Gotham Knights preview: the worthy successor of Batman and the Arkham saga?

Preview Gotham Knights: the worthy successor of Batman and the Arkham saga?

Comic book fans have been waiting for Batman’s new adventures in video games for several years now, and their patience should soon pay off. Gotham Knights arrives on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S on October 21, 2022 with the initial premise of the Dark Knight’s death and the advent of a new generation of heroes. Are Batman’s heirs able to take over?

Preview terms

During an event organized in the studios of Warner Games based in Montreal, the JV editorial team got their hands on Gotham Knights during a PS5 play session lasting around 2 hours and 30 minutes. This hands-on was followed by a series of interviews with the various departments responsible for the development of the game.

A new generation of heroes

The Gotham Knights story begins with a shocking revelation. Batman is dead and his sudden disappearance leaves a huge void that only the Dark Knight’s heirs will be able to fill. However, the task promises to be particularly difficult for Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), Red Hood (Jason Todd) and Robin (Tim Drake) who witness the fall of the North American city. After the death of its protector, the city plunges into chaos. The mafia as well as the iconic villains of the franchise 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 the criminals, but also self-proclaimed vigilantes now target the police.

Four heroes, four visions for a common goal … to free Gotham City from the evil that gnaws at it. The story is structured around different narrative arcs, those of the vigilantes and the main antagonist of the game – the Court of Owls – in the lead, to which are added those of the emblematic villains of the saga who take advantage of the death of Batman reinventing themselves. All these intrigues are led to intersect, to spy on each other with the aim of weaving the destiny of our protagonists and Gotham. WB Games Montreal above all he tries to create a memorable and epic adventure inspired by the source material … the comics, but knowing how to emancipate them to surprise the fans. The heirs of the Dark Knight will have a lot to do during this original and unedited story which, as a reminder, is neither near nor far connected to the Rocksteady universe. In other words, Gotham Knights has no connection with Rocksteady’s “Arkham” series, but draws on the same tradition … Gotham in mind.

This new city of Gotham is heralded as the largest ever built. Beyond the figures, it is above all the gloomy and sticky atmosphere that emerges from this metropolis with its post-industrial Gothic architecture that makes an impression. This Warner Bros. vision offers fans a Gotham that is sometimes true to the spirit of comics, sometimes conducive to a change of scenery. Of course there are the cult places of the franchise, starting with the Iceberg Lounge, the Blackgate prison or the General Hospital. To move in this open world populated by NPCs, our heroes can rely on their grappling hook, their skills in Parkour and above all on the Batcycle, just to gain some height or, conversely, to break through the environmental chaos on their motorized steed.

Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights goes back to the origins of the Batman character and, by extension, to his aides. Our vigilantes are essence investigators and conduct investigations in the heart of a city plagued by crime. They analyze crime scenes, collect clues, then check them to determine future missions.The goal is simple: to foil the plans of the villains who see Gotham as the ideal playground. There is no need to be a criminology expert to progress through the story, resolutions are naturally made by joining the places indicated on the map and achieving the subsequent objectives indicated. This specific “investigative” dimension of the saga should delight fans, even if the latter ultimately offers little freedom, and turns out to be (very) marked.

Our 4 vigilantes are quick to enforce justice and never hesitate to use brute force to achieve their goals. The combat system, loosely inspired by that of Marvel’s Spider-Man, much more than that of the Arkham series, is based on a skilful mix of dodging, attacks and various abilities. Batgirl, Nightwing, Little Red Riding Hood and Robin whirl through the fray, each with their own style, and showcase their martial arts mastery. Gotham Knights places confrontation at the center of a desired experience that is both accessible and technical enough to feel a real increase in power over the course of the adventure. Cleaning up Gotham’s streets proves hugely rewarding, both against minions and during boss fights, although the camera can roam at times.

Gotham Knights: the worthy successor of Batman and the Arkham saga?

However, it is advisable to act in the shadows and eliminate the threat without being detected. Stealth can quickly become a lethal weapon once placed in the hands of Gotham Knights. The latter carefully plan their attacks, then swoop down on their prey before slipping away without arousing the slightest suspicion. The enemies here show an intelligence that we could define as “video game”, that is, effective if not surprising. Several missions and / or objectives are also designed to highlight the infiltration phases while other situations leave the way forward, between frontal assault and discreet approach, to the discretion of the vigilante.

The Montreal studios have also integrated a light RPG overlay that includes obtaining new skills to unlock and new equipment to produce. These mechanics mainly allow you to perfect your play style and translate the evolution of our heroes who aspire to become Batman’s worthy successor through gameplay. In the end, Gotham Knights can be experienced alone or in two-player co-opand the creative teams have made every effort to provide an optimal gaming experience in all circumstances. For example, our heroes perform co-op combined attacks, but are not chained to each other. They can separate for a while, fight crime on their side, before reuniting and discovering the different story arcs together. Even the boss fights differ depending on whether you are accompanied or not … an initiative that must be welcomed.

Gotham Knights: the worthy successor of Batman and the Arkham saga?

Our impressions

Gotham Knights may very well be the worthy heir to Batman and the “Arkham” saga. With its original scenario, its hilarious fights, its dark and majestic city of Gotham, its charismatic characters and its solo cooperative approach, the WB Games Montreal title has solid arguments. RDV is given on October 21, 2022 to uncover the crossed fates of the Knights of Gotham.

Editorial review


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