Gotham Knights Best Skills & Attacks

Gotham Knights Review — It Takes a Family

Gotham Knights is not an Arkham game, and because of that, it thrives.

Gotham Knights on PS5

Recommended Videos

There is a moment early on in Gotham Knights when it becomes unequivocally clear that this is not going to be an Arkham game. The moment itself isn’t necessarily important from the outset, but what the moment represents most certainly is. Players are immediately made aware that they are no longer burdened with being Batman; that they no longer have to live up to his legacy. But they do have to live for him, and that is where our game so crucially begins.

For those unfamiliar, WB Games Montréal—the developers behind the arguably underrated Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)—brings us Gotham Knights, a new adventure set in the ever-dangerous city where things never seem to get better. In the wake of Bruce Wayne’s death, those closest to him must take his place to solve what plagues Gotham. To do so, they’ll have to dig deeper than ever before. They’ll also have to rely on one another in ways that Batman never did.

That’s the thing about Gotham Knights, there’s a sense of togetherness permeating every corner of this experience. Whether it’s a teenage Tim Drake (Robin) struggling to come to grips with the loss of his mentor; a resurrected Jason Todd (Red Hood) managing PTSD while understanding the good Wayne saw in him as well as Batman’s agonizing regret of previously losing him; an understanding, unflinching Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) who is now without both Batman and her father Jim Gordon; or a Dick Grayson (Nightwing) who is so much more like Bruce than he may ever willingly admit, everyone is together.

And between it all, remains Alfred — your moral compass, as it were. Often in the background, yet never the focal point. Consistently in the ears of the Bat family, and for good reason. A man who, at the behest of Mr. Wayne, finally agrees to take a long, long overdue vacation only to return home to a city that is now without the individual he had so long spent caring for. We’re presented with this, all of this, within the first 15-20 minutes of Gotham Knights, which sets the tone for a truly enriching experience.

Taking in a moment. Image Source: Warner Bros. Interactive via Twinfinite

Of course not being an Arkham game is sure to draw the ire of some, or at the very least invite plenty of comparisons to those previous titles. So while I would urge you all to not think of Knights in such a way overall, some concerns that those comparisons bring about are valid. Combat is different in Gotham Knights, but not in a way that feels as fluid. This is to the game’s detriment, as the Arkham franchise had arguably perfected the art of in-game combat to the point where it didn’t really need to be tweaked too much—or arguably at all.

While each of our playable characters boast ranged attacks and other skillsets that are uniquely their own, taking on too many enemies at once often devolves into constant evading or setting up for ranged attacks. The flip side of that, however, is the amount of fun that can be had with those attacks. This game just tends to lean on them a bit heavily at times, which in turn makes for a fairly repetitive experience that some may not enjoy as much.

So, sure, the combat system falls short, but incorporated into it are certain bonus objectives that present themselves whenever you’re investigating a premeditated crime or taking out an enemy faction. It harkens back to Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man from 2018 in the sense that there are several ways to experience this altered combat system—whether it be through specific gadgets or ways to overcome an enemy. Unfortunately, these don’t always land and can make you feel as though you’re simply ticking boxes rather than focusing on the task.

The addition of co-op multiplayer is intriguing in concept but falls short in execution, yet does offer a neat wrinkle into how one may typically approach combat. Just because you may be stealthy doesn’t mean your partner-in-crime will be. It will be interesting to see how this aspect develops post-launch, and if any meaningful updates come to light. For now, it feels like an unfinished version of people fighting alongside each other without the genuine feel of being in the same place.

But where the gameplay does fall short, characterization more than makes up for it often enough, even if sometimes the game doesn’t go quite far enough. Whether it’s emails between our four playable characters that provide levity, show subtle yet appreciated support, or simply showcase each other’s strengths, it is made clear that all four of these people are truly their own person.

One such moment where the game doesn’t go far enough, however, is an email between Jason and Barbara discussing joining Grayson and Tim at the Pride Parade. It’s a nice touch in a game chock-full of them but that’s all it ends up being, a touch. It comes across as very surface level in a game that otherwise takes its time to explore these characters. I’ll stop short of calling it tacked on, as that’d be too cynical a descriptor, but it’s a missed opportunity to expand.

