows" a couple of "hotels" she and a man can visit.

--After transforming from a creature, a man wakes up naked. We see the sides of his buttocks as a man picks him up and carries him away, and also when he is put in a containment area. (4)

Context of Sex/Nudity: Fanservice

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Intense Explicit X-Rated

Uses of B**ch, Bl**dy, A*s, P**s, B**ls, B**t**d, C**p, H**l, D**n, and Wanker.

God's name is used in vain.

Context of Language: Grittiness

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Intense Explicit X-Rated

--A character named "Azrael" is featured in the game, sharing a name with an "archangel of death" in some religions. He talks about a mysterious prophecy regarding Batman, as if he has some supernatural way of knowing the future. (5)

--A man states that "religious cults prey on the weak and vulnerable". Later on, we see a religious cult preparing to sacrifice a man in a ritual, with the ritual leader talking about the "one true Lord" and how "God" sent a man so that the leader can "bathe" in his blood. He also remarks that the "Devil" comes "clad in black", referring to Batman. (5)

Context of Spiritual Content: References Only

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Intense Explicit X-Rated

--Mentions of drug addiction. (4)

Context of Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco Usage: References Only

Gross Stuff/Gore:

--Two-Face has a severely disfigured face due to an incident with acid. We see the bloody muscles around his face and his left eye-ball is exposed due to the wounds. (6)

-A man asks Two-Face if "everything" got "split down the middle" when he was attacked.

--The face of Scarecrow is heavily disfigured, missing a nose and with skin hanging from his jawline, his eyes glaring out from torn eyelids. (5)

--A man jokes that another man has all the "subtlety and nuance" of a "napalm enema". (4)

--A man jokes that a crate may be bigger than another man's "codpiece". (4)

--A man jokes about a billionaire showing his "bottled p**s collection" to a "party of supermodels". (4)

Scary Stuff/Intense Scenes:

--A disgusting bat-like creature appears out of nowhere and scares the player, screaming loudly. (7)

-A character suddenly appears on a rooftop, cackling at the player.

--We see a monster with a vile skin and empty gaping holes for eyes. Several similar monsters appear and attack innocent civilians in a diner. (6)

Morality:

Abysmal Sketchy Average Good Heroic

While Batman struggles to uphold what is right, and slips at times by lying and betraying his friends, overall he manages to uphold his morality and stay true to his original purpose of fighting crime and not killing anyone.

Morality Type: Black and White

Conclusion:

Sporting a brand, spanking new M-rating, Batman Arkham Knight concluded Rocksteady's trilogy of Arkham games in grand (and moderately bloody) style.

Violence wise, the latest entry isn't exactly very graphic. The most gruesome parts are the opening sequence, the implied torture and shooting of a restrained character, and the obscured suicide of a beloved character.

Suggestive content is limited compared to previous entries in the franchise, but still plays a part in the storyline. The fanservice is noticeably less over-the-top than Arkham City, however.

Language is moderate, with foul words peppering the dialogue of minor characters. Spiritual content is also limited, with a scene of interrupted human sacrifice and pseudo-biblical ramblings from Deacon Blackfire. A certain character often cracks crude jokes at the expense of other characters.

Now that we've covered the general content, let's have a closer look at the M-rating: Personally, I think an M-rating is too far. The violence doesn't exceed anything shown in Arkham City, save for a bit more blood and darker themes in the storyline.

Fans of previous games should share my feeling that Arkham Knight is consistent in tone and graphic content when compared to the previous entries. There's nothing here extremely deserving of an M-rating.

But let's conclude: While Batman Arkham Knight may not deserve an M-rating, it is still pretty dark and covers themes unsuitable for a young or teenage audience. Based on the content covered above, the most sensible rating for this game is a Caution Advised.

Verdict: 16+
For Scenes of Strong Violence and Mature Themes

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