Gotham Knights

gotham knight review

gotham knight review


need to know

what is it? The stealth action game of the Bat Family, set in the open world of Gotham.
expect to pay $60
release date: October 21
Developer: WB Games Montreal
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Comment on: RTX 3080 Ti, i9 12900K, 32GB RAM
multiplayer game? Yes
Association: Official website(opens in a new tab)

Gotham Knights has a very long introduction to where Batman died. He fought Ra’s al Ghul for 20 minutes, eventually being crushed by the debris of a crumbling bat cave. The heroes of the game found his body among the rubble, one hand clutching his mask. The Death of Batman is the setting for a game that wants to distance itself from the Arkham franchise and introduce four Bat protégés as worthy replacements. But the Gotham Knights aren’t ready to let go of the Dark Knight.

No matter how dead Batman is in Gotham Knights, the game cannot escape his legacy as the best video game superhero. It emulates the Freeflow combat that defined the Arkham series, and features many of the same villains already present in Rocksteady games. Gotham Knights tries really hard to convince you that it’s different and that Batman is indeed dead, but all of its new characters end up coming from the same old script.

(Image credit: Tyler C./WB Games Montréal)

Gotham Knights did fool me for hours, though. At first it reminded me of how delicious Arkham-style third-person stealth and combat can be. There was weight and rhythm to every punch and kick—almost intermittently. It’s one of the rare action games where, except in a peerless game like Dynasty Warriors, a group of enemies isn’t a chore; it’s a chance to show off your gadgets and patience to dive into patrol puzzles. Fights rise from messy debris to Hong Kong Ballet as you learn about the visuals and press a button to associate them.

Then I went back and tried Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum and realized Gotham Knights’ trick on me.

Gotham Knights benefits from the years-long gap between it and the Arkham series, because if you haven’t spent time in these games lately, you’ve probably forgotten how powerful Arkham Asylum’s combat is, and how it stayed until Arkham Knight Consistency. It was original, but Gotham Knights clumsily tried to take it apart.

As much as it tries to mirror Arkham’s battles, it’s frustrating compared to games from those years ago. Like many games transitioning to an open-world RPG with skill trees, levels, quests, and crafting, it takes the wit and strength of Batman and spreads them across a large map that will keep you in the game for hours accumulation. and divide them into different heroes. Robin’s skill tree has Batman, where you string enemies from vantage points, but the ability to place elemental mines is in another tree. And Batgirl simply can’t do that. Instead of building an all-in-one arsenal of tools and attacks, each character is just a fraction of the Batman I know.

As a recreation of the greatness of other games, it’s a failure. Gotham Knights attempts to transform Arkham into an online co-op game, shredding great design into jagged shards for a progressive, cheap dopamine rush.

carbon copy

Early on, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood were actually Batman Lite, but in four different sizes. Because they’re interchangeable, they all have the same goal — following the plot that Batman chased before he dies — and all the same basic skills needed to get the job done. Their dialogue is punctuation between open-world segments and prepares you for your next mission. There are a few scenes that deal with the obvious tension in the team, but the game is most interested in finding an excuse for the four playable characters. Jason Todd or Red Hood came back to life after death, but no one wanted to talk about how that fundamentally changed his relationship with the rest of the crew and his drive to fight crime in the same way. These characters can’t stray from the mission or Batman values, and it’s missing an important opportunity for Gotham Knights to differentiate itself from the Arkham game.

You can switch between Batpeeps in the central location of the clock tower; levels and ability points carry over, and each character has enough armor and weaponry. They did develop their strengths through their skill tree: Robin can run around without making any noise, Batgirl can disable surveillance cameras and turrets, Nightwing can debuff and heal allies, and Red Hood can tank hits and control the enemy. This can change your approach to stealth and combat scenarios a bit, but the disadvantage of being the least desirable character isn’t huge. I’ve been playing Batgirl most of the time because of her quick combo attacks and her suit looks good, I’ve had zero roadblocks in open world or game blocked villain missions – seeing characters like Mr Freeze The Return of Harley Quinn and Clayface.

(Image credit: WB Games)

In the two-player co-op mode, I can start to see where their unique traits relate to each other. I fought Harley Quinn, an aggressive senior boss Robin whose ally the Red Hood repeatedly got caught in deadly snatch attacks. I set up my momentum meter to deploy a decoy to distract the boss while I help Red Hood recover from a downed state, or give him room to heal. But other than such a tough encounter, there is little need for strategy around capabilities. All you have to do is fight enemies cooperatively until a notification pops up with XP bonuses.

