Hey folks, this is some slightly unusual kind of content for my blog, but I felt like taking a closer look at the game Gotham Knights, developed by WB Montreal, which has been released at the end of 2022 (last year, yes, its 2023 already). As a Batman and DC fan myself, who also happens to have a good amount of insight into game development and a good chunk of technical experience and knowledge (especially when it comes to Unreal Engine and Batman games as some of you might know from my Arkham Unreal videos on YouTube) I’ve noticed many shortcomings and unfortunate design decisions, so I thought that it would be interesting to do a bit of a breakdown of this game, especially since the studio seems to have actively decided against familiar gameplay- and design-decisions from beloved games of a similar kind that have come before it. While it tried to be different and the developers also clearly communicated so, it still had to inevitably follow in the almost ginormous footsteps of the well-known and critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham-Franchise, of which one entry was even made by the same studio back in 2013, namely the title Batman: Arkham Origins.
Before some of you get upset about it, there will be a lot of comparisons to the Arkham-Franchise and other games in this article, and if you ask me this is simply something that this game will have to face, given its thematic similarities, thus these games are without doubt the closest titles it can be compared against. This review/breakdown also focuses on the gameplay rather than the story content, but I have a few things to say about the latter nonetheless and there are various spoilers regarding the main story.
How did we get here?
Batman: Arkham Origins was without doubt the entry of the series that has been the most controversial in the community around the Arkham games for multiple reasons. The first one being that it barely advanced the gameplay over the previous game, Batman: Arkham City, but from what I could gather this was one of the rules WB Montreal had to follow, since they could have potentially stepped onto the toes of the later released Batman: Arkham Knight (2015). Said game was in development at Rocksteady Studios at that time, who have also been behind the smash-success that was Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) as well as its sequel Batman: Arkham City (2011). In addition to that Arkham Origins seems to have been built ontop of the source code of Arkham City, thus adding to the inevitable similarities in terms of overall gameplay. This turned out to be one of the major criticisms people have regarding this game, with another common point being the fact that many parts of the game felt like a reskin of bits from Arkham City, most likely due to time constraints and the previously mentioned shared project source. The story on the other hand was one of its redeeming qualities and gameplay additions, when they did happen, like the shock gloves were generally fun to use. Its boss-fights are fairly well done and don’t feel stale or repetitive (something that makes parts of Gotham Knights’ feel even more like a regression). All in all this was a solid game despite its gameplay innovation-shortcomings or the technical hiccups it had at launch. Can’t truly mess up when using the gameplay from a critically acclaimed game like Batman: Arkham City as a foundation can you? You cannot indeed as other games like Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel have shown, both of which are first and foremost built around the freeflow-combat in combination with the Nemesis System that was invented for these games.
After Arkham Origins WB Montreal worked on the A Matter of Family-DLC for Arkham Knight and was said to be working on a sequel game to the latter, featuring similar gameplay and a story built around Damian Wayne. Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that never made it out of the concept phase and a couple years down the road we ended up with a wholly different kind of game.
This brings us to Gotham Knights, a game that is so unlike the Arkham-series that you might be wondering why I went on a tangent there, but as it is inevitably seen as a spiritual successor to what the Arkham-Franchise represented it seems like important history to know before diving into it, especially since it helps shine a bit of light onto how we even ended up with the concept of Gotham Knights. WB Montreal seems to have been struggling with turning their ideas into a working game when you consider the amount of years that have passed since Arkham Origins and Gotham Knights, with the latter even being delayed by one year. This could at least in part explain many of the shortcomings I will talk about in this post later on.
Gotham Knights is described as a third-person action-RPG, with the RPG part barely even being worth mentioning as I will explain later. The game also features optional co-op and gameplay that is very different from what we know from the Arkham-Franchise, and the gameplay is where the issues begin.
