Gotham Knights (PlayStation 5) Review

By Albert Lichi 28.05.2023

Review for Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5

When Batman: Arkham Asylum came out in 2009, it proved to be one of the most important games released in the seventh gen. Since it came out, it spawned several sequels, a prequel, and countless imitators. Arkham Asylum effectively established the template for all future 3D beat 'em ups and 3D superhero games to come with its timing and free-flow combat system. To this day, even Sony copied its homework with their Spider-Man and so did Square Enix with their take on Marvel's Avengers. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment not wanting to keep Detective Comics out of the limelight for long, the time has come to go back to Gotham City. This time there would be some shocking twists on the formula, but the biggest surprise of all would be how disappointing the trip would be. What went wrong exactly? Read on…

Gotham Knights makes no mystery about the death of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. The elaborate and impressive prerendered cut-scene in the beginning depicts the caped crusader in a duel against Ra's al Ghul and the scene climaxes with the death of both men and the destruction of the Bat Cave. With Gotham's protector dead, the torch is passed on to his successors: Nightwing, Robin, Redhood, and Batgirl. These four youths still have a lot to learn about being a hero, and with Batman dead, Gotham's criminal element rises.

The heroes of Gotham Knights are almost interchangeable. When playing as them, there doesn't feel like there was any consideration into making each one feel more unique. The story will allow gamers to pick and choose who to play as, but it ultimately doesn't add much outside of padding the whole thing. Players will have to replay missions as any of the four characters, and while there was an attempt to make cut-scenes play out differently, it is almost like a blink and miss it level of change.

Screenshot for Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5

The story of Gotham Knights relies a lot on the characters acting out of character and making intensely stupid decisions or poor judgements. The cast is also disappointing and has three of the four of them be a variation of Robin. Nightwing is the "cool," former Robin. Redhood is the brooding, edgy former Robin... and then there is Robin, the kind who is still Robin. The case of Batgirl is also peculiar since this version of Barbara was apparently paralysed and got over her affliction. It just seems pointless to write her in this manner when DC rules on different iterations of these characters are loose enough as is.

Gotham Knights missed an opportunity to include a playable Catwoman and have other heroes aside from the different Robins. There are a lot of options out there that would have made for a more varied gameplay and story experience. Figures like Green Arrow or even The Huntress could have made for a more varied team. It doesn't help that writing is also insufferable. No shade towards the actors - the cast did what they can with the material given to them, but there are a lot of groan-inducing lines in this. Gotham Knights may be DC, but it is rotten with the Disneyfication of modern-day Marvel quippy-ness and snark.

Screenshot for Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5

The scenario revolves around the Knights picking up the trail that Batman left The League of Shadows and The Court of Owls. A lot of existing Gotham villains are implicated, and this highlights the highly structured flow of the gameplay. When not progressing the story or participating in plot missions, expect bumbling around in the barren and ugly looking Gotham City on patrol. The idea is that the developer is trying to make the experience like being a vigilante on watch and going around being a hero. The way the open world is built makes it feel more like the cast is wandering around, looking for a fight.

The story is extremely basic, even for Batman standards. The Arkham trilogy wasn't a perfect example of story-telling excellence, but it had unique ideas and dared to do things with its characters. Arkham City took a huge risk with its scenario that climaxes with Joker dying. Arkham Knight explored a creative premise of Joker continuing an existence in Batman's head. All three of these titles had a surprising psychological angle to them that added a lot of flavour. Gotham Knights doesn't have such an x-factor. It exists in a separate continuity for arbitrary reasons that serve only to disappoint.

Screenshot for Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5

The haphazard and chaotic UI design isn't easy to parse either. It takes a while before anything makes sense and even when adjusting to its user-unfriendliness, it is always a chore to navigate. Expect to spend a lot of time here too since Gotham Knights is a loot-driven action title. Loot is something that makes sense for strategies or RPGs - putting them in a skill-based action game is a gross miscalculation because all it does is make it so the player always has terrible gear. This affects the brain-dead combat by padding out enemy HP pools. Battling is already based on a simple Arkham-style system, but Gotham Knights found a way to make it worse by dumbing it down more. There is no more countering or accounting for different enemy types that require specific strategies. For the most part, expect to dodge or wail on thugs into submission. Ranged attacks have sloppy guidance and everything feels very automated. There is no weight behind blows and characters snap into place to play out a canned animation.

The sense of artificiality is felt throughout every fibre of Gotham Knights. When riding the hopelessly slow batcycle it feels like it can't go past a cruising speed. When using the hook-shot to get around town like a Spider-Man, there is no weight to the characters at all, and they snap and stick to landings with no believable sense of momentum. Batgirl has to unlock her ability to glide, and characters like Red Hood earn the ability to glide, which is only included for the sake of parity for the multiplayer.

Screenshot for Gotham Knights on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Not being content with being one of the most soulless products released under the Warner Bros. label, it is also extremely underwhelming from a technical point of view. Gotham Knights was originally developed as a multi-gen title, but PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions got cancelled. Despite this, the visuals underwhelm and fail to impress and manage to look worse than the last major Batman instalment released seven years prior. Capping at a mere 30fps might be excusable if this boasted the most cutting edge visuals on the market, but it manages to look cheap and dated. For a AAA production from Warner Bros., this should have been a visual tour de force, with top writing talent, and have evolved the gameplay to compete with its contemporaries. Maybe it can be salvaged over time with updates, but currently it's one of the most droll and sloppily designed triple-A products of 2022.




Warner Bros. Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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