Gotham Knights, snakes thrive in the shadow of the bat | Review

Who I am
Judit Llordés
Author and references

Gotham Knights is a set of sensations. I love the noise and sweet delirium that creeps into the streets of Gotham City, it has always fascinated me. A city made of masks and cloaked in a thick blanket of darkness, as if the whole place was the epicenter of evil. I look out into the streets and I know I breathe in the realm of contradictions and opportunities. A world that has never hidden that it is the corrupted reflection of our souls, a place where the most tragic stories of the superhero universe have long fermented. I open the window and I'm addicted to the moral perdition that hovers in the neighborhoods. The stark reality of the DC world is fictionalized, but that's a lot closer, in its cycle of paradoxes, to our daily lives than we can imagine.

In this suggestive setting, which would galvanize any lover of the superhero universe, WB Games Montréal tries to propose a different Gotham, even more rarefied in its abyss of perdition. We all know how arduous it is to virtually recreate the iconic city of the DC world, then expectations were also inflated by his business card. An open world action RPG that has the honor and the burden of satisfying the orphans of the series dedicated to Batman and teasing those who love superheroes in the videogame field. Without delay, therefore, let us be pampered by the new champions of justice who will arrive in your belongings on the platforms PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC on October 21, 2022. When you turn on your platform will you see the bat symbol in your room?

Batman is dead. A phrase that numbs the good of heart and makes the cowards rejoice. It's not just the end of a hero, a symbol, but the very death of justice. It's like the thin thread that he held Gotham hangs just above the abyss of darkness broke suddenly. The news doesn't even need to spread. Since the bat's wings started missing from the moonlight for too many nights, crime has returned. Crawling from the sewer of selfishness, the disease of the city has returned to proliferate, now aware of having again the clearance to win over every heart. In this terrible climate of chaos, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and the Red Hood they have to become real conjurers, even before succeeding Bruce.

The big deception now lies in covering up and mystifying the death of their mentor, so as not to open all the city's cages at once. The bat's disappearance must be treated as it once was with kings and rulers. Reassure the people that the ruler is only away for some time to recover, without however revealing the true extent of his problem. The mere fact that Batman exists in people's minds is, for now, a more than comfortable thought. Of course deception can only slow down the truth and so the four heroes set out to preside over the city's Belfry, teaming up against crime. They face reality, accept mourning, close unsolved cases and also seek a little of themselves.

Gotham Knights Foundations of Corruption and the Twilight of Justice

Fortunately, the bat's legacy is everywhere. There are people and objects that almost speak for him, so teachings will never be lacking. The plot of Gotham Knights therefore begins at the end of the era of justice, while the new vigilantes must collect the legacy of their master. You feel the discomfort of not being up to par, just as it is perceived that evil now has no brakes on the streets. There will be many historical faces of the city making their appearance in history and you will be able to follow many intriguing parallel stories. Fans of the DC Comics universe are sure to jump on their seats at some gathering, but much of the work is due to character writing. Both heroes and villains are charismatic and memorable, even in their absurdities. Of course, we often shout at quotations and wink at many past facts, but each narrative parenthesis has its own well-defined arc.

The main story is already an experience in itself that manages to embrace many aspects of the city, from its history to the ramified socio-political intertwining. In learning a little more about the nature of Gotham, it will be natural for you to read or listen with pleasure to the various stories that swarm in the neighborhoods. In addition to the main campaign, the work boasts a long set of really well managed and amalgamated micro-stories, which will surely capture your attention from the main quests. A globally captivating, enveloping and successful writing, which always manages to keep us glued to the screen, between one fistfight and another.

The upheaval of a city poised on a lie

The proposed Gotham City is a paradise for any lover of superhero titles. From our operational base, in fact, we could go out to patrol the streets every night, so as to thwart heinous crimes and collect useful materials. In Gotham Knights there is a slow but rewarding progression system as the days progress. Eradicating the evil that lurks in the streets is certainly not easy, but every small crime solved, against any enemy faction, will offer you clues and materials to enhance your arsenal. Accumulating a certain amount of data will guarantee you reporting more challenging crimes to complete, which can range from robbery to locating a den of criminals.

Fortunately, the investigations are well condensed in the game environment and you will be able to roam freely to satisfy your curiosity. However, I must warn you that although crimes of small intensity are numerous and sufficiently diversified, they are in the long run there is a little sense of repetitiveness typical of this playful genre. What I really missed are the in-game events between one patrol and another, secrets to come across that would have broken the routine or bizarre activities to track down. You will undoubtedly have many activities to complete and wandering around the city still has its charm, so I'm sure that boredom will only knock on your door after several dozen hours of gameplay. The explorable Gotham City was built on the logical and creative basis of the classic "city of superheroes" model in the play field.

Gotham Knights

A dull city and the echo of history

A fully explorable open world, which will make you wander between dark alleys and skyscrapers wrapped in the gray smog. On land, the city feels alive at points of interest, points of crime, and in the shadow of Gotham's great monuments. The rest, alas, is a set of choices that this playful genre has been perpetuating for years now. Practically absent interaction with citizens, only minimally real buildings and mostly aesthetic cartoons and scarcity of in-game events. Obviously it makes no sense to cross the game in question, also because it is clearly affected by market influences. The formula, with its smudges and scene bottlenecks, works very well and guides the player's focus to the crucial points of the city, not rewarding free exploration much.