Each character plays a diluted version of Arkham’s Batman.

Boss fights in Gotham Knight aren’t as prominent as they are in Arkham games, with fights mostly chosen for stats and reflexes. Bosses have huge health bars, powerful combos, and AoE attacks that are designed to simply punish your dodging timing and placement compared to normal enemies. As a single player, they’re a resource-consuming marathon, forcing you to balance gaining momentum and spending it on your own high-damage abilities to catch up. In co-op, they’re similar to simple MMO bosses, requiring the one to focus on dodging while the other takes damage.

Gotham Knights isn’t fully committed to archetypes like tanks, support, and DPS. As a result, each character plays like a diluted version of Arkham’s Batman. None of them have really compelling advantages or disadvantages. Until you dig deep into the final sections of the talent tree, craft unique gear, and equip them with stat-enhancing armor mods, these four heroes can’t match Batman’s perfection as a video game protagonist. He’s a walking swiss army knife with all kinds of gadgets and fighting skills, all at your fingertips. But Gotham Knights killed him, split his body into four parts, and forced you to play one severed limb at a time.

I’ve been there

(Image credit: Tyler C./WB Games Montréal)

Gotham Knights’ smartest idea is to break down the swell of open-world events into a nighttime adventure that begins after you check in at the Clock Tower base. As you wrestle between the roofs, you’ll encounter special targets that give you information when interrogated – clue points that drop to the ground like Diablo loot are hilariously delivered – — to detect a premeditated crime. These crimes will reward you with better XP and crafting materials on the second night of your exploration of the city. Most missions have bonus objectives, such as completing a mission without being detected or killing an enemy with a ranged weapon, but Premeditated Crime has more enemies and even harder objectives. If you fail or drop the area, you can’t do it again.

These crimes are some of the toughest and most satisfying challenges that Gotham Knights’ open world has given me, and feel worthy of the massive rewards. Only premeditated crime got me thinking about how to apply Bat-family expertise to the needs of encounters. As Batgirl, I can scan an area, disable turrets or enemy snipers, and swoop in for a silent knockout. When I inevitably screw up and get caught, the missions go crazy as I try to manage multiple enemies throwing incendiary bombs and bullets at me.

But by the time I finished my fourth bank robbery and gang deal, the suspension of suspicion disappeared.Gotham City has one a lot of Crime – that’s far more than reality for a real city where people live, even if it’s a notorious hell. You would at least think that criminals would learn to take on less ambitious crimes than those involving 20 buddies and a stolen laser cutter opening a vault every other day. There’s no systematic or procedural progression to adapt Gotham’s ridiculous criminal ecosystem to your actions, so stopping these heists and kidnappings quickly loses all meaning.

It’s a half-baked system, but sadly the only thing in the game that aims higher than all previous Arkham games.

swing and miss

(Image credit: Tyler C./WB Games Montréal)

Even in a largely deserted open world, Gotham Knights drained my computer’s resources while clearing out all the crime and collectibles. I’m running the game at 4K (DLSS enabled) on a 3080 Ti and Intel i9 2900K, and the open world drops my fps into the 60s, which drops when I’m fighting near fire or other busy effects. Locking my fps to 60 made it more consistent, but not enough to completely smooth out performance.

The inner area works much better, but given that so much of the game has you sifting through the city, it’s a pain to have to manage frame drops without falling from heights and warning entire hordes of enemies matter. I also experienced a few crashes when I got into story missions and clock towers, but after upgrading to the latest Nvidia drivers and restarting my PC, they were mostly fine. Other PC Gamer folks have also reported framerate issues at 1080p. None of my issues made the game unplayable, but it was worrisome for players with less hardware and made the early parts of the game a pain when I tweaked the settings.

Everything in Gotham Knights is better in another game; some with Batman, some without. Arkham games have RPG-like talent trees and progression, but these are on top of the already satisfying stealth and combat systems. Gotham Knights starts and ends with brawls that feel like fighting in the mud, even compared to the developer’s own Arkham Origins. And its larger version of Gotham is riddled with repeat crimes, with little reason to keep it safe in the first place. For its four heroes, it’s an empty playground to collect XP for the next mission.

Gotham Knights tried to distance Batman by killing him, but it just split him into four pale imitators floating in a bland open world. He’s dead; not even Batman can fix this mess.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.