After more than two years of waiting, we finally have the latest video game from DC. Set in the Batman universe, the Gotham Knights video game is separate from the Batman Arkham franchise, that’s meant to appeal to both fans of the previous Batman games as well as new players.
The Gotham Knights game shares similarities with previous Batman entries, with elements like the story, the characters available to play, and the open-world aspects players have seen before. This game has already some mixed reviews but are those negative pre-release reviews justified or is the game better than others are giving it credit for? Could it really be just an average game from the Batman universe? Let’s explore everything Gotham Knights has to offer.
[Note: While I am reviewing this game independently and honestly, it should be noted that a copy has been provided to me by WB Games Montreal for the purpose of this review. Warning: spoilers from the Gotham Knights game are below!]
Gotham Knights’ story works very well, even without Batman
If you’ve been following all the teasers and previews for Gotham Knights, you’ll know that the video game follows Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake), Batgirl, and Red Hood, who are tasked with keeping Gotham safe after Batman’s death. Yes, Bruce Wayne is really dead in this game and this is a key moment in our heroes’ story.
Bringing them together to defend the people of Gotham and secure as many lives as possible is difficult, to say the least. Especially with the voice in the back of their heads saying “You’re not as good as Batman and you never will be.” But even after his death, Bruce Wayne is still with these young heroes, helping them through every obstacle and guiding them to become better defenders of Gotham.
In the game, you have the choice of playing one of four available characters. Each night you go on patrol, protecting the city from those wishing to do harm to the citizens of Gotham. Players can switch outfits, weapons, and heroes in between while in Belfry (The new hideout of the Bat Family).
Time played as Dick Grayson/Nightwing: Approximately 5-6 hours
Dick Grayson is my, and many others, favorite Robin, but in the Gotham Knights video game, he’s put the Robin mantle behind him. Dick gave up being Batman’s sidekick a long time ago by the time we meet up with him in Gotham Knights but has now returned from Blüdhaven to protect Gotham with his Bat Family. He had fled Gotham to avoid becoming as broken as Batman, however, has now returned without fear of becoming him.
He’s a strong and natural leader whose charisma inspires others to never give up. Dick’s also very protective of everyone, which can make him an easy target. In the game, Nightwing is very acrobatic and fights using Dual Escrima Sticks along with his fighting style known as Kali.
Time played as Tim Drake/Robin: Approximately 4-5 hours
Tim Drake is only 16 years old in the Gotham Knights, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s the most serious and intelligent hero in the entire group. He’s been Robin for a very short time, but Bruce’s death has impacted him a lot. His grief has turned him into a hero who is more calculated with his decisions, toning down his recklessness.
He mastered the Wushu fighting style, which helps make him an expert at the Quarter Staff he uses to fight crime. Among his very unique qualities, Tim is the skilled master detective of the group, noticing things that others would ignore.
Jason Todd/Red Hood
Time played as Jason Todd/Red Hood: Approximately 3-4 hours
Before he became the Red Hood, Jason Todd was better known as the second Robin. He was killed by the Joker and later resurrected thanks to the Lazarus Pit. At first, he was a villain who didn’t follow the rules, but with Batman’s help, Jason returns to the brighter side.
Although not fully a hero, Jason’s trying to honor Bruce’s memory and has become a better man and brother to his Bat Family. As in comic books, animations, and other games, Red Hood uses modern firearms and explosives, as well as enhanced interrogation methods designed to scare his opponents and make them flee before he gets to them.
Jason is very impulsive, decisive, and ruthless. These traits, along with his physical strength, make him one of the most difficult characters to control in the game. He’s an expert in Gun Kata fighting style, which is very impressive when using various combos later in the game.
Time played as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl: Approximately 8-9 hours
Barbara Gordon was Batgirl long before the game begins. She had her iconic accident when the Joker shot her, but now after rehabilitation and spinal implants, her health is back to normal. Batgirl is a technical support, strategist, and Bat-family planning expert. Her coding and hacking skills, along with her eidetic memory, make her a worthy addition to the group, as well as a playable character.
She has mastered Kickboxing as her fighting style and uses Tonfa as her main weapon to fight criminals on the streets. Batgirl is more of a tank in the Bat Family because her health and the damage she receives can be manipulated to near-op levels, where you can defeat criminals quickly while retaining a large amount of health.
Play the Gotham Knights video game in co-op, if you can
When it comes to defending Gotham City, If you can, save it together with a friend. This game offers players a co-op mode where they can play alongside their friends and progress through the story together.
I haven’t played much of Gotham Knights’ co-op (only about 2-3 hours), but it’s incredibly satisfying when you and your friend are planning how to attack criminals or splitting up tasks to keep hostages from getting blown up by bombs.
It also helps a lot when fighting big bosses such as Harley Quinn, Clayface, and Man-Bat. It felt like an actual dedicated role-playing game. I felt like Nightwing when I tried to explain to my friend who played Red Hood why it’s not good to just attack criminals by surprise.
After completing certain challenges (both in solo and co-op), players can unlock more suits and Knighthood abilities for our heroes, which are supposed to make traveling around Gotham much easier. For Batgirl, it’s Batman’s cape that allows her to glide through the air, Robin can teleport a medium distance using a teleportation device from the Justice League’s Watchtower, Red Hood uses spirit platforms, and Nightwing can fly using his flying trapeze.
Other Batman games vs Gotham Knights
Compared to other Batman games, such as Batman: Arkham Asylum or other games in the Arkham series, Lego Batman, Telltale games, and other older projects, Gotham Knights is still a very solid video game. It has a lot of flaws, but there are also a lot of positives that cover them, which is very rare, especially when it comes to action-adventure role-playing games like this one.
What works best in Gotham Knights is the storyline, a variety of suits (some of which we can further modify), the chemistry between the characters especially in the case of their relationship with Alfred, and the bosses to further develop our characters.
Gotham Knights is a fun, easy, and in some moments very emotional game to play, which makes it an even more fantastic experience. Even though it can feel repetitive at times, you can still find more ways and different scenarios to go through it. There’s also the option to replay the game many times because every mission has different dialogues and situations depending on which character you play.
My rating for this game:
★★★★ / ♥♥♥♥
Gotham Knights is currently available on Playstation 5, Xbox Series S/X, and on PC. Have you played it? Let us know your thoughts on our Discord or social media!