Gotham Knights is a game set after the ‘death’ of Batman, in which you play as his proteges – Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood and Nightwing – and outwit various bad guys. It’s apparently unrelated to the Arkham games, but a new gameplay trailer showing Nightwing and Red Hood shows it’s very similar in style: except it somehow doesn’t look quite as good.
The walkthrough shows the two former Robins in a few different encounters and a look at co-op battles. It’s instantly clear that this has all the animations in the world, but it seems to lack the weight of Arkham’s combat system. There, Batman felt like a ballerina who beat like a gorilla. Here, Nightwing, in particular, seems to spend half his time doing useless little jumps and slides, rather than hitting anything. In conjunction with the ‘homing’ animations – which Arkham also had to be fair – it makes the combat feel quite floating and unsatisfying.
Red Hood isn’t much better either. I mean, if you want to play a melee-focused game with a character using pistols, then rock it — but Jason Todd is not Dante. There are sequences here where he’s just shooting bullets at enemies that are there and catching them, and while he doesn’t have Nightwing’s repertoire of useless stunts, the way he moves between enemies feels pretty weird.
Look, I don’t want to be mean. I love the Batman stuff and the Arkham games in particular, the setup for this looks great but… the bar is now pretty high for Batman video games. And there is something not quite right here.
Don’t even get me started on the Red Hood’s method of crossing: he double-jumps through the city using ‘soul energy’. These are just my two cents, but the Batman universe, as absurd as it is, must feel a lot more grounded than the superhero worlds where people are shooting lasers out of their backs. Why the soul leap wasn’t a laughing matter from the first meeting it was created in, we’ll never know.
This game looks tough, and I’m not even going to pick up the weird glitched elements, what appears to be a shoe crafting system, or the glowing chunks that now fall from KO’d enemies. There’s a boss fight here with Red Hood and some Court of Owls enforcer that honestly looks worse than anything I’ve seen in the Arkham games – which let’s remember started with Asylum in 2009 and ended with Knight in 2015. .
The trailer comes with the news that Gotham Knights is now Available for pre-order, and of course, there’s a ridiculous $299.99 deluxe edition with goodies including a pin badge, statues, and city map. But frankly, this feels like a game that could take a little longer in the oven, not something you should buy in advance. Gotham Knights has been delayed for the first time in March 2021 to the current date, so it’s unlikely you’ll get another one. Going by this footage, it certainly won’t be worrying Elden Ring at the end-of-year awards.