Following the success of the Arkham series of games would be a daunting task for any developer, so when WB Games Montreal announced Gotham Knights and that it would not benefit from the inclusion of Batman, fans of the series were curious about exactly how all this was going to work.
The animated sequence depicting the death of Batman sets the tone for the game well; Nightwing, The Red Hood, Robin, and Batgirl are tasked to pick up where Batman left off. They are to protect the city, but also deal with a murder mystery and an even darker threat than they could have imagined.
Players’ characters gain experience, new costumes, abilities and moves as they progress, as well as the ability to Fast Travel between locales on the map. This is essential, as Gotham City is a sprawling and cluttered urban setting, filled with dangers around every corner.
Playing as Nightwing, I was able to summon a cycle and speed to various locales. Setting waypoints on the map allowed my path to be displayed, which was much better than just driving in a general direction. I also had the option to fire a Zipline and pull myself all over the city and up very tall buildings which allowed me to get around when driving was not always the ideal option.
Gotham Knights is filled with side quests as well as appearances by classic Batman Universe characters both good and bad, and always added a nice element to the game.
The combat in the game is nimble and at times brutal. There is no end of gangs, enemies, and thugs to battle. Using hit and run tactics to dodge and attack often work well, but require some patience as some enemies take a good amount of damage before they fall. When your health packs run low, you will often have to adjust your play style on the fly to survive.
There are also puzzles to solve along the way that help provide clues to the ongoing threat. Players will be able to return to the Belfry to get a break, update the narrative, check the clues, and update their costume and skills.
The game does provide an extensive amount of gameplay, and even upon completion of the main storyline, there are side quests that can be undertaken as well as patrols.
Multiplay is an option, and players can form a team or drop in to one. The few times I tried this I was paired with individuals who were busy doing their own thing, which was unfortunate, because having someone to watch my back during the more challenging missions would have been ideal.
The game did have a few frustrations. On occasion, I couldn’t manipulate objects until I positioned myself just right near them. Mission pathfinding was also a bit confusing early on, as were some elements of the crafting menu.
As I spent more time with the game and updates became available, I became engrossed in the contantly evolving story. The darker darker tones were very appealing to me. It was great to be able to explore the highly-detailed city, but at times the travel did seem a bit tedious — especially missions where I had to patrol and beat information out of random street thugs in order to progress.
That said, the game was entertaining, and I am curious about playing as some of the other characters and what future missions the developers might make availabe as DLC. While Gotham Knights, for me, never reaches the level of Arkham Asylym, I found it to be a very enjoyable adventure despite its minor flaws.
DC fans should definitely enjoy this gaming experience.
3.5 stars out of 5