It is also necessary to underline the exceptional work done on the historical-comics front. The memorable places in Gotham dominate the various areas in all their glory and the reconstruction is fascinating. I speak not only of skill in development, but also in the excellent dissemination of details and materials available that carefully explain the many anecdotes since its foundation. It is a pleasure to see that the whole game world is a mine of information to be absorbed, even passively. On more than one occasion I have been bewitched by the stories of those places and I let myself be lulled by the various documents I found. A great job done on the artistic reenactment side. Finally, moving to the city was well thought out and valued.

Legacies of the old gen and role-playing qualities in Gotham Knights

We will be able to move to the various holds with the grappling hook, spread our wings to glide, unlock fast travel points to change districts and always count on the Batcycle. The motorbike on call will appear in front of us and will always be available for a nice walk in the whiteness of the moon. Handy and customizable, a real pleasure for the eyes and for the controls. Only minus is that at high speed there are slight frame drops, a victim of careless optimization. Really frustrating to praise a game for its playful qualities and then see it spoiled by technical trifles. The controversy about fps is, in my opinion, absolutely inflated, but legitimate.

The game, not only for this aspect, is anchored to the rusty limits of the old gen, but that doesn't mean it's not worth buying. The frame drops, I want to clarify it, do not affect the gameplay in any way, nor disturb the normal course of the game. However, when you get the chance to get angry over a wasted opportunity, I dutifully stop and think. Now, I don't know if these glitches will heal with subsequent updates, but I can reassure you that you won't feel them as disabling.

On the playful front Gotham Knights juggles quite well, offering a well-branched variety over time and satisfying to discover. Strengthened by the presence of four playable characters with many peculiar abilities each, the gameplay can be approached as if it were placed in our hands. Each mission can be strategically tested and modeled on the basis of the strategy we want to use, the powers of our hero on duty and his warlike attitudes. Fortunately you can switch characters whenever you want from your base of operations and everyone will level up evenly.

A freedom of play that cannot be dismissed in a few words during the evaluation phase, also because each of the four heirs of the bat has a well-articulated number of qualities. I'm not going to go too far to say that each of them is comparable to every other superhero in any single player story. I emphasize this forcefully to underline the fact that each of them has unique gameplay and its own inventory, also artistically breathtaking as well as functional. The aesthetics in this sense is a solid strength of the work, as it draws on many costumes or gadgets that fans will surely remember. The role-playing side may not be avant-garde, but it performs its task very well. In addition to enhancing the basic character traits in the skill tree, there are also elemental mounts for weapons and special moves. This variable allows for a more intelligent and enjoyable approach, as well as a more varied fleet of weapons.

Gotham Knights

The ballad of the crime that never sleeps

The equipment can be forged and placed in the headquarters, while the material can be found both at the end of the various quests and in the trunks scattered throughout the game world. Beyond the rich inventory, what is astounding is undoubtedly the pool of moves that can be used in battle. You will immediately notice that the progression system is well balanced and calibrated, therefore there will often be a way to show off unique skills. Once you've mastered the basic combat, which you can refine in the training room at the base (amazing, first time a tutorial doesn't bore me) you'll be ready to choose your style.

There are clearly more useful moves against certain enemies and, in this sense, you will be punished for any forgetfulness. Aware of the best way to get your opponent drunk, between perfect dodges and explosive blows, your approach to the crime scene will make all the difference. We now come to the thorniest topic when analyzing games of this kind: playful depth. I have stressed earlier that there is a sufficiently varied variety of actions during patrols, but I have not yet discussed the secondary ones. Although at first glance Gotham Knights does a good job of making the gameplay stimulating and never stagnant, instead, we need to raise the work done in writing secondary school far above mediocrity.

Gotham Knights

Boredom is not in Gotham City

Between thick villains, articulated stories and a river of optional activities, the city trip appears much more colorful than many other games on the market. The art of the development team was to enhance the big names present in this chapter, then seeking the right alchemy between patrol activities and arduous challenges. In fact, your commitment to the game world is poured into the secondary missions and what seemed to be dark areas of the city now have another flavor and meaning. Gotham Knights' writing is, once again, commendable. The elements that serve as the winning glue are the interrogations and investigations. From time to time you will be able to grill an enemy with low health during a fight to extract information about crimes or to advance in some quest related to a faction.

Your acumen and wits are put to the test as you search for clues to solve tricky cases or creepy puzzles. In addition to the well-written secondary you can have fun racing the bike, or spend time in the mini-games present at your base. In short, in terms of longevity and pure goliardia we are here. The cooperative side is the one that thrives on ups and downs unfortunately. Don't get me wrong: the mode is enjoyable and playing in the company of your friend will make your stay in Gotham Knights pleasant, exhilarating and never boring, but there is no novelty whatsoever. I would have expected some couple combos during the clashes, a series of additional team activities or a way - even a simple one - to make the most of this mode. We limit ourselves to carrying out a good homework, but with little courage.

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