Image Source: Warner Bros. Interactive via Twinfinite

This isn’t dissimilar to Jason Todd’s ongoing therapy that is referenced in emails and cinematics but not really explored in-game. Because at the end of the day, Gotham Knights is an action-adventure game. We’ve got to get to it and we’re in Gotham City, after all, where there are baddies to fight and crimes to investigate. There are moments when the game takes a step back to allow our characters to breathe and feel, and then there are moments that we potentially miss out on simply because of what the game is and needs to be. It’d be nice to see more of those aforementioned moments play out is all.

Still, seeing Clark Kent check in on those closest to Bruce in the wake of his passing is a sweet touch. And branching off of that, each individual has different yet clearly-defined strengths, all of which play a role across the varied obstacles, enemies, and hardships our heroes come face-to-face with. Players are able to switch between Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Nightwing as they so choose, but suffice to say there are characters specifically suited for certain moments.

Maybe it’s having to trust someone they’d never dream of, or perhaps it’s taking a chance on a relative unknown simply because they’re presented with little other choice. Sometimes it’s fighting against a city that continues to fall into chaos; clashing with a GCPD that is more ruthless towards vigilantes than ever; balancing time and space to grieve while still trying to protect Gotham from what lurks beneath — all of these challenges are ever-present, it’s just that this time there are four people to deal with them instead of one.

Image Source: Warner Bros. Interactive via Twinfinite

Getting back to combat, boss battles can feel exhaustive yet undeniably rewarding and logically sound, with each villain playing off their strengths. It is both rewarding in the gaming sense, where you should beam with pride after taking down a relentless Mr. Freeze who has perhaps unsurprisingly yet tragically fully snapped. It is also rewarding in the sense that you’ll be met with many resources necessary to continuously craft better suits and weapons. Each villain has a weakness; keep that in mind as you’re navigating the game’s various suits and weapon abilities.

It’s also nice to see Batman’s villains other than The Joker truly shine and be given their appropriate if not long overdue platform for madness. In the case of an old favorite, seeing Harley Quinn play to their current state while mixing in a little bit of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand along with a dash of Joel Osteen and pre-politician Dr. Oz is jarring yet exceptionally fitting. Schmoozing with Oswald Cobblepot? Sign us up. A “dance” with Clayface, as it were? Well… Of course, the party does not end there. Where do you think we are?

On the streets, crimes vary in difficulty and type with different factions carving out their own space. Oftentimes they are affiliated with a recognizable name, but their objective isn’t always the same. Going hand in hand with that is another instance that may irk some; a quality-of-life feature that was ever-present in Arkham entries but now one that you must unlock through a series of (admittedly minimal) challenges. We’re talking about the fact that players cannot glide from the beginning, and while each hero has their own unique way of getting around the city after completing their Knighthood challenges, it still does not feel as smooth as gliding through the air as Batman.

Image Source: Warner Bros. Interactive via Twinfinite

Speaking of gliding through the skies and preventing crimes, let’s talk about the open-world aspect of this entry. For those that have played through the Rocksteady trilogy, I’d say this world feels more like Arkham City than it does Arkham Knight. For those that haven’t played through those, there’s no time like the present, but I can break it down for you this way instead: It’s big but not overwhelming; and, it doesn’t feel artificially inflated due to at least one mechanic that is thankfully absent in Knights.

As for what is out there for players to find, our Riddler trophies of the past are replaced with Batarangs and street art. If you’re a completionist like myself, you’re not going to tire of stopping a similar cycle of premeditated crimes or even the smaller ones that are ever-constant in Gotham. If you’re not, then you have every right to just play on through the main story. There isn’t a wrong choice, and while a certain level of grind is always going to be present in games like these, you get to decide when you’ve had enough. There are countless costumes to craft; endless colors to choose from; mods for every level you gain almost to a staggering degree. With all of that may come a certain level of redundancy, but it’s fun to ride directionless through Gotham on the Batcycle without having to worry about a destination.

