After several months of cryptic hints and teasers, as well as a major delay, WB Games Montréal’s action RPG Gotham Knights is finally out for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series consoles. If you’ve followed the game since its 2020 announcement or have had your interest piqued by some recent gameplay videos or press coverage but aren’t sure whether to purchase it, you can discover if Gotham Knights is worth it right here with our handy review.
A game set within the Batman mythos, Gotham Knights is not a sequel to, nor is it related to, the Arkham series. The game is set within its own universe, and it follows the Bat-family – Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin – as they’re forced to step up and defend Gotham’s streets after the death of Batman.
While helping the citizens of Gotham, the Bat-family vow to uncover the truth behind Batman’s death, an investigation that sees the vigilantes cross paths with several of Batman’s famous villains, including the mysterious Court Of Owls – a secret organisation that dates back to Gotham’s origins.
The story is loosely based on Scott Snyder’s 2012 and 2013 Court Of Owls and The City Of Owls graphic novels, but the game is its own adaptation of the material and, aside from utilising some similar themes and story beats, is very different.
Visuals And Performance
Ahead of its release, Gotham Knights’ developer WB Games Montréal sparked controversy after revealing days before launch that the game will be locked at 30 frames-per-second on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles with no Performance mode, while PC offers an uncapped framerate.
Unfortunately, the game at launch struggled with performance issues across all major platforms. Some of the issues we experienced included unstable framerates, lag when using the Batcycle, and the occasional crash.
However, as of November 19th, WB Games Montréal has released several patches to improve the game’s framerate on both consoles and PC, and the game’s performance has improved considerably with next to no problems.
The game is gorgeous and benefits from a beautiful art direction. Although there are few pedestrians on the street, the city blooms with neon lights and has plenty of characters.
The city is split into several districts with unique styles, including various skyscrapers, gothic cathedrals, sprawling graveyards, and several landmarks from the comics like the now-abandoned Arkham Asylum, which you do eventually explore.
Gotham Knights differs from the Arkham series in its genre. While the Arkham games were primarily action-adventure driven, WB Games Montréal opted for an action RPG. You play as either of the four main characters, each of which has their own play style; Nightwing is the most agile, Batgirl offers a perfect middle-ground, Robin specialises in stealth, and Redhood is the group’s arms expert.
The Belfry acts as your main hub, where you can swap between the four playable characters, complete training challenges, interact with Alfred and other Bat-family members, customise the Batcycle, start missions, and more. You’ll leave the Belfry for nightly patrols where you can freely roam Gotham, complete random and premeditated crimes, find collectables, and complete side activities.
Combat varies between the characters but generally consists of you performing light and heavy melee attacks while dodging enemy attacks. All characters have ranged attacks, as well as special abilities that can be performed once you’ve built up enough momentum by fighting enemies. There is no counter or guard mechanic in the game, and you’ll be relegated to dodging as much as you can.
You’ll collect XP by completing missions, finding collectables, and defeating enemies. You’ll level up gradually, and earn ADP, which are points you can put towards unlocking new abilities across three skill trees. Levelling up as any of the Bat-family members will level up all others, and when you swap between the characters, you’ll have access to all the ADP points earned when playing as other Bat-family members.
Each playable character has an elevated Knighthood status, which is unlocked once you’ve cleared several challenges. Doing so will unlock the fourth and final skill tree in the game as well as the corresponding character’s heroic travel ability; Nightwing’s glider, Robin’s teleportation, Batgirl’s cape glide, and Red Hood’s platform jumps.
All of the characters also have various suits you can unlock while playing the game. The suits, along with additional melee and ranged weapons, must all be crafted with components you acquire by defeating enemies or find in chests on missions and around the open world of Gotham.
While you can craft these at any time, they cannot be equipped unless you’re at the Belfry, occasionally requiring you to end a patrol if you want to swap out gear before a main mission.
