Star Rating:

Gotham Knights

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series XS, PS5

Release Date: Friday 21st October 2022

Play Modes: Single Player, Online Co-Operative Play

Genre(s): Action

'Gotham Knights' is a remarkable game - if only for how run-of-the-mill and generic the whole affair is.

The game follows the quartet of Red Hood, Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing following the untimely death of Batman, and the gang seeks to keep Gotham City safe after the death of the Caped Crusader.

That alone is a good hook to get players involved - this is a game in the world of 'Batman' but without the famous hero in it - but the game fails to do anything interesting with the concept.

In fact, not much happens at all.

The main gameplay loop of 'Gotham Knights' is the RPG elements, and the player is encouraged to switch between the 4 different heroes back at the base so they can all level up, and the developers hope that the game becomes a 4-player co-op experience.

It is there that the games true colours are revealed.

'Gotham Knights' is a live service game wearing the coat of a single-player experience.

The focus on crafting materials, the slow leveling-up mechanics, and the incredibly repetitive gameplay makes it obvious that the game has been touted internally as the next big game to compete with the likes of 'Destiny'.

Sadly, no one bothered to tell the developers that the concept of a live service game stopped being appealing around 2016 once players realised they are creative black holes devoid of any artistic merit or joy.

The main note with 'Gotham Knights' is that the game feels like it could have come out in any given year since 2012, which makes it all the more baffling that the last-gen ports of the game were cancelled earlier this year.

Running on a PlayStation 5, the looks and feel of the game are strikingly similar to every generic third-person sandbox game from 2012.

If you want familiarity with your game, you won't find a more tried and tested formula than 'Gotham Knights'.

Gotham City Blues

The biggest hit against 'Gotham City Knights' is that the titular city has all the life and ambience of a Saturday night on the International Space Station.

The map is fairly big, and traversing it is quite fun, but there is no indication that this is a city full of hustle and bustle.

2010's 'Red Dead Redemption' managed to feel alive despite being two console gernations ago and set in the final days of the old west, yet the Gotham City in this game feels desolate.

2018's 'Spider-Man' captured the hustle and bustle of New York, whereas 'Gotham Knights' feels like a world half-empty.

There is some narrative justification for this - the Gotham City of this game has been riddled with crime following the death of Batman, and it also turns out not programming pedestrians or traffic to appear is an awful lot easier for the developers.

The mere fact we're picking up on how utterly lifeless and boring the game world itself is should tell you everything you need to know about 'Gotham Knights' - the gameplay itself is a slog, and the game can't even conjure up some solid sandbox fun.

Switching between the characters is the one thing 'Gotham Knights' gets right

The traversal mechanic of grapple hooking around the city is fun in a 'Just Cause 2' way, but with the characters feeling so weighty, it is hard to get a sense of momentum going.

Travelling around Gotham City on a motorbike also sounds fun, and indeed it has been a main point of the marketing, but there is no real benefit.

In truth, you'll want to just fast-travel back to base to avoid the repetition and grind.

The actual storyline of 'Gotham Knights' is fairly interesting, with plenty of deep comic lore to satisfy the fans, and the 4 playable characters are decently fleshed out.

For fans of the DC Comics, the game does enough interesting stuff with established characters to make the game worth picking up, but you could save 70 quid by watching the cutscenes on YouTube and stopping every 10 minutes to wash the dishes.

Of course, the characters are decently fine in cutscenes, but when it comes to combat they pull out the MCU-style "jokes" that will leave you reaching for the mute button and when they investigate crime scenes they talk to themself like Aloy from the 'Horizon' games.

While the game is technically functional, there is still a distinct unfinished air to the game, which is odd considering the game has been delayed numerous times.

Between this and 'Saints Row', the current console generation is not making a convincing argument to players who are on the fence about picking up a next-generation console.

The lifeless streets, frequent pop-in, poor draw distances and the controversial move to cap the game at 30FPS all contribute to the game feeling penny-wise but pound foolish.

We wouldn't normally notice or even discuss the frame rate in a game because gameplay is what sells games, and not graphics, but considering the gameplay in 'Gotham Knights' is so flat and one-note the graphical issues start to stand out.

It is incredible that 'Arkham Asylum' can release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2009 and have graphics that still hold up as well as great gameplay, yet 'Gotham Knights' is the game that feels so out of time and inspiration.

The game makes a big point about the 4-player co-op, but we suspect they are hyping this feature up with the idea "a problem shared is a problem halved."

We forsee 'Gotham Knights' occupying the used sections in game shops over the coming months, and it should be made clear - this game is not worth paying full price for at launch.

If you truly love the world of DC, the highest recommendation we can offer is to wait for the game to go on sale in a few weeks' time.

Suffice to say, missing 'Gotham Knights' will not haunt you.