Gotham Knights has a lot to prove, and in 2022, WB Games Montreal will attempt to step out from the shadow of the Batman Arkham series with a brand-new take on the superhero game. Upon inspection, it certainly seems like Gotham Knights is up to the challenge: you'll don the suit of one of four superheroes (Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood) attempting to keep a tenuous grasp on Gotham's soul in the wake of Batman's death. You'll be able to seamlessly swap between heroes and drop in and drop out of friends' game sessions in two-player co-op.
In 2022, Gotham Knights will offer an action RPG superhero game that isn't bound to one hero and will give us the biggest and most explorable version of Gotham City yet. WB Games Montreal has completely redesigned the classic combat system of the Arkham games and is dipping deep into comic lore to bring us some of the most intriguing villains yet: the Court of Owls. We thought that Gotham Knights was going to be Big in 2021, and its delay into 2022 hasn't affected our excitement.
Join the Knight's Watch
Game Gotham Knights
Developer WB Games Montreal
Publisher Warner. Bros
Platforms PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
There are echoes of the Batman Arkham games in Gotham Knights, but it's clear WB Games Montreal is using the iconic series as a jumping off point and not an ironclad blueprint. For starters, Batman is dead. Like dead, dead. The Batcave is destroyed, leaving the Belfry as the hub of operations for four heroes who have to work together to fill in the bat-shaped gap left in Bruce Wayne's absence.
Cleverly, Gotham Knights will let you rotate between its four characters, who will continue to level up even as you're not playing them. This means that you won't need to grind through a different character's upgrade tree if your friend pops in and wants to play as your main Gotham Knight hero. To swap between characters, all you'll need to do is return to The Belfry, where you can also advance along the campaign missions and level up your gear and skills. It seems like a fairly seamless approach, one that should both make co-op easy and bolster Gotham Knights' replay value.
But co-op is where Gotham Knights will truly step out from under the Arkham games' shadow. Like many iconic comic book runs, team-ups are commonplace in the world of superheroes, and the idea that you can explore this massive version of Gotham with a friend by your side is incredibly alluring. As someone who didn't make it through the Arkham games because I struggled with their combat, it'll be great to have a friend along to help me when I inevitably get myself in a pickle. Co-op is also a great way for players to test out heroes they may not traditionally play – I'm sure Batgirl will be a popular choice amongst players, so jumping into co-op will force me to expand my horizons.
The famous foursome of Batman's contemporaries are the perfect heroes to take on one of DC's most mysterious and sinister group of villains: the Court of Owls. While Gotham Knights will have the boisterous Batman baddies (like Mr. Freeze and The Penguin) who will have control over each of Gotham's five boroughs, it's the Court of Owls who are the overarching threat here. Owls are natural predators to bats, and the Court of Owls infiltrate every corner of Gotham, making it an incredibly dangerous place for the foursome who must fight against their brainwashed foot soldiers known as the Talons.
But the Court of Owls is as mysterious as it is dangerous, which means gameplay will oscillate between fighting and investigating as the Knights try to figure out what exactly happened to Bruce Wayne, and determine how to take down an organization that thrives in the shadows. That dichotomy between gameplay styles coupled with four distinct characters with distinct skill trees should mean that Gotham Knights feels fresh throughout – an encounter while playing Batgirl should feel very different from an encounter while playing Robin, and an all-out brawl that is so common within these types of games will juxtapose nicely against more stealthy, investigative campaign beats.
Alongside a very cool setting (an expectedly moody, atmospheric Gotham punctuated by vibrant neon lights and flickering torches) and some unnerving villains, Gotham Knights will hopefully deliver a fairly dense RPG experience too. You'll be able to choose which abilities to invest in, which combat gear to upgrade, and which hero to bring into encounters. In Gotham Knights, you won't just be one hero, but four seamlessly entwined heroes desperately trying to gain a foothold in a Batman-less Gotham. Sounds pretty sick, doesn't it?
GamesRadar+ is exploring the biggest games of the new year with exclusive interviews, hands-on impressions, and in-depth editorials. For more, be sure to follow along with Big in 2022 throughout January.