Preview – Batman: Arkham Knight and the Fear Takedown

The Arkham games have delivered the quintessential Batman experience to fans of the Dark Knight and gamers around the world. With one of the most fluid combat engines in gaming to the thrilling predator modes, the Arkham games have delivered 2 strong games that are that perfect balance between challenging gameplay and easy to use controls.

It is with little surprise then that Rocksteady’s third and final entry into the series (Arkham Origins was WB Montreal) is one of the most anticipated games of this year. Arkham City was such a refined sequel it is hard to see how any new mechanic improve the already excellent game mechanics. One new mechanic that has potential to unbalance is the Fear Takedown.

The Fear Takedown requires the build-up of a three stage energy bar (presumably filled by performing stealth take downs). The number of bars filled corresponds to the number of enemies it can be used on. Given an unsuspecting enemy, by performing a single press of a series of take downs can be chained together. Provided the player has enough energy left time will freeze allowing the player to target their next victim. This will continue until the energy is depleted or an enemy is able to kill you.

This is effectively a one button multi-takedown move where it does not matter if the enemies are spaced apart and requires very little pre planning. The concern is that this will make Arkham Knight an easier and hence far less enjoyable experience.


This is something that unfortunately happened to the Spider-Man game series.

Spider-Man 2 on the Playstation 2 and Xbox is arguably one of the greatest superheroe games of all time. Similar to the way the Arkham Games have captured the feeling of being Batman, web swinging through the streets of New York allowed players to step into the shoes of everyone’s favourite web head.

A next-gen console and 8 years later and we arrive at The Amazing Spider-Man and the woeful web-rush mechanic. This mechanic allows players to freeze time, point to where you want to go and the game will take you there.

The incredible momentum that was captured in the previous games was lost in favour of a mechanic that made it virtually impossible to mess up. In many examples, if there is no risk of failure there is no satisfaction in success.

The Arkham Games have been consistently praised for their satisfying predator mode. These sections require meticulous planning in order to isolate each thug and take them down. Being seen is likely to result in game over, given that it only takes a few shots to kill batman. Each takedown finishes with the player desperately looking round hoping no one saw them, then zipping up to a gargoyle for the next target.

With the inclusion of a mechanic that allows multiple thugs to be taken down with one button where are all those elements that make predator mode fun?

However, one game where a multi-takedown stealth mechanic is actually well implemented is Splinter Cell Blacklist.

Improving on the revamped mechanics of Splinter Cell Conviction in almost every way, Blacklist built upon the Execute takedown introduced in Conviction.


Similar to the Fear Takedown, Execute can only be used on 3 enemies at once prompting some action packed visuals as the takedown occurs. This brings an exciting level of fluidity to stealth gameplay, despite making the game far easier. Although this mechanic is turned off in higher difficulties it is a fun addition that makes the otherwise methodical gameplay a far more action pack event; something that the Splinter Cell series has otherwise been lacking.

There is a key difference between this mechanic and the one coming in Arkham Knight. The Execute mechanic requires planning. Players had to tag their enemies, scout out the room and then find the best position to attack from. If there was a fourth enemy in the room and the move was activated the player would most likely end up dead. The move cannot be cancelled and so requires thorough scouting out of the area before being performed. There is risk.

In contrast, the Fear Takedown requires no pre planning. It can be activated on any unaware enemy, yet after each take down the game freezes allowing players to choose the next target and assess the situation. Players can then either take down their next target or cancel the move and grapple away from danger. There is no risk.

Until gamers actually get their hands on a copy it is difficult to get a full understanding of how the Fear Takedown mechanic will affect the overall gameplay. Rocksteady have delivered two outstanding games that will go down as some of the best superhero games of all time. As a Batman fan and a gaming fan, the Arkham series has been a joy to experience. Here’s hoping Arkham Knight continues their good work.

Glenn Tanner


3 Comments on this post.
  • no
    22 March 2015 at 17:22
    Leave a Reply

    it attracts other enemies

  • Nico
    22 March 2015 at 20:47
    Leave a Reply

    I must say, I do share some of the same concerns that the author expresses in the article, but I personally see the comparison between the implementation of the new ‘mechanisms” in Arkham Knight and The Amazing Spider-Man a little off-base.
    Mainly because the comparison regards two dramatically different aspects of each game’s gameplay:
    A Spider-Man game is all about mobility and the adrenaline rush that comes from web-slinging around Manhattan rather than fighting or something else, and the great games that came out in the PS2 era (namely Spider-man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man, even Shattered Dimensions on PS3 had an interesting spin on it) made that experience absolutely exhilarating. The Amazing Spider-Man then diminished the main reason anyone would want to play a Spider-Man game and turned it into an utterly joyless experience.
    The Arkham games, on the other hand, have highlighted three major areas: Predator mode, hand-to-hand combat and being able to navigate the map as freely and as aggressively as possible (increasingly each game, and the Batmobile is the ultimate step into that direction).

    Now, we’ve only seen one Fear Takedown so far and it was a relatively simple scenario in which to use it: the kind of scenario where you want to sweep in, eliminate as fast as possible and move on.
    I believe we’ll get a better idea of its potential (for better or for worse) once the fear takedown is included in an environment full of possible threats (as the Predator areas usually are in the Arkham games). I may be wrong, but it feels like planning will be required in the aforementioned type of environment, as I seem to remember one of the lads from Rocksteady mentioning that Fear Takedowns will be loud (similarly to the Inverted Takedowns in the previous games); which will make the ‘freeze’ moment a very brief one (if available) and will place the player in a very precarious situation. One final assumption (or rather, hope) would be that the enemy AI has been improved (thanks to the next-gen potential) and that getting away/staying hidden will prove a much harder task.

    Overall, there are plenty of reasons that may make the move an interesting and engaging addition to Batman’s arsenal.. but there are just as many reasons that align it with the purpose that that Shock Gloves had in Arkham Origins (aka ‘button mashing for the win’).
    Anyhow, good article mate!

  • The_Assassin
    22 March 2015 at 23:55
    Leave a Reply

    “Spider-Man 2 on the Playstation 2 and Xbox is arguably one of the greatest superheroe games of all time.”

    That is the biggest bs I’ve ever heard, Arkham City hands down is the best superhero EVER game created, not that terrible crap, Spider Man has great games, but none of them compare to the Arkham games, anyone knows that. Also I’m struggling to comprehend your article, why write about something you don’t know? The Fear Takedown has a bar of 3, and can only be used on 3 targets, that’s it, if there’s more guards I don’t see how this makes the game op.

  • Leave a Reply