Today, Warner Bros. Games Montreal has released a 13-minute video that offers an in-depth look at Gotham Knights combat, city exploration, costume customization, and the differences between protagonists Nightwing and Red Hood. I walked away from this streak with mixed feelings, but still with great excitement for the game’s release on October 25th.
First, let’s start with a positive: it has a lot of Arkham’s formula in its coding. The flow of the fights, the density of the open world and the general dark atmosphere harmonize well with the Arkham series, in which this Montreal studio participated with Arkham Origins. Now the bad: It also reminded me of Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers game – purely based on the amount of items needed to craft costumes and powers. Seeing this element made me think that we will be looking for materials in repeating missions. We’ll have to wait to see if that’s the case, but it’s usually when you have that many crafting components.
And now I’m going to break down the trailer to show some of the other good and bad things we experience when we dress up as the Bat family:
Nightwing is a pinball machine
The video shows that Nightwing’s combat is all about momentum, which is meant to be like a flipper bouncing between enemies. We see this happen between two members of the Regulator gang who are a reasonable distance apart. The way he slides towards them seems a little clunky, but his strikes seem to have weight and are well animated.
In a co-op session, we see two players team up against Regulators in a different sequence. Red Hood holds one of those thugs in place, kicks him a bit, and the Nightwing rushes in for an acrobatic finish. With four playable heroes (Batgirl and Robin are the other two), I guess we’ll see unique teams for each hero combo. Hopefully each pair has more than one dramatic team attack.
Red Hood uses a mystical jump ability to bounce through the air, almost as if standing on water lilies. This jump is a strange traversal mechanic to see in a Batman game. I have no doubt that at some point in his comic career Red Hood used a mystical jump ability, but that doesn’t match the gadgets used by the Bat Family.
Nightwing knows the best way to get into battle is to jump out of a sky 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 has a motorcycle!
The four heroes can drive through the streets on motorbikes. The movement seemed to be a bit slow and jerky, but we’ll have to see how it feels once we get our hands on it.
Weapons that don’t kill
Red Hood uses guns with rubber bullets for ranged combat. The targeting system seems to be based purely on the direction he’s looking, allowing for fast and accurate strikes.
We see Nightwing fire a projectile at a few barrels to create an explosion. For this gimmick, the prospect zoomed over their shoulder so the player could aim at the object they wanted to shoot.
After patrolling Gotham, the heroes return to Belfry for various duties. The Belfry is their home base where crafting and mission planning takes place.
Each hero has brutal takedowns. Some of them create more noise and pose 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 choke.
A better way to travel?
Red Hood doesn’t need to use his mystical powers to get through town. He can also use a grappling hook, which locks onto specific environmental points, just like in the Arkham games.
The Court of Owls!
I love seeing the secret Court of Owls in a video game! They look fantastic in the comics and should be great villains in this game. This larger enemy looks like Talon and is heavily armed and protected.
Look at all those crafting materials.
Lots to see on the map
The map shows specific objectives and data like criminal activity and the presence of factions. 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.
Clearing the city brings a lot of rewards, including experience points and those damn crafting components.
The first pre-order bonus is a new motorcycle that Cloud Strife would likely enjoy.
Deep Combination Customization
This screen shows a lot of it: 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 will find his battered mask on display in the belfry. Interacting with him initiates a story sequence.
The costume customization seems to be varied, including this different look for Nightwing.
Simple. To do the housework. Threatening. The owls look fantastic!
When enemies fall, glowing icons appear for heroes to grab.
Much like the Arkham games, detective work and puzzle solving takes place in augmented reality. Here we see Nightwing following a trail of blood.
Gotham Knights is only six months away, and we’ll likely see more soon. What did you think of this gameplay presentation? Does the intense focus on loot bother you for an Arkham-like experience? Will you be playing it solo or co-op? Let us know in the comments below!