Gotham Knights is an upcoming ARPG that will be released on October 21st, 2022. The much anticipated spiritual successor to the Arkham games looks like a promising multiplayer experience within an open-world Gotham City.
Set in a different universe from the Arkham games, Gotham Knights has Bruce Wayne initiate a call for help just before he dies. Four members of the Bat Family respond to the call – Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Robin (Tim Drake). Now the Bat Family has to manage the rising underworld of Gotham and find out what happened to Batman.
With such a strong premise, it would be wise to question whether this game will be worth it to fans of the Dark Knight. We’ve made this list of everything known about Arkham Knights so you can decide if this game is the right one for you.
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Fans hoping to play as the Bat Family will enjoy the playable character roster in Gotham Knights. Each member has a unique play style, gear, gadgets, and traversal options. Your character choice will not meaningfully change the story, but it will affect some minor dialogue. Characters will also share levels and story progress together, so you can swap to another character whenever you want to and still keep your same levels.
In addition to their unique personalities and gameplay, each character will have a Knighthood skill tree. These are unlocked after a defining moment in a character’s story where they will realize how they can be their own version of the Dark Knight instead of simply Batman’s replacement. It will unlock their traversal skill along with several other unique-to-that-character skills, and their ultimate.
Nightwing uses his background as an acrobat to trapeze around the battlefield and knock out enemies with electric escrima sticks. His escrima sticks can also launch shockwaves that travel along the ground and hit opponents for different elemental effects. Nightwing’s unique traversal option is a rocket-powered glider.
At GamesCom, it was announced that Nightwing’s skill trees could build in his acrobatic abilities, or provide more group support.
The Red Hood is both a close-range bruiser and a long-range gunslinger. He dual-wields pistols to pelt enemies with “non-lethal” bullets from long range. At close range, his pistols become brutal bludgeons. When paired with the Red Hood’s strong, but slow melee attacks and brutal grapples, and the Red Hood becomes a fearsome character at any range. His traversal skill is called “Mystical Leap” which uses soul energy to jump off thin air.
At GamesCom, the Red Hood is the focus for a trailer discussing skills and skill trees. The Red Hood’s entire skill tree is revealed to be the Marksman, Bruiser, Vengeance, and Knighthood lines.
The Bruiser tree focuses on brutal close-range combat and devastating grapple attacks. Marksman focuses on his guns and the different ways he can use them. Vengeance channels the Red Hood’s anger at particular enemies to create more powerful attacks.
Batgirl uses an electric tonfa for fast melee strikes and several gadgets that will disorient and distract her opponents. Trailers have shown her using a tool to summon clouds of bats to attack enemies for example. Out of all the characters, she and Nightwing look like they will have the most in-combat mobility. This is best seen in an early trailer where she glides into a fight like Batman from the Arkham games and then runs on the side of a van to punch a bad guy.
Batgirl’s skill trees can either focus on her ability to hack technology, or focus on making her a devastating one-on-one opponent.
Robin looks like he has the fanciest gadgets out of all the characters. He uses a staff that can be spun to block bullets and a slingshot to launch projectiles with. His trailer shows a decoy device that will explode after a set amount of time and a cloaking device to turn invisible. Finally, Robin’s traversal skill uses the Justice League’s teleporter system to teleport short distances.
The skill trees for Robin are able to enhance his stealth abilities or give him access to more unique gadgets to help him in combat.
Players will also be rewarded for landing a string of attacks and timing their combos correctly. Each successful attack builds a momentum bar that, when filled, will allow players to use their character’s special abilities. Precise timing and combos will fill this bar more quickly.
These active skills are called “Momentum Abilities.” They can be used through either a combination of buttons, or with just a single button press, depending on the character you’re playing. Each momentum ability can only be unlocked through completing challenges.
The main villain is the Court of Owls, who is a secret organization that has ruled Gotham City from the shadows since the city’s founding. While most of their members are rich and influential members of Gotham’s elite, their muscle is an army of highly-trained, indoctrinated assassins known as the Talons. A story trailer shows the Bat Family fighting off groups of these horrifying enemies.
“Detective Vision,” or Augmented Reality Vision also makes a return in Gotham Knights. Players will use this infrared-like vision mode to reveal clues and solve the layered mysteries behind the Court of Owls’ plot for Gotham City.
A recent trailer from GamesCom also revealed the major villains that will be terrorizing Gotham City alongside the Court of Owls. The trailer showed Harley Quinn, Clayface, a picture of the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Professor Pyg. Each villain appears to have received a villainous glow-up worthy of an Arkham game. Mr. Freeze is shown walked around in a massive spider robot, Harley has mind controlled Gotham’s citizens, and Clayface turns into a massive hulking monstrosity.
The Harley Quinn fight was also shown at GamesCom. It had Nightwing battling through Harley’s early phases to defeat her. While it’s been confirmed that the Joker will not be making an appearance in Gotham Knights, it’s still good to see Harley Quinn becoming more of her own full fledged villain.
That trailer also showed improvements on the combo and dodge system, with both mechanics transitioning into one another in a far more fluid manner.
Vehicles and Crimes
Vehicles make a return from previous Arkham games. Along with universal gadgets like the grapple gun, each character has access to all of the vehicles.
So far, trailers have only shown us the Batcycle, which was used by Batgirl and The Red Hood. In the one of the early gameplay trailers, Red Hood used the Batcycle to chase down fleeing criminals while also shooting his guns.
That sequence shows the “crime in progress” system, where players have the option to stop some of the randomly generated crimes happening in Gotham. Each crime “plays out like a minigame mode with rules and objectives” and awards EXP and loot when completed.
ARPG Comes to Arkham City
Gotham Knights leans more into traditional RPG mechanics than previous games. While that might be an odd sentiment, the idea is to show how these former sidekicks are growing into their own version of the Dark Knight as the story progresses.
Resolving crimes and beating up bad guys will reward gear and EXP. With enough EXP, characters will level up and unlock more skills on a skill tree that’s unique to each hero.
Gear comes in three categories: suit, melee, and ranged. Each piece of gear will affect stats like health, damage, and other elements like “momentum generation.” Some gear will also drop with mod slots, which allows players to equip mod chips that can be used to change or add stats.
As you explore Gotham City, there will also be blueprints and materials for players to pick up. Once you return to the Belfry, the new base of operations in Gotham Knights, players can craft new items and upgrades.
The combat in Gotham Knights is similar to the Arkham games in that players will be swapping between a mixture of strikes, grabs, blocks, and dodges. Based on the Harley Quinn boss fight, Gotham Knights has its own spin on the Arkham indicators. These ones show when enemies are shooting guns at you, or performing a massive attack and its trajectories.
An important upgrade from the Arkham games is the ability to combo attacks with fellow heroes. Characters can set up enemies to be immediately taken down by teammates in a stellar display of acrobatic martial arts.
For stealth combat, players will have to choose between using a Silent Takedown or Ambush Strikes. Silent Takedowns quietly incapacitate an opponent, but it takes a long period of time to finish knocking out your opponent. Ambush Strikes will immediately knock out an opponent, but will also generate more noise.