Genre: Action RPG Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montreal (Batham: Arkham Origins) Platform: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC release: 21st of October Price: 75 euros
Gotham Knights has not had it easy so far. Not only did the first gameplay videos for the co-op and single player game understandably receive little approval from DC fans, the versions for the last generation were canceled without further ado, and last year’s scheduled release has been pushed back further and further. Now the open world game comes out on October 21 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC and I’ve already been able to meander through Gotham City for three hours.
The happy news: Anyone who liked the Arkham games can look forward to the release. A half-baked superhero game with a Live Service character like The Avengers probably isn’t waiting for us here. On the contrary. What I played was a lot of fun and reminded me of the strengths of the recent Batman games. Before we start testing in a few days, here are my four highlights for you.
Huge battle system – no crazy numbers
The most important message in advance: The numbers about opponents are a thing of the past, the combat system is reminiscent of previous Arkham games, is huge, paved with cool special abilities from the four superheroes and makes a good to very good first impression.
The stylish finishers in particular left a lasting impression. In contrast, the stealth moments were less convincing. We certainly won’t get a second Arkham Asylum here. Only the possibility to fight treacherously, but mainly for the action.
By the way, the action was relaxed with detective passages. Here we scan locations for clues and solve smaller puzzles. This all seems pretty superficial and can even be skipped if you want, but it was a nice change from the action and story moments. It’s also just fun to have quieter moments in an action game.
Have fun with a dose of seriousness
While The Avengers takes itself fairly seriously as a superhero game, Gotham Knights seems to be a nice mix of completely crazy moments combined with serious dialogue that adds depth to Batgirl, Red Hood, Robin and Nightwing.
Warning: the following paragraph contains minor spoilers
My opponent was the imprisoned Harley Quinn, whom I had to visit at Arkham Asylum to get important information. Harley then tied the necessary information to a floating balloon unicorn, floated it above the prison and I was then able to get it during a fight in the courtyard to the tune of Ricky Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca”. Thanks for that Harry!
The clock tower as a domestic hub
What could be better than a cozy, quiet hub in open world games? Be it Majula from Dark Souls 2, Milano from Guardians of the Galaxy or Normandy from Mass Effect as the best known example.
In Gotham Knights, the clock tower serves as a refuge for our team of superheroes. Here you level up, switch between the four heroes depending on your mood, accept missions and progress through the story.
Although the resting place seems quite compact compared to the examples above and how much life and interaction it is filled with, I can’t estimate it definitively yet, but the first impression is certainly very positive.
Through Gotham on the Bat Bike
I haven’t been able to get an impression of the open world activities yet, but more on that in the test, but of the Bat Bike, which allowed me to race through the dodgy lamplight-flooded gloomy streets – Gotham Knights, by the way, is a chic and atmospherically coherent game that won’t be a next-gen graphic showcase of its looks though. It looks very good for an open world game, period.
While the Arkham Knights Batmobile was an overpowering, unsuitable tool for many fans of the series, the bike looks rather subtle. The controls are fun Arcadian, we can use ranged attacks like Red Hood’s pistols from the seat and smoothly swing to higher places with the grappling hook.
As a big fan of the Batman: Arkham games, my eyebrows raised critically after the first information and gameplay videos about Gotham Knights. Is this going to be another live service crap with loot shooter mechanics and a multiplayer focus?
Over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly clear that Warner Bros. is not going down this road (anymore) and is offering us a classic single-player superhero game with an open world, which can optionally also be played in pairs.
After three incredibly fun hours in Gotham, I can well imagine that in two weeks there will be a surprise hit for many that many have already written off. The biggest question mark for me is still the open world, which hopefully Arkham City will be filled with fun side activities. The fun of the game may still turn around here, but hopefully not.