preview Gotham Knights: The worthy successor to Batman and the Arkham saga?
Comic book fans have been waiting for Batman’s new adventures in video games for several years, and their patience should soon be rewarded. Gotham Knights will be released on October 21, 2022 on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S with the launch premise of the death of the Dark Knight and the emergence of a new generation of heroes. Can Batman’s heirs take over?
During an event at the studios of Warner Games based in Montreal, the editors of JV Gotham Knights were able to get their hands on it during a play session on PS5 of around 2 hours and 30 minutes. This hands-on was followed by a series of interviews with the various departments responsible for developing the game.
A new generation of heroes
The Gotham Knights story begins with a shocking revelation. Batman is dead, and his sudden death leaves a huge void that only the Dark Knight’s heirs can likely fill. Still, the task promises to be particularly difficult for Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Red Hood (Jason Todd), and Robin (Tim Drake) as they witness the fall of the North American city. After the death of their protector, the city falls into chaos. Both the mafia and the franchise’s iconic villains each respond in their own way to the death of their nemesis as the GCPD (for Gotham City Police District) seeks to regain control of Gotham against criminals but also self-styled vigilantes with law enforcement in their sights take.
Four heroes, four visions for one common goal…to rid Gotham City of the evil that gnaws at it. The story is structured around several narrative arcs, those of the vigilantes and the game’s main antagonist – the Court of Owls – at the top, to which are added those of the saga’s emblematic villains, who take advantage of Batman’s death to reinvent themselves. All of these intrigues are woven together, intertwined, to finally weave the destiny of our protagonists and Gotham. WB Games Montreal tries above all to create a memorable and epic adventure, inspired by the source material… the comics, but knowing how to emancipate itself from it in order to better surprise the fans. The heirs of the Dark Knight will have plenty to keep them busy throughout this original and unreleased story, which, as we recall, is not connected far or near to the Rocksteady universe. In other words, Gotham Knights has no connection to Rocksteady’s “Arkham” series, but instead draws on the same lore… Gotham in the back of your mind.
This new city of Gotham is heralded as the largest ever built. Beyond the figures, the gloomy and stuffy atmosphere that this metropolis with its post-industrial Gothic style exudes is particularly impressive. This vision from Warner Bros. offers fans a Gotham that is sometimes true to the spirit of the comics, sometimes conducive to a change of scenery. Of course, the iconic locations of the franchise are also present, starting with the Iceberg Lounge, Blackgate Prison or the General Hospital. To move around in this open world populated by NPCs, our heroes can rely on their grappling hooks, their parkour skills and, above all, the Batcycle to gain a little height or, on the contrary, to break through the surrounding chaos on their motorized steed .
Gotham Knights returns to the origins of the Batman character and therefore his sidekicks. Essentially detectives, our vigilantes lead investigations in the heart of a crime-ridden city. You’ll analyze crime scenes, collect clues, and then examine them to set future missions.The goal is simple: thwart the plans of the villains who see Gotham as the ideal playground. You don’t have to be an expert in criminology to advance in the story, the resolutions are of course met by joining the locations indicated on the map and completing the successive indicated objectives. This saga-specific “investigation” dimension should delight fans, even if the latter ultimately offers little freedom and turns out to be (very) pronounced.
Our 4 law enforcement officers are quick to apply justice and never hesitate to use brute force to achieve their goals. Loosely inspired by Marvel’s Spider-Man, much more so than the Arkham series, the combat system relies on a clever mix of dodges, attacks, and various abilities. Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin spin through the fray, each with their own unique style, showcasing their mastery of the martial arts. Gotham Knights puts confrontation at the center of a desired experience that’s both accessible and technical enough to feel a real surge of power as the adventure progresses. Cleaning up the streets of Gotham proves extremely rewarding, whether against minions or during boss fights, even if the camera can wander at times.
It is still advisable to operate in the shadows and eliminate the threat unnoticed. Stealth can quickly become a deadly weapon once in the hands of Gotham Knights. The latter plan their attacks carefully, then pounce on their prey before slipping away without arousing the slightest suspicion. The opponents here display an intelligence that we could call “video game”, namely effective if not surprising. Several missions and/or objectives are also designed to emphasize the infiltration phases, while other situations leave the way forward to the vigilante’s discretion, between frontal attack and discreet action.
Montreal Studios have also integrated a light RPG overlay, including acquiring new skills to unlock and new gear to craft. These mechanics mainly allow you to refine your playstyle and translate through the gameplay the development of our heroes who strive to become the worthy successor of Batman. Finally, Gotham Knights can be experienced solo or in two-player co-op, and the creative teams have made every effort to provide the best gaming experience under all circumstances. For example, our heroes perform combo attacks in co-op, but aren’t chained together. They can split up for a while, fighting crime on their side before reuniting and discovering different storylines together. Even the boss fights differ depending on whether you’re accompanied or not… an initiative that should be applauded.
Gotham Knights could well be the worthy heir to Batman and the Arkham saga. With its original scenario, exciting combat, dark and majestic city of Gotham, charismatic characters and solo-cooperative approach, the WB Games Montreal title has solid arguments. RDV is given on October 21, 2022 to reveal the crossed fates of the Knights of Gotham.