The game’s main missions are split into eight case files, all of which are split into several smaller sub-cases. The majority of these missions are triggered by speaking with NPCs or entering buildings around Gotham, but often you’ll be required to defeat mini-bosses, prevent crimes, solve investigations or interrogate select faction members several times to move the story forward.
There is an additional three villain case files that are also separated into several sub-cases, and each focuses on a respective Batman villain and their corresponding faction. Like with the main story, there can be requirements for you to solve investigations, interrogate enemies or prevent crime before any of these cases can be continued.
When stopping random crimes, you’ll collect clues. After collecting enough, you’ll be informed of premeditated crimes, which usually consist of faction members performing larger crimes like robbing banks, and these usually come with more enemies and better rewards.
Exploring Gotham is done by grappling to different buildings and points akin to web-swinging, riding the Batcycle or using each character’s heroic travel ability. However, there are fast travel points you can unlock across Gotham by scanning drones at various locations.
Finally, there are several side activities available within the game, including collectables in the form of Batarangs, Gotham street art, landmarks, caches, and more, as well as various challenges to complete too.
How Long Is Gotham Knights?
Gotham Knights isn’t a long game, and you can generally complete the action RPG’s main story within around 15 hours. However, if you’re looking to reach Knighthood for all characters, complete the three villain Case Files, find all collectables, and complete all other side activities and earn all trophies or achievements, this can be increased up to around 30 or more hours.
Should You Buy Gotham Knights?
In short, Gotham Knights can be worth a purchase if you find it on sale and strongly enjoy the Batman mythos. However, it does have flaws in the form of performance issues, lots of grinding, and some repetitive gameplay.
We found the game to be somewhat average; it has lots of potential and some great ideas but suffers from several issues. Starting with the story, which, although fun, exciting, and mysterious at the beginning, disappointed us after the mid-point plot twist when the Court Of Owls – the most interesting plotline of the game – are quickly dismissed for a larger threat.
The core Bat-family characters were all well written and their performances – American Young as Batgirl, Christopher Sean as Nightwing, Sloane Morgan Siegel as Robin, and Stephen Oyoung as Red Hood – are all excellent. The Bat-family’s interactions with each other were great to watch but limited.
We couldn’t help but feel disappointed that the characters spent so little time together outside of the Belfry, despite cooperation and teamwork being an important theme – AI companion missions outside of co-op would have been great to see, particularly as the story ramps up.
One of Gotham Knights’ biggest issues is that a lot of it feels drawn out; if you want to unlock each character’s knighthood skills and traversal abilities – the latter should have been available from the start -, you’ll need to grind several crimes and complete several challenges; if you want to continue the game’s main story, you’ll need to interrogate criminals from various factions or defeat several identical mini-bosses; if you want to defeat bosses, you’ll also need to defeat the various basic and healing enemies that join them.
The game is beautiful and Gotham is wonderful to explore as it’s filled with plenty to do, but we found traversal to be a pain and immediately went on to unlock all fast-travel points to move around quickly.
The combat, which makes up the majority of the game, felt somewhat repetitive as it mostly consists of performing the same attacks while constantly dodging, much of which fail as all characters are slow, sluggish, and irresponsive, and the enemies frequently spam attacks.
Gotham Knights’ missions also felt repetitive. Although there were some great set pieces, we were often required to fight waves of enemies over and over again.
We also found that many of the missions were designed with co-op in mind but were not adapted for single-player experiences, forcing us to juggle multiple objectives alone, such as fighting two bosses while disarming several repeatedly triggering timed bombs and facing regular enemies that heal the bosses, making for a frustrating and very long experience.
The developers pumped a lot of love into Gotham Knights and it’s admirable, but that just wasn’t enough to save the game for us.
There are plenty of frustrating aspects to the game, and they’re much more prominent than Gotham Knights’ potential. With some DLC and some major updates like the upcoming Heroic Assault mode, the game can easily transform from something average to something good, but that’s going to take time.