Game review: Gotham Knights
It has been several years since we’ve seen a AAA video game set in the Batman universe. The last Batman game released was Batman: Arkham Knight, which came out back in 2015 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Seven years later, in 2022, we get another game based on the Batman universe with the release of Gotham Knights for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. Sadly, this game isn’t available for those that only own a PS4 or Xbox One.
The main thing different about Gotham Knights is the fact that Batman is not a playable character in this game. You instead play as his many protégés, including Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and the Tim Drake version of Robin.
Now, this isn’t really a spoiler because it’s part of the game’s synopsis. The main reason you don’t get to play as Batman is because he’s dead. Don’t worry; this isn’t the same Batman in the Arkham games, as Gotham Knights is its own universe. Batman dies after fighting an epic battle against Ra’s al Ghul inside the Batcave.
As you might expect, the criminals are happy that Batman is gone, and Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Robin now have to step up to protect Gotham City. The group now has to investigate what led to Batman’s death and find out what case he was investigating before he died.
With the Batcave exploded, the group has a new headquarters called The Belfry. While the place isn’t as cool-looking as the Batcave, it still has a supercomputer and all of the cool suits that the main characters have to wear. The group is even joined by Alfred, who helps them out behind the scenes.
What I like most about Gotham Knights is the fact that you can play as any of the four aforementioned characters. You can play the entire game as Batgirl if you want, or you can change to another character every time you go back to The Belfry.
Unlike the Arkham video games, Gotham Knights also allows you to play with a friend, thanks to online co-op multiplayer. Sadly, there is no offline split-screen multiplayer in this game, and co-op is only limited to two people currently.
A free separate game mode is coming this November that has four-player co-op. I cannot really comment much about this new mode since it’s not out yet. Although I can say that Gotham Knights is easier to play if you can find an online partner to play with.
While Gotham Knights has an interesting story and likeable main characters, the main thing that holds this game down is its clunky gameplay and outdated graphics. Let’s talk about the visuals first since this is a supposed next-gen exclusive.
The one thing that might upset some PS5 and Xbox Series X owners is the fact that this game is locked at only 30fps. Unlike other next-gen video games, you cannot choose a performance mode to play the game at 60fps for some reason. PC owners are lucky, though, because they can play the game at a higher frame rate.
The graphics aren’t even on the level of other PS5/Xbox Series X games that I have played in the past. The main characters look okay, but most of the NPCs look awful and unrealistic for some reason. Gotham City is also very small compared to other open-world video games out there at the moment.
In terms of gameplay, the combat in Gotham Knights is slow, sloppy, and clunky. Gotham Knights does not have a counter button as the Arkham video games have. Instead, you have a mediocre dodge button, and your punches and kicks feel slow and unsatisfying.
Probably the best character to play in the entire game is Red Hood. This is because he has guns armed with rubber bullets, and they can deal a decent amount of damage to enemies. Batgirl also has some cool, unique abilities where she can throw lots of batarangs.
Another thing that people might dislike about this game is that there is a levelling up system like an action RPG. The game plays similarly to more recent Assassin’s Creed games, where every enemy has a life bar, and each mission has a recommended level you need to be.
It also goes without saying that you simply cannot complete the game well enough by only doing the story missions. You will be severely under-levelled if you just concentrate on the story. It’s recommended that you try to undertake several side missions if you want to stay competitive against normal enemies and boss fights.
Speaking of boss fights, some of them are challenging or very long. Sure, the boss battles aren’t as hard as those seen in Elden Ring, but you may have trouble with some bosses if you have the wrong gear and upgrades.
Some of the missions in Gotham Knights are repetitive and boring too. One recurring mission is when you have to find certain bad guys across the city to interrogate them. You annoyingly don’t have a waypoint during these missions, so you have to find the right people on your own!
As for travelling around Gotham City, thankfully, it does not feel like a chore because everyone has access to the Batcycle. Later in the game, you can also get to fast travel across certain locations too.
Anyway, Gotham Knights could have been a fun game, but it’s bogged down by a mediocre combat system and average-looking graphics. It’s probably only worth playing if you can find this game on sale in the near future.