Gotham Knights came out a week ago and I found it extremely difficult to find anything to like in the open world loot brawler. Red Hood’s snickerdoodle recipe, perhaps? The latest Batman game borrows from a ton of other, mostly better rivals, and struggles to forge a clear identity in the process. My boxLevi Winslow also spent the last week trying to save Gotham City from gangs and supervillains, and we both sat down to try and figure out what the game does right, what it does wrong, and all the ways he left us. confused.
Levi Winslow: OK. So like, I feel Gotham Knights is a bifurcated game, something that has two distinct identities living within itself. First, there’s the action-adventure narrative stuff where you solve crimes, meet the bad guys, defeat henchmen before you get a cutscene that takes you back to the Belfry. It’s a solid gameplay loop. Then you enter the open world. I don’t hate it, it’s fun to jump from roof to roof, but the RNG RPG-ness of this one, the Diablo-like nature to grind useless loot, is some of the most tedious parts of the whole game. What do you think? What do you think of the linear storytelling juxtaposed against the open-world grind?
Ethan All: I’m incredibly disappointed with both so far. Everything fits together so awkwardly, and I mean everything. The individual scripted cutscenes? Great. Love them. Completely well. But everything else, going from room to room in a story mission, crime to crime in the open world, and even enemy to enemy during big brawls, it all just feels rough and uneven and not good. As if you could describe the main points of this game, and I would, of course, that sounds good. It is not the New Arkham I want, but I love Batman comics, I love the universe, let’s jump off rooftops and solve mysteries. And yet, almost nothing in this game is really good to do in my opinion.
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Levi: I can’t argue with you there. The gameplay is particularly clunky and imprecise. I don’t mind the fight. It’s not as smooth as Marvel’s Spiderman or as impactful as the Arkham games, but it definitely has more weight and feels much better than Marvel’s Avengers, which is the closest comparison I can give. Like you said, something about the whole thing just seems weird and awkward. I really can’t stand the stealth and how sticky and slippery the characters are. You wanna open that chest after smashing some skulls, but you gotta stay in there exact place to trigger the contextual input of the button. Deviate from it a little, like barely a centimeter, and the prompt will disappear. Or you’ve been perched on that ledge exploring the area, looking for a few stealth kills, but, oops, you accidentally pushed the left stick forward and now your vigilante just jumped up and landed in front of the enemies you were trying of stealth. It’s frustrating.
Ethan: Yeah, I didn’t even care about stealth for that reason, mostly because the rest of the prompts feel like they’re pushing me into complete chaos. Who have you played with? I’ve shot every mission, but so far I think Red Hood is my favorite, mostly because it feels the most substantial and least slippery. Batgirl is a close second.
Levi: Lol, I’m just a perfectionist who wants to take on any challenge. So when it’s like “Perfect regardless of the number of stealth outs”, I’m like “Bet”. But yeah, I started with Nightwing, then moved on to Batgirl, which has been my main ever since. She’s so OP, it’s crazy. I heard Red Hood was pretty good, so I’ll have to try it. What do you think of Robin? Considering how frustrating stealth is, I couldn’t imagine playing it due to its focus on stealth. His staff bo looks cool.
Ethan: There are too many big enemies and dudes that will come at you off-screen, to the point that I just didn’t want to bother with Robin after the first time I tried it. I also really don’t like Gotham Knights‘ version of the character. i’m a big fan of The animated series‘ take Tim Drake, and it’s more like a weird cross between Spider Manis Peter Parker and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen OrderIt’s Cal Kestis, if that makes sense.
I also don’t really feel a compulsion to grind, which is weird, but I think it mostly stems from the streaming of everything. There aren’t enough villains in this world to beat to sustain a full leveling and crafting loop.
Levi: Very that, both about Robin’s shyness and the unsatisfactory number of villains in the open world. Gotham here really feels lifeless. Sure, there are citizens roaming the streets and the GCPD patrolling their headquarters (or getting bullied by some dudes), but there’s no energy in the city. I know I compared Gotham Knights at Marvel’s Avengers– which I admittedly liked for a hot minute – but I can’t help but want to play Marvel’s Spiderman every time I protect Gotham. There’s something about the bland color scheme and similarity of neighborhoods that strips Gotham of its character.
Ethan: I think the city itself looks cool, and I like how they tried to play around with the four heroes’ iconic color palettes with the neon lights and how the steam and fog hang together on the horizon. But I kept thinking about Spider Manmainly because I was still frustrated that I couldn’t chain the grappling hook like I was throwing a web.
I think a lot of that is the space you need to cover due to the scattering of things you need to do. I would have preferred a much smaller but denser section of town than having to hopscotch around all the dead space. Usually, open-world games thrive on constantly finding things in the way of your goal that distract you, intrigue you, and send you down an entirely separate rabbit hole. Here, it really feels like moonlighting as an Uber driver in the most cobblestone metropolis in the world.
Levi: Yeah, like, there’s really not much to do in this world. And what’s possible is incredibly repetitive: go here, beat some guys, uncover a clue, escape before GCPD appears, rinse and repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I have fun dominating guys as Batgirl. But the fun is not as satisfying as in other best superhero action games that came out recently.
Ethan: I also feel like the game is in a very strange place. Batman’s family must figure out what their relationship is without him to guide them, but they’re all pretty unfazed by the fact that he’s dead. And despite the dramatic premise, things get off to a very slow start. I will say that I prefer the aspects of Gotham Knights‘gameplay at Marvel’s Avengers’– whose combat seemed indistinct and very much in the licensed gaming bucket – but the way the latter was shot felt like a much better approximation of the MCU feel than Gotham Knights is for the DCU.
Like a Fate guy who likes a stupid game loop that i can sink into at the end of the day i thought i was ready to see the glass half full in Gotham Knightsbut that’s just not what happened.
Levi: Same. I really wanted a dumb loop that offered solid gameplay with an intriguing story, and Gotham Knights miss the landing. There are good elements here, don’t distort it. Combat is fine, usable actually. And the sometimes tender, sometimes tense moments between the characters during cutscenes are captivating. But the real meat and potatoes of the game, the core gameplay loop, just isn’t as satisfying as I hoped. I’ll finish it, though. I completed Nightwing’s Knighthood challenges to get his mechanical glider, so I need to do the same for Batgirl. And I want to play co-op to see how loose the experience is, but I can’t imagine thinking too much about Gotham once the story is over. it doesn’t stick the same way Marvel’s Spiderman did.
It may be an unfair comparison, but really, in my hot head, Gotham Knights is somewhere between Marvel’s Spiderman and Marvel’s Avengers. It’s nice, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a good place to be.
Ethan: I’m still only halfway through the game, but I feel a lot less generous. It’s an indecisive jumble of a bunch of games with nothing solid to hold on to. The co-op I’ve tried so far is very decent overall, and I think it certainly sets some sort of standard for games like Far cry– who have traditionally struggled with consistent and rewarding multiplayer – to aim for.
But man, every aspect of the Batman mythos recreated here feels like it’s better done elsewhere. Maybe when the four-player mode comes out, it will be closer to the 3D brawler than it should have been. At this point, I almost to wish it was a live service game. At least there might be a chance of getting a better 2.0 version within a year.
Levi: Right? Gotham Knights it certainly feels like it could have been a live service game. Hopefully, the Hero Assault four-player co-op mode will expand into the open world as well. There are four heroes. This game should be chaotic as hell, much like this Harley Quinn underground mission with this punk rendition of “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. This has been the most memorable part of the whole match so far.
#Gotham #Knights #kinda #average