If Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman in films, Rocksteady Games did the same with the caped crusader in video games. The studio’s Batman: Arkham series has achieved critical acclaim and commercial success. The last game in the series, Batman: Arkham VR, was released six years ago. The next one, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, is set to release next year.
For now, fans of the Batman universe will have to be content with Gotham Knights by WB Games Montréal.
The game is set in Gotham, which is witnessing a surge in crime and corruption following the deaths of Batman and commissioner Jim Gordon. A new evil is rising to take over city. To fight this evil, the Bat family, consisting of Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Red Hood, must band together.
The game is hardly exciting. You keep going on quests across Gotham, playing as one of the four characters. There are no memorable moments, characters, or interactions. The storytelling lacks depth or finesse. For instance, The Court of Owls, a clandestine secret society in the comics, is downgraded into a gang of thugs waiting to get beaten up.
More than the story, fans of Batman games look forward to the combats. That, too, is disappointing in Gotham Knights as it is clunky. At a disappointing 30 frames per second, crime-fighting becomes a chore due to lags. Sometimes hits do not feel like they have connected. The game does not have creative modes in the combat that make you feel like a superhero. You just keep repeating the same moves as you mindlessly bash up the villains.
Moving around in the game, too, is not very smooth. After enjoying great freedom of movement in Arkham Knight, you feel restricted in Gotham Knights.
The design of the game is a saving grace. The four heroes look crisp, with varied movesets, weapons and gadgets. Gotham looks gorgeous with its neon-lit boroughs.
Despite its shortcomings, Gotham Knights is not as bad as The Avengers game. It is partly entertaining. It does justice to the characters of Red Hood and Batgirl. It could have been a better game at 60 fps.