The first reviews for WB Montreal’s Gotham Knights are out, and they are not reassuring to say the least.
At the time of writing this post, the game is sitting at a 69 on Metacritic with 23 positive reviews, 26 mixed reviews, and two negative reviews.
The highest review score sits at a 95 from Gamer Heroes, saying that “The game is up there along with Elden Ring as a game of the year contender. Its fast, responsive, and action-packed combat is surpassed only by a narrative that had me glued from the very first cutscene. A must-play for fans of open-world titles, and an easy pickup for anyone invested with the Gotham Knights or DC Universe.”
T3 gave the game its lowest score with a 40 saying “Gotham Knights is a lackluster entry into the Batman mythos that feels like a major step back from what has come before. Whether it’s the monotonous combat, subpar 30fps on console, lack of co-op incentives and strain it puts on the single-player experience or the fact that Gotham is dull and slow to explore, nothing justifies its existence.”
Many of the reviews make mention of the 30fps limit on consoles, despite the cancellation of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. On the other hand, there has been praise of the seamless 4-player cooperative gameplay.
Gaming Trend gave the game an 85. They wrote, “Gotham Knights is filled to the brim with character and nods to the Bat-Family. While the locked-in 30 FPS might be a dealbreaker for some, the flawless co-op experience Gotham Knights provides is an amazing time for those who want to fight crime with friends. A fully immersive Gotham City for you to travel in your way, either straight through the story, or complete every side mission you can; your time in Gotham is up to you.”
XGN scored the game a 75. They noted, “Gotham Knights is a good game dragged down by a few mechanics that feel a little out of place. The story, characters, and gameplay is really fun, strengthened by a great-looking open world, and tons of stuff to do. The fact that you’ll need to do all of it in 30 fps is a big problem though, although some co-op makes up for it a little.”
CD-Action gave the game a 70. They detailed, “Did Batman’s mentees manage to carry on without him? They did, buy he would’ve coped better. Gotham Knights has its moments, but its not as fun as Rocksteady’s gems and fails to hit the visual quality I expect from a PS5 game despite running at 30 fps. WB Games Montréal delivered a decent title that satisfies the hunger for adventures set in the DC Universe, but I had the feeling the developers didn’t even try to beat the Arkham series.”
The road to release for Gotham Knights has been anything but smooth. It feels as though every time the developers have tried to build hype for the release, new information came out that stole the wind from its sails.
From the underwhelming combat footage shown off by the developers, to the last-minute reveal that the game would be limited to 30fps on consoles without options for a performance mode. It appears as though the people excited for Gotham Knights had been dwindling leading up to the release.
To make matters worse, it would appear that Gotham Knights suffers from bizarre performance issues across all platforms but is specifically inconsistent on consoles. YouTube channel Digital Foundry, who specialize in stress testing and comparing the performance of video games across all platforms found that Gotham Knights struggles to even maintain 30 frames per second and, seemingly at random, will even drop down into the single digits.
Digital Foundry referred to the performance of Gotham Knights as an “extremely unstable and ugly experience.”
Digital Foundry were not the only ones who found issue with the performance in Gotham Knights. The Washington Post games reporter, Eugene Park tweeted, “i only played a little but I kinda vibe with Gotham knights. Just expected a typical open world game and enjoying it as a Batman themed beatemup , and the bat cycle is fun to zip around it. PC performance is pretty poor tho, i might look at the Xbox version instead personally.”
In response, Bloomberg reporter, Jason Schreier replied, “It’s rough on PS5 too.”
It is unfortunate to see the current state of Gotham Knights. The Batman IP has been host to some of the best superhero games of the last several console generations. To see a talented developer like WB Montreal release the game in its current condition has been disappointing.
However, to be fair to Gotham Knights it was not the first time a Batman title released with poor performance. When Batman Arkham Knight first released on PC, it was completely unplayable. The game’s release was so poor it was one of the first games to be offered in Steam’s refund policy.
Warner Bros. acknowledged the failures of Batman Arkham Knight and even offered refunds until the end of 2015 as a result. Now, many years later, Batman Arkham Knight is playable on PC and is well regarded by fans of the series.
We can only hope that Gotham Knights will receive the same improvements over time and will, in time, become an experience worth of picking up the mantle of the Caped Crusader.