[Test PS5] Gotham Knights: A Lean Arkham

The batarang misses its target

Gotham Knights is the latest spiritual offspring in the series Arkham focused on the universe of the dark knight and second foray into this area of ​​​​the studio WB Games Montreal already author of the decried Batman Arkham Origins (which in this case was a bit unfair).

The software has evolved from the initial model and has been modified by its creators into an RPG Like loop system (which unfortunately is useless in a narrative game) taking place (that we suspected) in an open world established in Gotham City. Following the storyline of the death of the black knight, we are in this free version to use four playable characters: Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Red Hood. Each character has their own play style, as well as their own abilities which can evolve over time and while single player mode still exists, the gameplay now features online 2-player co-op multiplayer. Changes that could have been interesting but, as we will see, unfortunately fall flat, especially since we wonder if the goal of all this is not just to artificially multiply the lifespan by four.

RIP Batman

The game more or less follows Arkham Knight, the death of Bruce Wayne aka Batman being recorded. This first surprise, screenplay described in a fairly epic intro, nevertheless maintains a link with its predecessor only in a very tenuous way, giving more or less to Gotham Knights looks like a spin-off or a parallel reality. Other details challenge us, such as the fact that Commissioner Gordon also seems to be deceased (which was absolutely not the case at the end ofArkham Knight) and that there is no mention of the Joker (which is rather good news considering its abusive use in previous games).

The enemies of our four protagonists, who can be played randomly but each must be developed individually, will be in this episode essentially the Court of Owls and the League of Assassins with, as a bonus, some well-known figures, such as Mr Freeze, Harley Quinn, Clayface or the Penguin. It is also unfortunate to note that, despite Batman’s rich universe, the storyline falls well short of what the encounter with these two powerful criminal organizations (especially the Court of Owls, which seems doomed to never experience a good adaptation to the screen) could give us hope. The secondary quests facing other antagonists of the Arkham-verse are more interesting, which does not prevent a certain weariness from redoing repetitive missions to optimize its performance, at the risk of ending up in fights endless if the power level deviation is too high.

gotham by night

The universe of this opus has also changed radically, moving from the rather dark and gothic colors of the previous installments to a much more garish and colorful atmosphere. It’s simple, it feels like the games did the same the same thing as the movies at one time and we were replaced by Tim Burton by Joel Schumacher, which is not really a compliment, especially that by the way, the city of Gotham has lost a lot of its charisma with graphics that are not always very beautiful and, above all, a lack of characterization of the places crossed. What’s more, the city seems completely empty, with even fewer NPCs than in Arkham Knightwhich doesn’t really help with immersion.

The game running at only 30 FPS, we find ourselves with awkward moments, such as passages on a motorcycle where the feeling of speed is so to speak absent, especially when it is difficult to catch up with a vulgar taxi or when we eat invisible walls with.

What largely regret the Batmobile of the previous part and its arsenal of destruction which, in addition, allowed us to vary the action and to really move quickly in the city, which is not the case in Gotham Knightswhere everything seems slow to you so much that you spend more time with your grapple (whose precision is also to be reviewed) than on your motorcycle.

Of course, you will be able to unlock the Cape Crusader option to hover over the city like before, but only after many hours of similar and boring challenges that are supposed to be optional but not that much since, if you don’t don’t, you can finish the game without ever having obtained this gameplay bonus (!).

Let us specify all the same in positive points of the correct dubbings, music far from being as memorable as those of the trilogy Arkhambut which still punctuate the game and, for those who would have the courage to go to the end, the places crossed are full of texts and references to comics, which is always a pleasure.

capture gotham knights on ps5

Go row Batou, row!

Technically, this is where the game completely comes together and is more reminiscent of the game system of Spiderman than that of previous Batman.

From the beginning, we begin to regret the absence of the Lock on the enemies which makes the fights extremely messy. It’s simple, it’s not uncommon for you to spend a whole fight emptying half of your magazines on the walls.

What’s more, most of the enemies are HP bags and most of the fights are endless, helped by fairly repetitive combos (which were also in force in the other opuses, but the fights being shorter and more dynamic it felt less) and the impossibility of responses and blockages which is sorely felt

The movements of the characters are extremely heavy and the movements not very fluid, not to mention the cameras which are catastrophic, to the point that you are constantly being spotted by the enemy while you are blocked like an idiot on a windowsill or against a lamppost.

In the end, it is misunderstanding that dominates because, despite all the experience acquired by its predecessors and a game system that had proven itself, Warner Bros Montreal managed to make its spin-off often unplayable and boring as possible. most of the time despite a story which, although not very transcendent, still invites a gallery of villains who are always very pleasant to rub shoulders with.

If we wanted to be a little sarcastic, we could say that the answer may lie in the philosophy of its creators, who seem to have had more imagination in placing many LGBTQ messages in Gotham Knights only to intelligently enrich the gameplay. Between the e-mails exchanged by characters, flags colored indiscriminately, NPCs who declare themselves LGBT (without any coherence with the conversation), some Ukrainian flags also to clear their conscience and, icing on the cake , a veiled woman presenting the newscast on TV, we like to think that this brilliant team, no doubt proud of the placement of its products, has probably inadvertently forgotten to finish their game correctly.

There remains only a rich and fascinating universe prisoner of a game which is neither one nor the other. A real textbook case.

[Test PS5] Gotham Knights: A Lean Arkham