- Total Score - 8/108/10
Gotham Knights provides a fun blend of co-op action, story, and heart, despite some technical problems.
Developer – WB Montreal
Publisher – Warner Bros Games
Platforms – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC
Batman is dead. Gotham is now in the hands of our four heroes to protect it from the same threats that have existed since the beginning. Many familiar faces have come out of hiding to finally have their chance at ruling Gotham now that its caped crusader has been laid to rest. Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and Redhood team together to find out what happened to their mentor and save Gotham from its worst threat.
The game begins much as you’d expect. Our beloved hero is fighting to save his life from Ra’s al Ghul. Angered that his chosen heir has been denied the powerful position as leader of the League of Shadows, Ra’s has no choice but to kill Batman. There are unseen forces at work here, unknown motivations, and secrets that have been hidden deep within the darkest corners of Gotham.
After Batman does the only thing he can do, taking everything with him when he dies as a final effort to save the city, our new base of operations is The Belfry. The clock tower rises high above, where our heroes watch over the citizens and try to uncover what caused this to happen.
Each night we play as our chosen hero to clean the crime-ridden streets. Stopping hostage situations, preventing robberies, disarming bombs, and investigating crime scenes lead us deeper into the darkness. Villains like Harley Quinn, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, to name a few, and their cohorts are taking what they can while they can.
Your character grows stronger as you solve more investigations and stop more crimes, even calculated ones. You can equip new and better weapons and armor, increase your abilities, and gain access to new ways to travel around the city. They are making you a more potent force to fear. Working with some notorious villains who have gone on to live the straight and narrow is questionable but reasonable in this time of chaos.
The combat system of Gotham Knights is smooth and responsive. Tapping or holding the respective attacks and varying effects, melee, and ranged combos are satisfying. The occasional finishing move to put a crook out of their misery is always fun. Each character has strengths, such as better ranged attacks, healing others, debuffing enemies, and more stealthy attacks. The best part is that all character’s progress as you play one character. This allows you to switch at will and try new characters at your discretion without feeling like you are losing anything.
Level design varies just as much. City streets, dank caves, sewers, banks, clubs, and science labs are all fair play here. You can travel freely around Gotham, exploring the famous streets and seeing iconic locations that we have come to love. Every night there are plenty of tasks to keep you busy and help you acquire better gear and experience to takedown the more brutal foes and more straightforward tasks—Collectibles, challenges, and landmarks liter the town. Hidden caches Batman has left for you are there as well. Side quests and quest-giving NPCs are included, all trying to help you succeed.
The music and sound design are excellent. As you speed down cobblestone roads, you hear individual bricks, punches, and kicks feel powerful. Voice acting is clean, and they fit the respective characters. Everything is brought to life as you would expect in a Batman game.
However, the big topic when Gotham Knights are discussed is the 30 FPS cap on consoles. I didn’t have much issue here. Sure 60 FPS would have been incredible and maybe made things more fluid. Still, the game ran mostly consistently at the 30 FPS cap on the Series X. There was the occasional stutter when many environmental effects were going simultaneously. Still, it rarely distracted me from the gameplay. The controls are responsive in most cases. However, when it came to vaulting and perching from specific environments it became difficult to navigate and move as freely as I wish I could have.
When I think back on the time that I have put into Gotham Knights, I found myself entertained by the story, and I wanted to do every side quest and challenge that I could to build my character to be as strong as possible. The environments were friendly and well-designed but maybe sometimes a bit lonely. Not a ton of civilians out at night, but it never felt lifeless. Batman fans will enjoy the Easter eggs, the story, the combat system, gear crafting, and outfit customization.