Batman is dead and Gotham is in despair. Criminals are running rampant through the streets. The police force is once again corrupt, caring more about their own gains than the citizens they swore to protect. Enter four heroes, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin, stepping into to fill some pretty big shoes. Together, these Knights attempt to reclaim Gotham whilst solving cases and mysteries that have been left behind by their mentor.
The narrative in Gotham Knights is really intriguing and one of this title’s biggest highlights. Interactions between characters are well written, especially surrounding the tensions between our four heroes as they come to terms with the passing of their mentor. The story hits the emotional notes excellently, with the weight of this tragedy coming to the forefront early on. However, this title isn’t all about Batman, instead it showcases just how much his successors have to overcome to redeem their beloved city.
So how does it feel to be one of the Gotham Knights?
Before we jump into the gameplay, I must mention that you should not go into this expecting an Arkham game. If you do, you will be deeply disappointed. The gameplay style here is quite different. It’s no longer about the counters and building up a combo meter to perform takedowns. Instead, the focus is on co-op (more on that later) and character abilities. Each hero has their own set, which are very useful in the many, diverse cases that you get to investigate. You can also swap characters at any time in the team’s base, known as the belfry. This is a great feature, as each one of Batman’s protégés feels unique and well fitted for specific scenarios. You can choose to play as one hero for the entirety of the story, but I would strongly recommend trying them all out.
Gotham Knights also introduces an investigation mechanic in which you have to piece together different bits of evidence to solve mysteries. Initially, it seems like an interesting addition, however, it may not always hit the mark. Most of the time it boils down to just reading the information in front of you and simply selecting two pieces of evidence that reflect what you’ve read. Now, sometimes these puzzles can be intriguing, but often they are quite easy and simply become a small hurdle to get to your next objective. Add to this the fact that even if you get it wrong, you can change your selections without any sort of penalty, and you can basically spam your way through these sections, selecting every bit of evidence till you get it right.
The main draw card in Gotham Knights is the co-op. Running through Gotham’s streets with a friend is great, and at times downright hilarious. Having another vigilante fighting beside you definitely makes combat more interesting. Not only can some more difficult enemies be taken down much quicker, but you can also plan your stealth tactics to take out gangs effectively and efficiently. Plus, who doesn’t like looking over to see another costumed crusader dealing out some vicious blows. However, you don’t necessarily need another player to have a good time. The game is great fun to play solo. But it is definitely much more enjoyable with a side-kick, or co-hero if you prefer. Taking down the mob side-by-side or investigating various cases together really elevates the experience to a new level.
The Infamous City of Gotham Knights
I really must commend the developers on the visual design of Gotham Knights. Each hero looks fantastic, and the variety of suits is awesome. The game’s take on Gotham’s architecture is also remarkable, giving us a fresh perspective of this infamous city. I spent a fair amount of time in photo mode just capturing these various landmarks.
However, I have to address one small issue with the visuals here. It is well known that the console versions are currently locked at 30 FPS, with no performance mode available. Whilst for me this hasn’t been a problem most of the time, it is quite noticeable when traversing the city on the batcycle. There were many occasions where the game would stutter and lag momentarily whilst I was racing through the streets. Honestly, after a while this did become a little annoying. On top of this, the batcycle can feel really slow, even when speeding past other cars. I’m not sure whether this was an issue with the animation, but it does seem that the road passes beneath the bike really slowly, despite other surrounding visuals attempting to give a sense of speed. This is definitely me nit-picking, and didn’t really affect my overall experience with Gotham Knights.
The narrative in Gotham Knights is very captivating, and the cast of characters are interesting. The combat is great, and solving mysteries is intriguing, even if the mechanics are a little too simple. The co-op features, whilst not necessary for a fun experience, are an excellent addition to this title. Gotham Knights manages to give fans a very good Batman story, without relying on the Dark Knight himself to be present.
By Samuel Incze – Reviewed on PlayStation 5
Gotham Knights successfully gives players a great new Batman title, without a heavy reliance on the Caped Crusader himself. The gameplay is fun, with combat feeling excellent, and the co-op really adds a whole new layer to the game. With an intriguing narrative that sees the Dark Knight’s understudies take up the mantle, Gotham Knights provides an exciting and emotional experience that is definitely worth picking up!
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by WB Games Montréal and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website