Gotham Knights was supposed to signal a new era for Rocksteady’s Arkham series. Developed by Batman: Arkham Origins studio WB Games Montréal, the superhero action-RPG shared a lot of the same DNA with the memorable Arkham games of yesteryear while adding its own flavor to the iconic formula. It was even moving away from Batman himself, offering players a chance to play as one of four different iconic characters in Batman’s superhero social circle: Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. Unfortunately, a raft of bugs and glitches, an unnecessary loot grind, and repetitive gameplay loops made the Batless game feel pretty hollow. For many, Gotham Knights was a letdown.
Six months later, the game has undergone some internal reconstruction with a host of patches and updates targeting a variety of issues. While I wouldn’t call it great now, Gotham Knights is certainly more playable than it was at launch. So, let’s take a look at the last six months to see just how much it has changed.
Read More: Gotham Knights Sounds Like A Big Disappointment
Gotham Knights launch reactions, reviews, and more
- Before it even launched, one of Gotham Knights’ first controversies stemmed from the characterization of Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon in its marketing materials. Paralyzed from the waist down by The Joker, who shot her in the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, Gotham Knights, in essence, retconned this part of her character. In Batgirl’s bio, the game stated she “[trained and recovered] from her wounds” after her dad, Commissioner James “Jim” Gordon,” had been killed. The criticism developer WB Games Montréal faced for insinuating Babs brute-forced through her disability led the studio to specify that Batgirl, in this iteration, “has been through multiple surgeries,” as well as physical therapy and pain management to overcome her paralysis.
- Another controversy the game was embroiled in before its official October 21 launch had to do with, of course, spoilers. Because insatiable stans just can’t wait, a redditor took to the online forum to post images from some official art books that revealed a few key details of Gotham Knight’s narrative. Spoiler warning for those who haven’t played and/or beat the game yet: Batman not only dies but, with Talia al Ghul using the Lazarus Pit, The Caped Crusader is resurrected later in the game to appear as a boss fight in which you pummel sense into the possessed Bats. Oof.
- When Gotham Knights landed on October 21, 2022, it was met with middling reviews that persist today. At the time of writing, the PlayStation version has a score of 68 while the Xbox one has a 64 on Metacritic (out of 100). On Open Critic, the game has a score of 69 out of 100.
- In its October review of the game, VG247 said Gotham Knights is “fine enough” if you want to jump around and punch people in a DC-focused action game.
- Meanwhile, The Verge called it “great to play” for fans of capes and spandex, but noted it’s hard to return to or recommend for everyone else.
- Kotaku did not officially review the game, but in an October 29 VGChat, senior reporter Ethan Gach and myself decided it was mid at best.
- Despite this lackluster critical reception, Gotham Knights still sold relatively well around the world, becoming the second highest-selling physical game release in the UK and the thirteenth best-selling retail game in Japan.
- Players quickly discovered the performance discrepancies across platforms after Gotham Knights’ launch. Most notably, the PC specs required to run the game decently mandated an expensive-ass graphics card, one that costs nearly as much as the PlayStation 5 itself.
- Meanwhile, it was locked to 30fps without a dedicated performance mode on consoles. And this was despite WB Games Montréal scrapping the game’s last-gen versions.
- While floaty and lacking the heft of the Arkham games before it, Gotham Knights has fluid combat that makes punching-up goons feel satisfying and look flashy—if a bit repetitive in the long run. The community, however, remains split on the game’s combat: Some feel it’s fun while others think it’s unintuitive.
- Despite there being four playable characters, Barbara Gordon felt like the spectacle fighters’s primary protagonist both mechanically and narratively as she’s the most fleshed out, with a direct connection to the Bat’s accomplices. She’s also got an endgame suit that looks just like Batsie’s.
- Not long after launch, though, WB Games Montréal pushed out a PC patch that accidentally cracked the game’s anti-piracy protections wide open, allowing for savvy internet users to pirate the game. This was quickly resolved, but not before pirate got it for free.
- Plus, Gotham Knights was plagued by copious bugs. From characters slipping into un-enterable buildings to enemies becoming invincible and invisible during fights, there were plenty of laughs to be had as Gotham City buckled under its weight. Some folks had a rough time.
Read More: Gotham Knights Is Kinda Mid
Gotham Knights discounts and DLC
- About a month after its release, Gotham Knights, which was priced at $70 alongside a handful of other games, was already discounted by 50 percent.
- WB Games Montréal dropped a free update for Gotham Knights on November 29 that added a four-player co-op mode called Heroic Assault, as well as a two-player Showdown mode that lets you fight stronger versions of previous bosses for greater rewards. While both were welcome additions, fans were notably disappointed with the arena-like mission Heroic Assault, saying the mode imbalanced Gotham Knight’s loot by offering better gear than the main game and was largely repetitive in its design.
- Around the time Heroic Assault came out, sleuthing fans uncovered the possibility of additional Gotham Knights DLC. One redditor shared an image of what appeared to be an in-game rendering of the notorious supervillain Two-Face, suggesting the next expansion (if there is one) would focus on the charred face of Harvey Dent.
- February 19 marked Batsie’s birthday. To celebrate the occasion, publisher WB Games dropped Gotham Knight’s price by 55 percent. Talk about savings.
- Since launch, Gotham Knights received a plethora of patches to address its many issues, including frame rate stability and game crashes. The most recent one in March addressed several major problems leading some sites such as Eurogamer to re-review the game to see how well it performed.
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And that’s where we’re at six months later with the superhero brawler. A handful of patches have, as Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry discovered in March, made Gotham Knights a “perfectly decent experience,” one you could enjoy without the baggage it carried at launch. This is great, especially if you’re looking for a Batman-like game to fill the void until Rocksteady Studio’s Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, which has been delayed to February 2024. WB Games Montréal isn’t working on anything else that we know of at the moment, so it’s plausible some DLC could come down the pipe, especially since dataminers uncovered the possibility of the game getting Two-Face content. Considering its lukewarm reception, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
I booted Gotham Knights up recently to see how much it has changed and, yeah, it’s fine. I didn’t experience too many issues during my initial playthrough of the game, but with all of the patches and updates, it runs much smoother now, particularly during big fights in small areas. It’s still not a must-play, especially with all of the games on the horizon. However, it does make for a fun, mindless romp through the dark streets of Gotham City. And that, at the very least, is all I could’ve asked for from Gotham Knights. It’s better, but still mid.