The first reviews for the recently released Gotham Knights just dropped and they don’t sound very promising. Some critics love the game, bits of fandom are overwhelmed by its narrative, and others are relieved to cancel their pre-order after it was revealed that the game would lack a performance mode and after suspicious reports of the game spying on people playing.
According to Kotaku’s report, those seem to be the least of her problems. As it turns out, the game has technical issues and frame rate drops, among other performance issues. However, the gaming community is used to games experiencing technical issues at launch, and Gotham Knights frame rate drops are nothing new. At least it’s playable; Overwatch 2 was unplayable all day after launch. The game’s downsides are tied to its overall story and lack of unique flavor to differentiate the bat family from their mentor. Sounds like a disappointment after a long wait.
Some have called Gotham Knights nothing more than a checklist of generic content previously seen and copied from Rocksteady’s 2015 Arkham Knight – which recently came out on the Nintendo Switch. However, the latest game doesn’t really compare to Arkham Knight. While some criticized the story as lackluster, others praised the game’s narrative. But everyone agreed that the fighting game feels like an overcomplicated take on the combat mechanics previously seen in Arkham Knight, but with co-op elements incorporated.
It might be unfair to compare Gotham Knights to Arkham Knight, but the seven-year-old title has raised the bar for Batman-related games so high that we may never see a game that fills its shoes. It’s worth noting that the two games aren’t actually related, but share a common universe. Unfortunately, where the Arkham Knights shined, Gotham Knights fell to the ground and broke his nose. The previous title had it all: tactics, exploration, puzzles and an insane arsenal in Batman’s tool belt.
Gotham Knights, on the other hand, focuses primarily on cooperative combat elements (although you can play the game solo). Unfortunately, it also requires a lot of work to progress the story and unlock better gear to increase your character’s survivability. For example, when a certain bad guy runs away, the game doesn’t offer any information about where he went. So you have to rough up some of their henchmen to find their possible hideouts and where exactly the villain is hiding.
These elements fit well with the Batman universe, in which the Caped Crusader hits the streets and finds/beats up the information he needs. However, the thinly drawn combat mechanics make “gaining” information through melee more of a chore than an enjoyable gaming experience. Not to mention the useless crafting and gear customization systems, which while providing the game with popular content, are disjointed – Gotham Knights could have done better.
To be completely honest, WB Games have made some of the best gaming titles of the last decade, but they’ve also ruined others. Shadow of Mordor was a fantastic game without overly complex systems; Shadow of War (sequel) was supposed to be a step up. Instead, despite the fantastic story, the game systems became unnecessarily complex. Let’s hope the previously announced Wonder Woman game doesn’t suffer the same fate.