Gotham Knights Gameplay Impressions + release Date
Gotham Knights, the latest in the bat family of games, has resurfaced.
It has been seven years since we’ve received a proper Arkham game with Batman: Arkham Knight (2015). More specifically, WB Montreal’s latest game was set back in late 2013 with Batman: Arkham Origins. With Gotham Knights, WB Montreal is looking to shake-up the formula by replacing Batman with the Bat family and adding in cooperative play.
I think the idea is spot on. When playing through the Arkham games, the only thing I could think of that would be more fun was the ability to play with a friend. Well, we finally have our first look at some in-depth gameplay since snippets were shown during DC Fandome in 2020.
It is important to note that this is not a game in the Arkham Universe, nor is it developed by the same developers (Rocksteady).
Gotham City Environments
Rocksteady and WB Montreal have always nailed the overall vibe of Gotham, and that appears no different here. Its glowing lights suffocated by a dark city really pulls you into the Gotham City vibe. The only knock on it is that the city feels a bit empty. I think this feeling comes into play due to the fact that the combat areas are wide open. The previous Arkham games, even those that were open-world, had tighter fighting areas that sort of gave them a suffocating feel that was peak Arkham.
Getting around a city is always one of those ideas that is a must, but needs creative ways to tackle… especially in co-op. This can be seen in something like the latest Avengers game. Here, we get to see how Dick Grayson and Jason Todd get around the city in their own way. Dick uses a flying trapeze, which is essentially a powered glider, whereas Jason uses an ability gained from being resurrected by a mystical cult, Mystical Leap. They both seem to work, even if Jason’s seems a bit goofy. I hope that the story explains how he received this power. It’ll be interesting to see how the two remaining characters deal with traversal. I have to imagine either Batgirl or Robin utilize a more typical batman-like traversal like the bat-grapple.
Combat & Animation
This game will live or die based on how effective its combat is. Even though this isn’t a continuation of the Arkham series, nor is it made by the same developers (Rocksteady), this game’s combat will be compared to those games. On the initial look, the combat looks ok. I think the wide-open areas do the game a disservice and it really makes the combat and animations feel off. The overall animations are also just a bit stiffer than the free-flow combat from the Arkham games. There’s also so much wasted space with how much Nightwing flips around for no apparent reason. This could be due to how the game was played, but it is a pretty rough showing. If we compared this to the previous showing of Batgirl, it looks like the combat took a bit of a wrong turn here. It’s flashy for flashy-sake, without having any actual reason for being so.
As for Red Hood, it will also be a bit awkward bringing someone that uses guns into a game that makes it a point not to kill. Their explanation that they are non-lethal was a bit eye-roll inducing, but I don’t think it’ll take away from the overall game one bit. One thing I did like was how different the characters appeared to play. Jason is the more tanky brawler type whereas Dick was far more agile.
UI + Costumes
Gotham Knights definitely feels more like an rpg than any previous Arkham game before it. With that, the UI comes with the typical rpg-like trappings. It’s an uneducated knock, but it does have a mobile-esque feel to it. The in-game UI also doesn’t inspire much interest. Two sets of bars just pulled on both corners of the screen. I’ll be interested to see if the UI changes as we get closer to release.
The one thing I was most interested in seeing, outside of the combat, was the characters’ costumes. I’m happy to say that it appears that we are going to be getting comic accurate costumes. Revealed in the Deluxe Editions are Beyond Suit Styles and a “Knightwatch by Jim Lee” transmog. The more suit styles the better. My only question is how you obtain them? The game is noted as not having microtransactions in their FAQ. Gotham Knights (gothamknightsgame.com)
Final Notes & Release Date
Rumors of the game transitioning from 2-player co-op seem to be unfounded. There was no mention of its implementation, and it appears this will still be a 2-player affair.
Most notably, the game will only be coming to next-gen consoles and PC (via Epic and Steam). This is a peculiar decision considering how much next-gen consoles have been impacted by the chip shortages.
Gotham Knights is set to release on October 25, 2022 on PS5, Xbox Series S|X and PC (Epic and Steam).