Keeping everything else up to this point in mind, Gotham Knights is a game that does require you take your time. And for what it’s worth, that time is rewarded. It feels challenging to take on the big bads, even if those battles sometimes devolve into a monotonous array of repetition. There are countless skills to unlock and four different characters to unlock them for. The detective work could be improved upon and pushed further but patrolling Gotham while checking off premeditated crimes and other, smaller disruptions is par for the course. While those experiences don’t offer much in the way of new findings, they also do not take a step back.

And as we’ve learned in the past, bigger is not always better. For all the praise Arkham Knight received, its size was merely a result of being forced to rely on the Batmobile for countless missions as well as, strangely, a tank boss battle with Deathstroke that I’m still not over. Here we can use the Batcycle to explore the city without having to solely rely on it. All the while, we’re unlocking Fast Travel points by helping out our old friend Lucius Fox. And unlike the titular Arkham Knight, who was neither an original villain nor new character in any sense, the amount of effort put into the likes of Jason Todd alone in Gotham Knights is enough for me to recommend this title.

Image Source: Warner Bros. Interactive via Twinfinite

If nothing else, Gotham Knights proves how rewarding it can be when we’re able to step into the shoes and explore the depths of another masked vigilante. Yet every step of the way, we’re reminded just how big of a role Batman played in shaping every single one of them. They excel in combat and can tinker with the best. They’re as sharp as anyone, if not sharper, while their detective tendencies and tracking abilities are constantly put to the test. Lastly but most importantly, they are all their own person. The dialogue may sometimes come across as a bit on the nose or a tad cringey, but that simply doesn’t faze me as much as it might others. The bond between our characters allows us to overlook those moments.

We don’t have to relive Bruce’s parents being murdered. We don’t have to watch Batman’s Saddest Hits play on repeat while we’re once again tasked with aiding an ailing Gotham. Instead, we’re met with refreshing retrospection from the billionaire vigilante. And finally, there are other characters to explore. That’s a win. Yet to endlessly compare this experience to Arkham games of the past would be a disservice to both this story and those of the beloved franchise Rocksteady have already given us. To not allow this game to stand on its own would be cruel and short-sighted. This is not as big as an Arkham entry and it, at times, certainly does not feel quite as fluid as one. But that’s okay.

Gotham Knights is a game that draws its line in the sand very early on and rarely wavers. It is a game that emphasizes the importance of support and empathy while sprinkling in every element we’ve come to expect and adore from these titles along the way. So no, Gotham Knights is not an Arkham game. It neither needed nor wanted to be. And because of this, it thrives.

Gotham Knights
There is a moment early on in Gotham Knights when it becomes unequivocally clear that this is not going to be an Arkham game. The moment itself isn't necessarily important from the outset, but what the moment represents most certainly is. Players are immediately made aware that they are no longer burdened with being Batman; that they no longer have to live up to his legacy. But they do have to live for him, and that is where our game so crucially begins.
Pros
  • You're not Batman.
  • Multiple villains shine.
  • Varied skills and move sets.
  • Every character has their purpose.
  • Challenging yet rewarding boss battles.
  • Gently-written yet impactful storytelling.
Cons
  • Inability to glide initially may frustrate some.
  • While rewarding, boss battles can begin to feel tedious.
  • Only runs on 30 FPS and does not offer Performance Mode.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC.

Twinfinite is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Fortnite Chapter 5 Season 3 Battle Pass Leaks & Wishlist
fortnite chapter 5 season 3 leak
Read Article Does Wuthering Waves Have Controller Support?
Character art for Wuthering Waves
Read Article Complete Unwanted Experiment Walkthrough Guide
Unwanted Experiment feature
Related Content
Read Article Fortnite Chapter 5 Season 3 Battle Pass Leaks & Wishlist
fortnite chapter 5 season 3 leak
Read Article Does Wuthering Waves Have Controller Support?
Character art for Wuthering Waves
Read Article Complete Unwanted Experiment Walkthrough Guide
Unwanted Experiment feature
Author
Shaun Ranft
Shaun Ranft is a Freelance Writer for Twinfinite, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who has been with the site and writing about games in general since 2022. While he typically covers any major sports title, he also cannot get enough of Telltale's The Walking Dead, Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds, Arkham, and the Horizon series.