LifeisXbox’s Gotham Knights review | If you played Batman: Arkham Knight you know how the story developed at the end of the game. Disappointingly Gotham Knights is completely separate and inspired by the Batman: Gotham Knights comic series. However, the premise between the end of Arkham Knight and Gotham Knights is the same though, our fierce and beloved Batman was defeated. Now the loved and sometimes hated recruitments from Batman have to take over to keep Gotham safe for its citizens. We’re talking about Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood. I was hoping for maybe Ace the Bat–Hound too but I understand that was a bit far-fetched. You can freely choose which character you want to play as and explore Gotham City at nighttime alone or with an online second player. Yes, Gotham Knights is a cooperative multiplayer game with a drop-in and out feature.
And let me clear it up again. Yes, he’s dead. You won’t be playing as Batman in Gotham Knights! I’m as surprised as you that DC Comics agreed to this. Seeing how Gotham City reacts and how the team of four heroes stands together to make sure that Bruce Wayne’s ideology remains is truly interesting. Developer WB Montréal has a new take on the classic DC characters, allowing the return of some unexpected and fan-favorite villains and the criminal organization Court of Owls. When a story has the balls to kill a beloved character like Bruce, it immediately sets the tone for something great. Or not? Our review for Gotham Knights will be your answer!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The only star of the game is Gotham City | Gotham Knights managed to really create a believable Gotham City. Better than Gotham in the TV series and that’s a huge compliment. Four districts are ready to be explored and they are full of collectibles and impressive visuals. What steals the show are the beautiful neon signs that color the night. Climbing the tallest buildings and viewing over Gotham will give many players goosebumps. Everything looks extremely detailed, from street puddles that reflect everything, to indoor environments that come straight out of an IKEA shop and realistic characters that will warm the heart of comic-book fans. Gotham Knights is a visually stunning game in an open world that feels alive and full of (repetitive) activities.
- Playing with a friend to keep Gotham City a safe place | Even the main selling point of Gotham Knights isn’t perfect but luckily it is fun to patrol the streets at night with another friend or random stranger. I do wonder if the original plan was to play with 4 players but I guess I shouldn’t need to complain about that as new 4-player content is coming in the near future. Balancing is done very well but it feels weird sometimes that the second player won’t be able to interact with important objects and that he/she is completely invisible in cutscenes and dialogue. Combat feels less of a drag as they are done faster and working together will make the game more fun. It sadly won’t fix all the other issues though. I do recommend it for gamers who like a co-op experience!
- Voice actors got a Batarang to the head | My main character, Batgirl has a terrible voice actress. Sorry America Young, you do Barbie great but you being Barbara Gordon is a clear miscast. The other cast, especially the villains have great voice acting. There is something worse than Batgirl though, the NPCs on the streets and the mobs you fight… you hear the same things over and over again and the dialogue comes straight out of a B-movie. Even ‘Come on! You wanna get nuts!? Let’s get nuts.’ from Michael Keaton is far better than the stupid things you hear in Gotham Knights. And that’s saying much!
- Combat feels like the Arkham series but clearly isn’t the same | Most gamers who played any Batman game in the past years loved the combat of our manbat. Gotham Knights uses a familiar mechanic for quickly fighting against different enemies. What made it so good previously? For me the counters… something that vanished quicker than Ezra Miller’s fans for The Flash. In its place, you have to dodge and use more timing to deal bigger damage. I was constantly struggling and cursing as using the environments needs specific placement that failed to trigger. Each of the four Gotham heroes plays a little different, the saving grace in an otherwise disappointing combat system. My favorite from the start was Batgirl, despite her back injury she can manage her own very well. She can glide, and use a powerful drone. Her fast movement is perfect for boss fights and shielded mobs. Nightwing is perfect for crowd control and his rattan sticks have a cool move set. Robin is my second favorite as he really focuses on stealth takedowns, another thing the Arkham series was known for. Last but not least is the strong Red Hood and obviously meant for long-ranged combat. Being brought back to life with the Lazarus Pit he walks the streets of Gotham with powers beyond human strength. You aren’t forced to play as a specific character but you will have to play for a few hours to unlock each ability. In other words, playing a few missions with Batgirl and switching over to Robin or Red Hood becomes a bit annoying as they don’t level up. You won’t have powerful end moves, faster movement, and the like. In the end, you are left with button-mashing the same buttons over and over again. Unbelievable how you end up from one of the best combat mechanics from Arkham to whatever you call this in Gotham Knights.
What we Disliked
- Performance and 30 frames | I don’t mind games that run with 30 frames if they aren’t competitive. A Plague Tale Requiem has 30 FPS too. Looks beautiful and runs smooth. Gotham Knights however regularly drop frames, especially while driving the Batbike or when combat is heavily populated with mobs. One of the devs hilariously blamed the Xbox Series S for that, while that ‘potato’ can perfectly run Flight Simulator, Forza Horizon 5, or Elden Ring. Lame excuse, if you ask me. The real reason for this poor technical performance? Likely the cooperative experience… It is a shame that single-player gamers are the victim of it. I’m pretty sure most buyers will play it alone anyways. So it is not Batman’s death that’s most shocking about Gotham Knights, but the inexcusable performance experience.
- Laughably predictable story | Coming from the Arkham series this struck me really hard. Storywise Gotham Knights is a rushed and obvious story that’s lengths away from how great the story was from previous Batman games. Incredibly underwhelming after a fantastic and memorable opening scene with Bruce. I honestly don’t understand it, I won’t be spoiling stuff but you finally have the Court of Owls who have such huge potential for a story and you waste it like overcooking an expensive Japanese Wagyu steak. Honestly, it makes me mad. You have the guts to kill Batman and you come up with something silly as Gotham Knights story…
- A long grind of forced sub-missions | I’m aware that Gotham City is filled with bad guys but the forced boring grind of street crimes is simply too much. Hooray for Batman as he has been doing this for years. A miracle that he didn’t jump from the Belfry tower in Gotham as the continuous loop of solving crimes really made me sign early on in the game. You might have four characters to play to remedy some of the repetitiveness but that’s only a very small bandage on a massive blister. Important is to immediately start with the challenges, something the game fails to mention. Completing them earns you more meaningful abilities and missions. Even the street crimes loop has a repetitive loop, doing enough of them and unlocking hints you unlock premeditated crimes, those have more powerful enemies but end up being mostly the same. I normally love procedurally-generated missions but for Gotham Knights, it simply doesn’t work.
How long to beat the story | 25 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 40 hours
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