Combat: How to fail at reinventing the wheel
The design of the combat system in Gotham Knights seems questionable to me at the very least, since there are a lot of odd design decisions, first and foremost the complete absence of a parry or counter ability like most games with decent hand-to-hand combat have one.
Evasive tactics and special attacks
While I went into the game open minded regarding this, this specific decision has turned out to become a major issue as I progressed into the story, despite me warming up to the combat system for the first third of the game. As the combat encounters became more crowded and featured a wider variety of enemies and attacks, the combat system started to evolve into more and more dodges and evades, as a lot of your attacks get cancelled once your character takes damage, even with a skill tree upgrade that should allow various attacks to continue then. This means you are either dodging around the area without dealing any noteworthy damage or you’ll have to resort to spamming ranged attacks, which allow you to build up the momentum meter. The latter lets you execute special attacks that deal significant amounts of damage in various ways, which would seem like a way to reassert control over these cluttered fights. Unfortunately, special attacks also get cancelled when you receive damage from various enemies, and if they do so you still loose the momentum you’d have used to execute said attack. This means that you end up dodging even more and openings to execute special attacks become rare as they take longer than basic attacks. This gets especially bad in the boss fights towards the end of the story, to a point where you might as well just switch the difficulty to easy in order to stop yourself from getting frustrated. From what I noticed it seems like said upgrade that should prevent various attacks from being cancelled on taking damage is also a lot less effective once what they call “elemental effects” come into play and this brings me to the next problem…
These effects include Concussive, Toxic, Incendiary, Cryogenic and Bioelectric, and they come with bright and flashy in-game VFX. When coupled with the already messy fights and the fact that you’re already forced to dodge a lot in this game you are in for an experience that I would describe as messy and slightly disorienting as far as awareness of the enemies goes, since said VFX often takes up a lot of the screen and is usually in extreme contrast to the visuals of the surroundings. This often leads to your character taking damage from all sides despite dodging around since you, quite literally, can’t really focus on anything as the screen is cluttered with effects and particles. A lot of the combat VFX in general seems overdone to me, as there seems to have been a tendency to go for bright, prominent, and flashy VFX, something people have already criticised a lot about the attack VFX in Batman: Arkham Knight before, and the elemental effects in this game are far worse than that. This part specifically might be more dependent on preference than others, but I still feel like the VFX is just overdone there and a more held-back approach could have prevented fights where goons with freeze-guns and such are involved from turning into a bit of a visual mess.
In addition to that the concussive and cryogenic elemental effects quickly become annoying, as both of these often tend to just lock your character in place mid-combat with you being completely unable to evade attacks. While the cryogenic effect at least has some interaction as you have to quickly press a button to break out of the ice this can’t be said about the concussive effect, which is quite literally nothing more than frustrating when it happens mid-combat.
I have also encountered various issues with the enemy lock on, as it tends to just target an enemy that is in the complete opposite direction of where you’re pointing at with the left stick on the gamepad. It seems to do this when the enemy you’re pointing at is a bit too far away for you to reach them. This in turn means that if you’re trying to hit a specific enemy and made an effort to get closer to them you might just be thrown back into the opposite direction once you try to attack. This can often lead to some frustration as the game pretty much just undoes the attempt of reaching a certain enemy that way. While this also seems to be dependent on the character that you’re playing, the gameplay should never work against the player like it does there. Coupled with the fact that it the exact range of your attacks seems to change based on some sort of combat statistics that don’t appear intuitive to me, as there is just no visual cue or anything for that sort of thing, it becomes a bit of a nuisance the longer you play. In other games things like the freeflow combo-meter or other combo indicators allow you to make a good estimate of the current attack range, especially the freeflow combat outshines Gotham Knights by a long shot there, as you can just estimate the attack range based on the combo counter in most games that use this kind of system. Due to these shortcomings you are generally pushed into more of a one-at-a-time attack approach rather than having a flexible system that allows the player to either switch targets to engage a group of enemies at once or to focus on one enemy at their own discretion. This in turn also makes the combat stale after playing a few hours, since you just can’t really mix up the general way of approaching combat encounters. While some characters are supposed to be better at different combat-tactics than others none should feel this counter-intuitive and frustrating to play, so I’d say that this is, unfortunately, just poor gameplay design.
