Stories do not happen in a vacuum. A story’s setting can be as much of a character as the actual characters inhabiting it, reflecting both them and the thematic elements of the plot. This is true of games, books, and movies—in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, for instance, a great and mighty evil renders the land of Mordor into, quite literally, a festering, pulsating, and decaying wasteland that is inhabited by orcs and other beings who personify the very evil that corrupts the once bucolic realm of Mordor.
There’s perhaps no better representation of this than Batman: Arkham Knight. The character, layout, and visual starkness of Gotham City act as a malleable mirror to Batman’s psyche within the Arkham-verse. The story sunk its bat-fangs into me but Gotham, the city itself, is what truly stands out as both the home and the harbinger of the dichotomy of good/evil that brings the city to grimy, pulsating life.