Gotham Knights Review
New heroes rise in Gotham, but does the latest Batman game reach the lofty heights of its predecessors? My full review.
Starting up Gotham Knights, you will be pulled in by the game's gripping story and shocking new take on the DC universe. Batman is dead and Gotham needs his protégés to step up and fill this massive void. The open-world, third-person action RPG has you step into the boots of Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood or Robin as you fight to keep Gotham City from slipping into chaos.
"Batman is dead and Gotham needs his protégés to step up and fill this massive void."
With an impressive roster of playable DC Super Heroes and a sprawling city, the game sets the stage for some epic superhero action. Whether you're exploring the darkened streets of Gotham City, fighting against hordes of villains, or collecting gear to upgrade your favourite heroes, there's crime-fighting fun to be had.
Unfortunately, in some areas, it falls short of the high bar previous games in the series have set. Parts of the city feel empty, there are a lot of fetch quests that repeat and enemy showdowns aren't as grandiose as they were in the past. Some of the open-world mechanics ended up getting in the way of the overall experience. Despite these flaws, Gotham Knights is still an enjoyable game – one that will keep you coming back for more, especially with its story and co-op offerings. If you're a fan of the Batman universe, or DC Super Heroes in general, this action-packed adventure is worth checking out. Let's suit up and explore all that Gotham has to offer in my in-depth review.
Gotham Knights Details
Platform(s): Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5 and PC
Developer(s): WB Games Montréal
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Gotham Knights story shines through
Gotham City has always been a dangerous place, with countless supervillains threatening the lives of its citizens at every turn. After the deaths of Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon, crime and police corruption is running rampant. The citizens of Gotham are more desperate than ever for heroes to rise up and save the day. Enter four iconic DC Super Heroes - Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin - who have answered the call to protect Gotham City from all manner of evil forces. With an array of combat abilities at their disposal and a sprawling open-world cityscape to explore, these dynamic defenders will do whatever it takes to keep Gotham safe.
A big highlight is how well-written each of the characters is, while at the same time interweaving aspects from the comics fans will love. You'll work as a team to carry on Batman's legacy to protect Gotham from nefarious villains like Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Clayface, Penguin and the mysterious Court of Owls.
"A big highlight is how well-written each of the characters is, while at the same time interweaving aspects from the comics fans will love."
The main story quests are the best part, but they feel very sparse and the more meaty, plot-filled missions are few and far between.
Outside of the story missions, there are repetitive objectives, areas devoid of things to do, and anticlimatic enemy showdowns. They also aren't optional, as you'll need to continually integrate characters from different mob factions to move the story forward. Despite these flaws though, if you're a fan of superhero games or just love to be immersed in comic-book lore, you'll enjoy Gotham Knights. The detail of the setting and the story doesn't hit the same highs as Rocksteady's Arkham series, but there are interesting nods to the comic lore and other references fans will love.
Gotham Knights Gameplay
At its core, Gotham Knights is an action RPG that puts you in control of some of the most iconic DC Super Heroes. You'll need to master each hero's unique skillset and combat style if you want to take down hordes of villains and complete various side missions scattered throughout the city. The game has a lot of melee standoffs with enemies, and after a while, this combat starts to get stale. The combat system doesn't evolve enough as the game progresses leaving many showdowns feeling the same over and over again.
Mix it up with different Knights
The saving grace, or the saving Grayson is the different characters you can switch to feel unique enough to help mix things up. For example, you can opt for a stealth/hacker approach with Batgirl or go in guns blazing with Red Hood. Some exciting gameplay moments really shine like when you upgrade your character enough to glide across the city, or track down criminals and rescue citizens from danger.
"You can opt for a stealth/hacker approach with Batgirl or go in guns blazing with Red Hood."
If you can look past the repetitive combat, Gotham Knights is still an enjoyable game – one that will keep you coming back for more, especially with its story, co-op play and variety of characters.
Team up to fight crime
Gotham Knights also includes a multiplayer co-op mode, where you and a friend can band together to take down evil forces as a team. Playing with a friend is where this game feels best, as many of the missions feel like they have been designed for it.
"Playing with a friend is where this game feels best, as many of the missions feel like they have been designed for it."
You'll have to coordinate your attacks, optimize different skill sets, and use teamwork to solve puzzles and complete missions. In fact, "team attacks" where two characters work together to perform a powerful combo are extremely satisfying when you pull them off successfully.
Batcycle is an improvement over the Batmobile
One of the biggest changes in Gotham Knights is the addition of the Batcycle. This new form of transportation makes traversing the city much faster and more efficient than before, allowing you to get around with greater ease. It has been an overall improvement over the Batmobile, which felt clunky and less fun to use in comparison. You also feel like you are more a part of the city by zipping around on it. It would be nice to see it have more upgradable options, but it is an overall plus to the experience.
Gotham Knights' Graphics and Performance
Visually, Gotham Knights looks sharp on the Xbox Series X, with detailed models and high-res textures. When the game gets moving you can start to pick up on some of the framerate and performance issues. Unlike many other recently released titles there are no graphical mode options and the game is locked at 30fps. Even with the lower frame count, I still experienced plenty of slowdown while roaming around Gotham or fighting large groups of enemies.
"Even with the lower frame count, I still experienced plenty of slowdown while roaming around Gotham or fighting large groups of enemies."
I was also surprised that the game needs so many loading screens, this could be a byproduct of the cancelled Xbox One and PS4 versions. The loading screens aren't long but there are quite a few of them between major map change overs. I really hope future optimizations can correct some of these issues as it pulls you out of the experience.
Gotham Knights Image Gallery
Despite these performance issues, Gotham Knights is still a graphically impressive title on Xbox Series X. The city looks good, and while there might be some slowdown here and there, it still has its moments. You can see great detail in the character models and costumes, as well as different aspects of the environment like rooftops and the skyline. I do hope that future updates address some of the performance issues to help ensure players have an optimal experience.
Gotham Knights Audio and Sound Design
From the iconic sound effects of grappling hooks to the powerful punches and kicks you can execute on your enemies, Gotham Knights' audio and sound design is top-notch. You'll feel fully immersed in this dark, brooding world as you experience pulse-pounding battles against some of DC's most famous villains.
"Gotham Knights' audio and sound design is top-notch. You'll feel fully immersed in this dark, brooding world as you experience pulse-pounding battles against some of DC's most famous villains."
Overall, Gotham Knights' audio and sound design really add to the overall experience of this title. Whether you are cruising around on your Batcycle or taking down enemies with powerful combo attacks, it all sounds great. This is especially important for a game that relies so heavily on fast-paced action and combat, and I think that Gotham Knights does an excellent when it comes to audio.
Final thoughts on Gotham Knights
Overall, Gotham Knights is an entertaining addition to the DC Comics library of games. It has plenty of content for players to sink their teeth into, including an engaging story mode, co-op play and a variety of playable characters. Despite some performance issues and other flaws, Gotham Knights is still a fun action game that offers something for everyone. It's best when played with a friend, so if you are looking for a new co-op game, Gotham Knights is certainly worth checking out.
Gotham Knights PROS
+Storyline is compelling
+Co-op mode is a lot of fun
+Variety of characters add to gameplay
Gotham Knights CONS
-Combat doesn't evolve much over the course of the experience
-Boss fights are anti-climactic
-Graphical and performance issues
Overall Rating: 28/40 (70%)
A copy of the game was provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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