Another inconsistency happens with shielded enemies, as there doesn’t seem to be a consistent and clear visual cue of when the guard break status effect ends, so I had a lot of cases where they just got immune to attacks while I was in the middle of my “attack combo” or they already got their immunity status back while I was dodging another enemy after I just did a “guard break” attack on them. This means you sometimes have to perform a guard breaking attack multiple times before you are able to use an attack flurry on them if you happen to have more than one enemy around you.
Why didn’t they use the freeflow system?
… might be what many of you are asking yourself. According to WB Montreal in an Interview it was due to sync-issues in multiplayer (though unfortunately I can’t find the exact interview anymore as it’s been quite some time since I read it), something on which I would like to have a more in-depth answer to, as I have done a very similar system in Unreal Engine myself and their reasoning leaves me a bit confused. I am specifically wondering about what part would have sync issues, as it seems to me like it wouldn’t be that difficult to expand their current combat system to be more freeflow-esque by merely changing special attacks to no longer be cancelled upon taking damage, adding a combo counter that the attack range is tied to and adding a simple parry ability that lets you counter melee attacks rather than having to dodge them. These changes alone already have a good chance of making the combat more engaging, as it would not only give the player more of a reason to keep performing successful attacks but would also allow you to deal with incoming attacks without having to drastically change your position in the fight while making special attacks feel truly effective and powerful rather than most of them ending up dead in the water during boss-fights, and this brings me to my next point…
The boss-fights suffer from many of the issues I have already mentioned, mainly that they evolve into what feels like 90% dodging, 8% spamming ranged attacks for momentum generation and 2% special attacks, half of which fail because you took damage while performing them. The worst offenders are without doubt the Man-Bat fight on Elliot Center and the Talia al Ghul bossfights. These fights simply aren’t challenging in the sense that they need a clever tactic or a lot of creative thinking, they are just made difficult for the sake of being difficult. This especially applies to the Man-Bat fight, as the extra League of Assassins enemies in that fight serve no purpose other than forcing you to dodge even more than you already have to with the extremely aggressive Man-Bat attacks. This fight was also the one that made me give up on the combat system entirely and I switched the difficulty to easy/very easy afterwards so that I could complete the story and, sadly, shelve this game afterwards. This last impression was enough for me to not consider a New Game+ playthrough after all the other issues I gradually noticed during my playthrough. The fact that the Man-Bat fight was reused five(!) times in succession during the final story missions also gave me a strange feeling of it being used to pad out the playtime, and as you can imagine it’s not exactly helpful that this, already rather annoying fight has been reused this often back to back.
As a whole the combat system felt more like it was trying to be different with the purpose of being different from the Arkham-Franchise, especially the lack of a counter ability seems like a decision that was made with a reasoning like that. Trying something different is of course not a bad thing, but it has to work out and not end up being a bit of a mess while seeming quite similar to a lot of other games that have been released in the last few years. Especially the latter makes Gotham Knights’ combat system just another fish in the water so to speak, as it doesn’t appear particularly unique anymore and also isn’t exactly well designed and executed, as harsh as it might sound but I am not one to sugar-coat criticism.
Movement and Traversal
The character movement and traversal mechanics are another big weakness of Gotham Knights, and without doubt one of the areas that feel the least polished. This starts with the in-place turns feeling oddly sluggish and inconsistent, which becomes a nuisance when you have to be facing an object in order to interact with it, as it happens more often than not that you end up having to walk a small circle in order to face said object while also being close enough. The feeling of it being unpolished and somewhat basic continues with the general locomotion of the player characters, which has very abrupt speed and animation changes, something that reminds me more of the generic fast-paced multiplayer locomotion approach of modern games as well as the third person character examples Unreal Engine 4 ships with. Naturally I would say that this kind of approach feels very misplaced in a game that is not a fast-paced shooter and the likes, and a smoother and slightly slower and smoother approach like in many story-driven games and, inevitably, the Arkham series, would have felt a lot more fitting and polished in this game.
