A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Gotham Knights: Great ideas but poor execution

In Gotham Knights as Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Red Hood each with their own distinct play style.

When Gotham Knights first got announced I was excited. The last major Batman game to come out was Arkham Knight in 2015 which ended with a cliffhanger. However, once previews of gameplay started to come out I became concerned that it would not live up to the legacy prior games put before it. After playing the game for 16 hours I was left with mixed emotions. Gotham Knights is promising but may not be worth the price tag due to performance issues, repetitive missions and flaws in execution. 

The game starts off with the death of the iconic character, Batman, and Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Red Hood have to piece together his last mission while dealing with their loss.  Along the way you come across other characters from the comics such as Detective Montoya and Harley Quinn. Even though the story was interesting, it felt disjointed when you had to go out of your way to level up your character with side quests in order to progress through the game. If the game offered more diversity with side missions this wouldn’t feel as tedious.

The trailers and lead up to Gotham Knights left fans full of doubts and turmoil. Some people said that the game graphics look outdated and the animations of the characters looked sloppy. The most recent controversy being that the game will run at 30 frames per second and the developers withholding this information until a week before release. 

I played Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5 after the day one patch. Even though the game ran at 30 FPS, I still encountered constant frame drops. Most of these happened while I was exploring Gotham on the Batcycle or grappling around buildings. Other times it happened during cutscenes and was very noticeable.

Texture pop-in was also frequent with random vehicles and enemies popping in or disappearing, and sometimes buildings in the background wouldn’t fully render in. While there were times the game looked amazing, these issues were persistent enough to notice.

Another factor that Gotham Knights had going against it was the expectations from the  Batman Arkham series that came before it. Those games had memorable boss fights, engaging stealth sections that made you plan out each of your moves and a satisfying combat system with a vast skill tree to unlock better takedowns. The development team has stated from the beginning that Gotham Knights takes place in a separate universe from the previous games. So players may feel divided with the different gameplay elements such as no parry button and a slower approach to combat. 

The combat with each character is fun and fluid in their own ways, but the stealth gameplay isn’t innovative and doesn’t really expand on anything. However, the use of varied protagonists is one part of the gameplay that really shines through.

Each of the four characters have skill trees that focus on different ways to approach combat. Nightwing’s ability to bounce from enemy to enemy with fast attacks make him a great choice for those who want a faster pace. Robin has a bo staff that allows him to have more reach during fights and his stealth skill tree includes abilities to take down bigger enemies quietly or spread fear into enemies with a demon form. Red Hood feels slow but deals the most damage when punching. I was hesitant to play him at first but he turned out to be one of my most used characters due to how strong his ranged attacks were. Batgirl is another fun character with her fast combos and hacking abilities. Some levels are covered in cameras and are usually a pain to traverse and disarm, but with her abilities you can hack them remotely or be invisible to them. Her character also can take the most damage and is the only one that can self revive.

You are also not limited to just playing as one character because they level up the same no matter who you choose. The game lets you constantly shift your playstyle and encourages you to try them all out.

There is a final skill tree that needs to be unlocked individually and opens each Knights’ signature moves and traversal. While the abilities were fun to use and made getting around easier, it felt repetitive having to unlock a moveset for each character. Each has the same set of challenges with nothing to mix it up and was more of a chore than anything.

The game offers a variety of enemies to fight, with multiple factions having access to weapons that do different types of damage. However, most of the enemies can be broken down to three groups, which includes range, melee and big characters that have more health and deal more damage. This is where the game suffers from repetition as well. The enemies aren’t very aware and the player can usually take out an entire room without issue, so clearing out an area doesn’t feel as rewarding as it should be.

The side activities you can do range from small crimes where you fight a group of thugs and disarm bombs or to full on boss fights with Batman villains from the comics. There are also some races that you can do with the Batcycle. These activities always reward you with xp to level up your character and resources to build new gear. The side missions with other villains provide extra padding to the short campaign and can be taken on at any time. 

The unlockable suits are a highlight of this game. Some have taken inspiration from the comics or movies. Not only do they look great but they also add abilities such as fire, ice, electric and poison damage. You can customize each suit’s mask, chest piece, arms and legs. Different colors are also available to really make a suit your own. 

Overall, even though this game has some good factors it is still weighed down by the current performance and the repetitiveness of the missions. The story and combat show that the development team took this game seriously and had a clear passion for it. I just wish that the final version had been executed better. You are better off getting this game on sale as it’s not worth $70.


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About the Contributor
Javi Rosas
Javi Rosas, Editor
Javi Rosas is in his third semester with The Oak Leaf and starting his second year as a journalism major. He enjoys covering video games and other entertainment. Javi plans to transfer in Spring 2024.

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