POSTED BY Joel Castro on May 06, 2016
Well, I recently came across one choice that was actually very difficult to justify and go through with. And it happened in the Season of Infamy DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight. Spoilers ahead, so be warned if you haven’t played this great additional content for an already fantastic game.
So in the mission “Shadow War” you come across a dying Ra’s al Ghul. He’s being kept alive through the Lazarus pit yet again, but this time he seems…different. He’s barely cognitive, and still has a gaping hole in his chest from what happened to him at the end of Arkham City. In the wake of this development, a civil war has sprung up between his followers and a few rebels led by his daughter Nyssa. You’re given two options throughout the mission: either cure him using a pure source of the Lazarus soup that’s kept him alive all these years, or you destroy the machine keeping him alive to simply let him pass away naturally like he should have hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. And by the end of it, you do have to make a choice.
The choice was tough because…both sides have their benefits and cons. On the one hand, Batman will never kill, much less allow someone to die if he can help it. Curing Ra’s would seem like the obvious “morally right” choice, given Batman’s strong moral compass throughout most of his career. However, doing so will have Ra’s become even more insane than ever before, kill his other daughter, and potentially lead to another one of his criminal purges, though with his mind the way it is, he may not even distinguish the innocent from the guilty anymore. In a way, leaving one of his enemies alive once again could prove disastrous for Gotham in the long run, which once again shows the tragedy of Batman as a character: his pride and morality often leads to more problems than before, and even provokes another question into Batman’s status as a “hero”.
On the other hand, you can destroy the machine, take him to GCPD, and allow him to spend his remaining days (possibly hours) locked up in prison where he belongs, leading Nyssa to assume leadership of the League of Assassin’s, and promising never to attack Gotham in the future: a promise that seems to be possible, given her troubled relationship with her estranged father. Ra’s is the man who is arguably Batman’s second-greatest nemesis apart from the Joker. Ra’s has constantly forced Batman into dark corners, challenging his ethics, and even attacking him personally in the comics. He’s manipulated him for years into teaming up with the guy, and has even had Batman acting…well, not very Batman-like. Ra’s forced out Batman’s vulnerability through either his ethics or Bruce’s affection towards Talia, which showcased how much the struggle against crime is weighing down on the caped crusader. However, this act is basically allowing Ra’s to die, something Batman swore to never do. Could he ever recover from this?
What did I choose? I ended up leaving the bastard to die like he should have years ago, though it wasn’t a decision I reached idly. I may not have killed him directly, but in my opinion, he was already dead, and was just prolonging his unnatural life. I came to the conclusion based on the events of the game proper. Batman is basically on his final mission. Locking up every major criminal Gotham has ever known, having his identity revealed by the end of the night, and eventually going on to die(Or just fake it because of said events) by burning his mansion down to the ground. What would it look like if Batman, after his massive burn campaign against every major threat to Gotham, left one loose end and eventually created the destruction of Gotham in the future? I don’t think that’s what Bruce Wayne would do on his final night as the Batman. It was a tough choice, sure, but ultimately one that secured the safety of Gotham for the time being. And even still, someone might eventually take up the mantle of the Batman once again.
So yeah, that’s arguably the most difficult choice I had to make in recent gaming, and I hope I never have to make such a difficult decision again.