First Impressions: Gotham Knights [PC]
Editor’s Note: Triple A games are often massive, time consuming and rigorous in gameplay. They are rarely played in one sitting, or even five. So, a comprehensive review may take some time. Hence, we introduce a feature called First Impressions. Think of it as a snapshot of gameplay, to wet your appetites.
It’s a bit rough when we look forward to a game, and it has some hiccups upon launch. Especially if it is a game as highly anticipated as WB Montreal’s Gotham Knights. That doesn’t mean there aren’t pieces of brilliance. Gotham Knights is a treasure trove of gems that I have enjoyed roaming (but not riding) through.
The rise of Gotham Knights
I have to say, the developers, especially Gotham Knights story team, know how to grab your attention from the get-go. The story kicks off with a bang- literally. The fate of Batman, a speculation that has surrounded, and haunted the game since it’s announcement, is finally put to rest. However, that doesn’t mean the mystery is over. Instead, I had more questions than answers about what mess the Knights are left to deal with, why, and who is still alive in the lawless world of Gotham.
The cinematic opening left me with tears in my eyes, and a breathlessly excited to get into the game. Scoping out the differences of each character’s attributes gave me an idea of what I might be in for. I began this playthrough with the brawler/ranger Jason Todd aka Red Hood as per our community poll. I was not disappointed in his playstyle. His movements are surprisingly light, for a big guy. And he packs a hard punch.
It’s satisfying to bring the beat down to some unruly thugs terrorizing possibly innocent citizens. I mean, it is Gotham. So, I take their lack of super heinousness as a sign they are kinda good.
I’d rather walk
After some initial tutorial prompts walking me through everything from grappling and climbing to both range and melee attacks, it was time to hop on the Batcycle and meet the rest of the crew at The Belfry.
And oh boy… that was a bad idea. On the Batcycle, I encountered my first big glitch. As in “what the heck kind of Matrix is this?!” glitch. The bike repeatedly tripped out in frame. Imagine if you took one of those panoramic shots but were bumped every time you moved. That’s what the animation looked like.
At first, I thought it was because I was popping wheelies, but normal driving had the same effect. It was nauseating, to be frank. After the smoothness of the grapple, I was disappointed that such a big part of the transportation system in Gotham Knights was so badly bugged.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of the bugs. After learning more about the skill trees and points system, Red Hood, restless and itching for a fight, leaves The Belfry and free roams the city. He is tasked with a mission that leads him to Gotham PD. Once I found a way inside the lower part of the precinct, I was stuck. Nothing seemed to change the outcome: not shooting at the night guard or attempting to throw things (which I couldn’t) or looking for a vent to climb through. Resetting the game back to the start of the mission didn’t break the bad juju spell. Stuck part 2. Using his AR capability revealed nothing, and I had to back out and contemplate if this was the end of my Gotham Knights journey.
Spoiler: it wasn’t. More will be revealed in my full review.
I also have to give a shout out to the accessibility features team. There is a plethora of options, from text and color saturations to sound and speed modifications.
Overall, I loved my first foray into the dark, dirty streets of Gotham, which has a huge expansive map. Gotham Knights is not the Arkham series, as some fan have repeatedly complained about, and I’m so glad. I love the Batman: Arkham games, and it is easy to see the DNA that laid the building block for Gotham Knights. But what we get to experience in Knights is it’s own beautiful beast. Buggy, but beautiful beast.