‘Gotham Knights’ preview: Batman’s protogés face familiar threats
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Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
As Batgirl glides over the city, there’s an instant familiarity to Gotham Knights. The tall buildings and dark, dangerous streets below feel very similar to the world of Arkham Knight - which isn’t that surprising - but there’s a sense of something bigger here.
See the trailer for Gotham Knights here
One key reason for this feeling is the four playable characters of Nightwing/Dick Grayson, Robin/Tim Drake, Red Hood/Jason Todd and the aforementioned Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. While the quartet operate similarly, they each boast their own unique qualities, both in terms of combat techniques and traversal methods.
For instance, Red Hood wields dual pistols with non-lethal rounds, which makes for a fun combination of gunplay and brawler-style combat, while Robin is equipped with a bo staff and a more gymnast-inspired manner of fighting.
The way each titular knight operates adds a welcome degree of variety, and they all level up simultaneously, so you won’t be penalised for swapping between them at any point in the game. From what I can tell, you can change up your character whenever you like, just by visiting the Belfry.
This is the hub of Gotham Knights, and houses the Batcomputer, which is where you upgrade your heroes by spending ability points. This currency gives you access to new techniques as well as improved stats.
The Batcomputer also provides customisation options, with each character having a range of unlockable costumes, many of which are clearly based on iconic outfits from the comics. You can change each section of these suits, too, from cowls and gloves to overall colours. In other words, it’s easy to find an aesthetic that works for you, whatever you’re going for.
During the two-hour remote preview session, I was able to sample all four characters over three different segments, ranging from the early game to night 22. I was told the number of nights is infinite, but that this point in the story was clearly a decent way into the action.
The overall arc of my preview experience involved Harley Quinn and her role as a significant antagonist. Controlling the minds of innocent people, the Clown Princess of Crime isn’t content with Batman being dead. Instead, she now opposes our cast of heroes and their campaign for justice.
I also asked about the Caped Crusader’s demise, and was assured we’ll learn what happened once Gotham Knights releases later this month. As the game is not related to the Arkham trilogy, it’s not surprising that things differ in key ways, but something about Bruce Wayne being deceased doesn’t sit right with me, and I expect it to be addressed clearly.
My limited time meant I wasn’t able to properly drink in Gotham’s open-world streets and rooftops, instead opting to speed through it on the Batcycle (which all four characters have access to), but I felt immediately at home there thanks to my history with the Arkham games. That being said, it still feels new enough, with a slightly prettier, more modern sheen to it.
While I’m eager to dive into the full game, I left my preview session feeling satisfied that Gotham Knights will offer something unique. The Arkham DNA is still there, and some of the traversal systems feel slightly inspired by Marvel’s Spider-Man, but this tale of four heroes trying to keep Batman’s legacy alive has hooked me.
Gotham Knights will release on October 21, 2022, for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.