Why We Should All Be Worried About Gotham Knights
Na, na, na, na, na, na Bat-fans. While Batman games were once abysmal outings that cashed in on the Caped Crusader's movies and comics, that all changed when Rocksteady opened the doors to Arkham Asylum in 2009. To this day, the Arkham trilogy is held as a legend in its own right - and is largely credited with the current boom in superhero games.
Although Rocksteady has since moved on to tackle Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the seeds of the Arkhamverse are growing in Warner Bros. Montreal's Gotham Knights. You might remember that the team previously released Arkham Origins as the black sheep of the Arkham games that never quite found a home alongside Rocksteady's three titles.
There was nothing really wrong with Origins, but it very much felt like an outcast afterthought. Now that Gotham Knights is ready to unfurl its wings and swoop into our lives, there are already complaints that we're about to get another knock-off Batman game that's more like Batman Forever than Batman Returns. Sure, it's no Batman & Robin, but it's not what you've come to accept in quality.
Gotham Knights Is Already Confusing Fans
Focusing on the Bat Family, Batman is dead in this world and has been replaced by Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake. This is confusing because all of the above featured in the Arkham games, and you'll recall, Arkham Knight ended with Bruce Wayne activating the Knightfall Protocol and sacrificing himself.
You only have to do a quick search of the internet to find numerous outlets that call Gotham Knights an Arkham Knight sequel. In actual fact, it's a spiritual successor that simply shares a premise of Batman being dead with the end of Arkham Knight. Further adding to the confusion, the main villains appear to be the shadowy Court of Owls, which was long-rumoured to be the big bad of a mythical fourth Rocksteady game.
Gotham Knights Gameplay Isn't Blowing Us Away
If a convoluted story and confusion about whether Gotham Knights is another Arkham game wasn't enough, how about a series of middling trailers and some botched gameplay mechanics? May's long-awaited gameplay reveal focussed on Nightwing and Red Hood. Complaints about having nerfed Nightwing's buns of steel were common grumbles, but that was nothing compared to Red Hood using "magic" to jump between buildings.
Nightwing's glider makes sense, but come on, Jason Todd being resurrected by the Lazarus Pit and creating hovering platforms is a step too far. Jump forward to the latest reveal, and we've honed in on Robin. Tim Drake is feeling a little lost after the death of his mentor, but fear not, he can transport himself using the Justice League's satellite. That's right, you can zip to the other side of a battle using a beam from outer space.
Even if we're yet to see what Barbara Gordon is packing or lacking, there are sure to be some complaints. Remember, the character has been called out for the handling of her disabled backstory. From what we've seen so far, she has a grapnel gun to get around, nunchuck-esque batons, and those batarangs we saw her use on Mr. Freeze. Knowing what we know, there's sure to be some divisive gimmick.
Is Gotham Knights Doomed Before It's Even Out?
The problem is, everything just flowed with the Arkham games. By the time we reached Arkham Knight, the addition of extra characters felt natural. Arkham Asylum would've likely faced similar critiques if it had thrown four characters into the house of madness and tried to cram in a load of features. There's a sense that Gotham Knights is trying to run before it can walk, which wouldn't be too bad if it could nail the mechanics in the first place.
To say Gotham Knights looks clunky would be a polite understatement. On the plus side, the chance to play as whoever you want and dip into battle as each member of the Bat Family is a nice touch. After 13 years of playing as the brooding Batman in the Arkhamverse, it's cool to try something new. Then again, we're betting Bruce isn't dead and will be making a not-so-surprising cameo before the final credits roll.
We'll admit that the story is at least unique, and with the Court of Owls being one of the best additions to Batman's more recent comics, we're excited to see them flap into the video game world. Gotham Knights might not be the fourth Arkham game we hoped for, but with Rocksteady tied up giving Task Force X its own time to shine, you get what you're given. If anything, at least Gotham Knight will be better than Armature's side-scrolling Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate... or so we'd hope.