Today, Warner Bros. Games Montreal released a 13-minute video that delivers a deep look at Gotham Knights’ combat, city exploration, suit customization, and the differences between protagonists Nightwing and Red Hood. I walked away from this footage with mixed feelings yet still plenty of excitement for the game’s October 25 release.
First, let’s start with a positive: It has plenty of the Arkham formula in its coding. The flow of combat, the density of the open world, and the overall dark vibe align nicely with the Arkham series, which this Montreal studio had a hand in with Arkham Origins. Now, the bad: It also reminded me of Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers game – solely based on the sheer amount of items needed to craft suits and powers. Seeing that element made me think we will be grinding for materials within repetitive missions. We’ll have to wait to see if that’s the case, but it usually is when you have that many crafting components.
And now, I’m going to break down the trailer to show some of the other positive and negative things that we experience when we suit up as the Bat-family:
Nightwing is a Pinball
The video shows Nightwing’s combat is all about momentum, which is supposedly like a pinball bouncing between enemies. We see this happen between two members of the Regulators gang who are a reasonable distance apart. The way he slides to them looks a little goofy, but his strikes appear to carry weight and are animated nicely.
In a cooperative session, we see two players teaming up against the Regulators in a different sequence. Red Hood holds one of these thugs in place, clobbers him a little, and the Nightwing swoops in for an acrobatic finish. With four playable heroes (Batgirl and Robin are the other two), I’m guessing we’ll see unique team-ups for each combo of heroes. Here’s hoping each pair has more than one dramatic team attack.
Red Hood uses a mystical leap ability to bounce across the air, almost like he’s platforming on lilypads. This leap is a strange traversal mechanic to see in a Batman game. I don’t doubt that, at some point in his comic career, Red Hood used a mystical leap ability, but it doesn’t fit with the gadgets the Bat-family uses.
Nightwing knows the best way to glide into battle is to leap out of an airborne bus and pull out a glider. He calls it the Flying Trapeze, which is probably a bad name considering what happened at the circus.
Everyone Gets a Motorcycle!
All four heroes can drive on the streets on a motorcycle. The movement appeared to be a little slow and jerky, but we’ll have to see how it feels once we get our hands on it.
Guns That Don’t Kill
Red Hood uses pistols with rubber bullets for ranged combat. The targeting system appears to be based just on the direction he is looking, which makes for quick and accurate strikes.
We see Nightwing fire a projectile at a couple of barrels to create an explosion. For this gadget, the perspective zoomed over his shoulder so the player could target the desired item to shoot.
Bats in the Belfry
After patrolling Gotham, the heroes return to the belfry for various functions. The belfry is their home base where crafting and mission planning take place.
Each hero has brutal takedowns. Some of them create more noise and are a risk when trying to be stealthy.
The only way to be quiet in video games is to perform the uncomfortable duck walk. We also see Nightwing descend on an unsuspecting enemy for a silent chokehold takedown.
A Better Way to Travel?
Red Hood doesn’t have to use his mystical powers to get across town. He can also use a grapple, which latches onto specific environmental points, just like in the Arkham games.
The Court of Owls!
I love seeing the secretive Court of Owls in a video game! They are fantastic in the comic books and should be great villains in this game. This larger foe appears to be Talon-like and is heavily armed and shielded.
Look at all of those crafting materials.
Lots to See on the Map
The map shows objectives and specific data like criminal activity and faction presence. You can also fast travel.
When you select fast travel, the heroes descend from a great height using a new device called the Fast Bat.
Cleaning up the city brings about plenty of rewards, including experience points and those darn crafting components.
The first preorder bonus is a new motorcycle that Cloud Strife would probably appreciate.
Deep Suit Customization
This screen shows plenty: all sorts of stats, tabs for crafting and mods, the ability to dismantle your creation, and nodes for upgrades (including colors).
Kylo Ren Would Be Proud
Batman is dead in this game. You’ll find his battered mask on display in the belfry. Interacting with it kicks off a story sequence.
The suit customization appears to have variety, including this different look for Nightwing.
Simple. Clean. Menacing. The Owls look fantastic!
When enemies fall, glowing icons appear for the heroes to grab.
Much like the Arkham games, detective work and puzzle-solving unfold within augmented reality. Here we see Nightwing following a trail of blood.
Gotham Knights is only six months away, and we’ll likely be seeing more of it soon. What did you think of this gameplay presentation? Does the intense focus on loot bother you for an Arkham-like experience? Will you play it single-player or co-op? Let us know in the comments below!