The new Warner Bros. game. “Gotham Knights” sees Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Red Hood left to fend for themselves as Gotham’s growing crime scene and the rise of a mysterious secret society called The Court of Owls. Hot notice!
After the series of Arkham games which told the story of Batman’s journey against increasingly ubiquitous supervillains in four parts, Warner Bros. Interactive is showcasing a new cast of DC Comics heroes in Gotham Knights , an action-adventure with an RPG twist, out October 21 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.
The story of the game is inspired (very freely) by the comics The Court of the Owls, famous opus signed by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo , and the arc which followed it. There are some of the iconic but completely reworked scenes, like the labyrinth sequence. (Obviously, Batman spends 8 days there in the comics and we 20 minutes of play, we have to adapt!)
Among the good points, he reminds us that giving life to Gotham is not easy, and on this side, the bet is once again successful. A character in its own right in the game, the city lives up to its depiction in the comics: sprawling via its islands connected by seemingly endless bridges and with play on the scale thanks to the many skyscrapers with which the characters can interact .
We find the pleasure of strolling the streets of the city by crossing the flagship monuments of Gotham such as the Courthouse or the cathedral, but also more pointed easter eggs such as the fast-food chain Big Belly Burger, invented by DC Comics . Gone are the question marks and the trials of the Riddler to overcome dear to the Arkham saga, it is now a question of finding the boxes of armaments and the batarangs scattered all over Gotham by the deceased Batman.
This time, no playable Bruce Wayne since, as revealed at the start of the game, Batman died under the blows of Ra’s al Ghul. Players will therefore have the choice between the Dark Knight’s faithful allies Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood and Batgirl. The multiplayer mode allows two players to play and combine the abilities of two heroes, each with their own specificities.
If it is possible to alternate the characters, it is better to choose only one and optimize it rather than to switch from one to the other, unless you take the time to make them acquire each one experience, which can take a long time. If you don’t have this time at your disposal, your heroes will be too weak to face the dangers offered by the adventures of the giant open world that Gotham City has become since Arkham Knight.
On the side of the villains on the other hand, it is quite deceptive. Because if some answer the call like the Penguin, Mr Freeze or Clayface, most of the iconic bad guys are absent, replaced by the different factions of the city: the Regulators, the Outcasts, the Mafia etc. A certain disappointment, because we expect precisely from a video game located in Gotham what a live film cannot do: bring together the widest possible gallery of enemies of the Dark Knight.
We alternate the phases of fight and those of pure investigation. The game puts a good emphasis on the investigation by offering case follow-up with an FBI-style quest board, tough interrogations in the streets and a progression in “cases”. Each file has an indicative level of power to possess in order to carry it out and it is rather to be followed to avoid being demolished.
Infiltration allows enemies to be discreetly eliminated, but sometimes mass combat is essential. Thanks to the indicative levels of the investigations and the RPG-style gain of experience, it is always balanced, and a training mode in the HQ of the heroes (the Belfry of Gotham) is to be preferred to correctly understand all the combinations.
This educational aspect, however, makes the fights a little heavier than in the Arkham games, where the emphasis was on the power of Batman. Red Hood is heavier than Batman was and the other three characters, reportedly much more agile, lack a bit of “bouncy”; we sometimes have the impression of having in hand the Batman of Arkham Asylum........
Moreover, everything related to precision is tense, such as aiming with a weapon or a batarang, but also with objects (you have to be very precisely in front, which is difficult to implement during a mission with timer ). Another concern for precision: enemy marking, which is difficult to put into practice. It is not impossible that you abandon it altogether.
THE NIGHTS FOLLOW EACH OTHER (AND LOOK ALIKE)
We can criticize the repetitiveness of the phases of the game, which consist of spending a night in the streets, obtaining information, stopping crimes, advancing the files in progress, returning to the Belfry, spending your experience and starting again. A game mechanic that disappoints in the long term, just like the little personalized plot of the heroes (Batgirl and her father, Red Hood and her mourning for Batman, etc.) which are a nice bonus that would certainly have benefited from being more dig.
Action-RPG fans might get their money’s worth with Gotham Knights , which isn’t a bad game either and has some real good stuff. But the public accustomed to the polished games of the Arkham saga may remain unsatisfied, as it seems to lack small things and details that made the universe so alive. Gotham Knights then appears as a magnificent shell whose empty areas we explore at times.