Batman is a perennially influential character whose mythos is celebrated in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham franchise. Batman’s entire equipment inventory houses tactical gadgets for use in different circumstances, and players have surely become accustomed to gameplay that is oriented to the Caped Crusader in particular. However, it is clear that DC’s newest titles, Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice Leaguehave attempted to dissociate themselves further from Batman as a playable character.
Instead, Gotham Knights departures from the iconic mantle of Batman and creates its own continuity to center on popular Bat Family affiliates instead. This will not be the first foray into the Batman mythos from WB Games Montreal, however, who previously developed the Batman: Arkham series’ prequel entry. Each of Gotham Knights‘ playable protagonists have been confirmed to receive a lot of individual attention and attunement, and it will be interesting to see how Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood are made to feel unique through their gameplay.
Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl, for example, wields a tonfa in Gotham Knights as a potential nod to her late father’s role as the Gotham City Police Commissioner. The simple, single-handle baton was shown off in Gotham Knights‘official gameplay presentation as her melee weapon of choice, and it provides quick, acrobatic strikes. However, each character will also have a ranged weapon as well as gadgets, which leaves a lot of room for their play-styles to be authentic to their identity.
Traditional batarangs will return to Gotham Knights, as seen when Batgirl opens up on Mr Freeze with a rapid-fire batarang attack. However, it seems like Batman’s explosive gel aerosol and cryptographic sequencer will be substituted with much more intricate and creative gadgets in Gotham Knights. At one point in the game’s official gameplay showcase, for example, it looks like either Batgirl, Robin, or the two synchronously release a swarm of bats that rain down some sort of aerial strike in the area.
Indeed, many attacks may be performed as a dual-takedown option between the player and their NPC or co-op companion. Batgirl also hurls some sort of projectile that flutters about and hits an intended enemy repeatedly, which may be a gadget specific to Batgirl or shared throughout each of the Knights.
One of the other similarities between characters that was shown in Gotham Knights‘ gameplay is the functionality of traversal and how that will be balanced. All characters will presumably be able to perform grapnel boosts to scale skyscraper verticalities in the open world of Gotham City, but the Batcycle is depicted with Batgirl racing through streets to the objective, with impromptu ramps that the player can leap from. While it is possible that each character will have access to the Batcycle, Gotham Knights‘Robin is evidence that traversal will not be identical from character-to-character.
Batman: Arkham fans will be familiar with his iteration of Tim Drake’s Robin and the combat that revolves around his collapsible quarterstaff. Robin appears many times in Batman: Arkham City, from its main story to its assorted combat challenges and the story-based Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC. He then returns in Batman: Arkham Knight in a similar capacity, and as a result fans have seen the character’s animations and attack styles many times already.
Gotham Knight‘s iteration of the Boy Wonder looks to offer more of the same with a little extra flair. What makes Robin unique in Gotham Knights has to do with his potential traversal capabilities, as Robin will utilize the Justice League’s Watchtower teleporter for traversal as well as grapple from perch-to-perch. Robin appears in the official gameplay showcase and performs a teleporter takedown on an unaware enemy by teleporting to them and teleporting back with them subdued.
This suggests that each Knight will have a unique traversal option aside from the ordinary grapnel gun, though it may be a trait exclusive to Robin and Batgirl. In terms of gadgets, it is possible that Robin’s staff may contain a retractable shield plating that blocks ballistics as it does in Batman: Arkham City. Otherwise, the options are relatively open and may be the closest to resembling Batman’s own inventory.
Unfortunately, neither Dick Grayson’s Nightwing nor Jason Todd’s Red Hood have been depicted in genuine gameplay for Gotham Knights. As such, any of the gear, gadgets, or abilities they may have is purely speculative at this point. However, with the knowledge of how Nightwing has been depicted in gameplay before, some early assumptions can be made.
Nightwing’s athleticism and gymnastics can be expected from Gotham Knights‘ iteration of the character, much as it was depicted in his Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight appearances. Moreover, Nightwing’s Escrima sticks are perhaps the most unique of the Bat-Family’s weapons, wired with electric tasers to stun and incapacitate enemies. Players may anticipate a lot of his attacks to dish out electricity and deal stun-damage, for example, with electricity chained between nearby foes.
Nightwing is seldom shown with other fancy gadgets or abilities, but there may be gadgets that further his gymnastic prowess. With regard to characters who have the most to make up for in terms of gadgets, Nightwing needs to have a lot of creative projectiles and gadget abilities to keep up with what other characters have already been showcased to have.
Red Hood is fortunate in Gotham Knights to have the most freedom for interpretation. Red Hood was featured as another short DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight with a janky dual-pistol mechanic that could be abused to infinitely stun enemies. Otherwise, WB Games Montreal has a relatively open concept with which they can approach the character’s combat. Gotham Knights‘cinematic trailers have only portrayed Red Hood with these iconic dual-pistols, so any notion of his gameplay, gear, or gadgets being the guns is also speculative.
As far as a melee weapon is concerned, Red Hood could feasibly be seen as a hand-to-hand brawler that implements his firearms for pistol-whips and other attacks. Red Hood blurs a faint line for Gotham City’s vigilantes since he is decidedly more lethal than other members of the Bat-Family, at least in early continuities. It is unclear how balance will come into play when it comes to Red Hood’s dual-pistols in Gotham Knights and if his morality will be represented differently.
Gotham Knights‘gear system appears to be much more elaborate than that of the Batman: Arkham entries as a result of multiple characters with respective skill trees. It is possible for fans to play Gotham Knights as a fully singleplayer experience if they wish. Surprisingly, fans can also play the entirety of Gotham Knights as a single character. Due to this approach, WB Games Montreal must reach an equal balance with each of its characters so that they can all function similarly, while at the same time making them unique to one another so that they are all eclectic and fun to control.
Gotham Knights is scheduled to release on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in 2022.
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