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Gotham Knights can't compete with Rocksteady's timeless Arkham trilogy

It falls flat, man

As Ed detailed in his review earlier this week, Gotham Knights is a bit of a disappointing dud. I've also been picking my way through Gotham City as various members of the bat family, weightlessly punching dudes in alleys before crafting new sticks that hit 2% harder than the one I was using before. Despite a relatively good looking rendition of the iconic gothic metropolis and a pretty engaging story, Gotham Knights ultimately failed to capture my imagination.

It didn't help that throughout my time with Gotham Knights, I was thinking about the Arkham series. Rocksteady's trio of Batman-em-ups are essential superhero games, titles that redefined the genre and provided a template that still feels contemporary to this day. Aslyum, City and Knight fully immerse you in the Batman fantasy, successfully crafting a depiction of the caped crusader that was deadly, capable and - perhaps best of all - human.

Gotham Knights isn't a new entry in the Arkham series, of course. Developer WB Games Montréal may have experience dabbling in that particular universe (they're the same team responsible for both Arkham Origins and much of Arkham Knight's post-launch content) but they were determined to make it clear pre-release that Gotham Knights is its own thing, set within an entirely new timeline. Batman is dead, after all. That's a pretty big difference.

But that doesn't change the undeniable fact that Gotham Knights invites comparison at every turn. This is a third-person brawler set in the Batman universe that visually resembles the trio of best-selling, critically beloved titles that came before it. The issue is that Gotham Knights doesn't hold a candle to any of these games. Whereas Arkham featured fast-moving, energetic combat where punches landed with a satisfying thud, Knights has limp scraps that are determined by craftable equipment and random button mashing. Pitch-perfect exploration mechanics are now locked behind tedious questlines. Subtle easter eggs that challenge the player's knowledge of DC deep cuts are relegated to lifeless text boxes that appear on the top right of the screen after you gawk at something in a room.

In the video above, Ed and I discuss these differences in more detail, lamenting the state of a game we were both quite excited to play. We focus a lot on Arkham, but we do talk about other titles that were influenced by the iconic trilogy as well, such as Sleeping Dogs, Shadow of Modor and Marvel's Spider-Man. Mainly, we sigh about Gotham Knights, and how it learned nothing from the games that came before it.

Once you're done, do check out Ed's review of the game. If you're looking for a more entertaining superhero romp to occupy your weekend, why not try Spider-Man Remastered instead? Alice had a grand old time fighting crime in New York, and it even works well on the Steam Deck too.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Batman: Arkham City

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

See 2 more

Batman: Arkham Knight

PS4, Xbox One, PC

Gotham Knights

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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About the Author
Liam Richardson avatar

Liam Richardson

Former Video Producer

Liam used to be RPS’s vid bud. When he’s not obsessing over the finer details of digital cities and theme parks, he’s probably getting very excited about a colourful indie game that stars a nice frog.