The parkour abilities could have also used some more love than they seem to have received, as jumping from ledges and transitioning into different movement states (eg. the heroic traversal options) feels rather clunky and again more suited for a fast paced shooter such as, as much as I hate to bring this example up as its been criminally overused in the last few years, Fortnite for example. Especially when comparing to the smooth state-to-state transitions we have seen in Batman: Arkham Knight it seems like this was an area that has been entirely neglected in Gotham Knights. An example that perfectly encapsulates this would the Batgirl’s “transition” into gliding from a ledge, which consists of jumping and then starting to glide when mid-air as well as the landing from gliding, which I can only describe as jarring and clunky. This is especially noticeable when we compare something like the gliding-mechanic to counterparts from games like the Arkham-Franchise or Just Cause 3, both of which I would consider the gold standard when it comes to implementing an engaging, responsive and fun gliding mechanic that meshes well with all the other methods of traversal.
A similar lack of refinement can also be noticed with the grappling mechanic. While its pendant in the Arkham-games seems to have specifically been designed to help you scale objects and buildings, given that it generally seems to favour higher targets, Gotham Knights’ implementation often stands in its own way as its targeting often locks onto targets below your character. This makes traversal through the open world a lot less snappy and engaging than in other games and feels like WB Montreal tried to imitate Just Cause, in which the grappling hook can pull you both upwards and downwards. Unfortunately, it lacks the utility of the grappling in Just Cause, where you can also use it as a kind of ranged attack by pulling yourself towards an enemy for example, and also simply feels a lot less snappy, dynamic and intuitive.
In addition to that there are just too many inconsistencies, such as not being able to jump from a ledge you’re grappling to if it’s a vantage point or just at random sometimes and it seems like heroic traversal abilities are completely impossible to use indoors, something that is especially disappointing with Batgirls gliding ability, which would also be hard to use there due to the lack of a direct ground-to-glide movement transition as I have already explained. Same thing applies to dropping from vantage points in stealth scenarios, as it seems like you can only drop in a rather narrow cone pointing in the direction of the vantage point, which also becomes a bit irritating at times as you just can’t drop down the sides of a vantage point when you might want to in order to land on a specific walkway or corner.
Overall I would say that the gameplay design often feels a bit misplaced in a game focused on the Bat-family, as the smooth and almost flawless transition from move to move combined with snappy and fun movement mechanics has been a defining quality of the Arkham-Franchise and rightfully so given who these characters are.
This is without doubt one of the gameplay features I have discarded the fastest when playing through the story. Once you unlock the fast-travel functionality there really isn’t much of a reason to use the Batcycle. On top of that it is also not handling in a very engaging way and almost feels a bit boring, and is also presented in a way that encapsulates this perfectly, specifically the fact that it just teleports in and more or less just… exists. If it wasn’t for the absence of fast travel in the first chapters of the game or the Clayface chase most people would have probably forgotten about it entirely, as it is barely memorable unlike the Batmobile in Arkham Knight, which is without doubt one of its highlights if we put the overused tank-battles aside. The handling of the Batcycle also just doesn’t live up to that, and the streaming stutters when using it are doing their part in making it a lot less fun than it could be. I’ve pretty much been going everywhere on foot or by using fast-travel after I unlocked the latter.
Stealth encounters are one of the biggest disappointments in this game, as there is pretty much no attack variety other than Silent Takedowns or Loud Takedowns, with the two of those being performed in a similar manner regardless of where you and the enemy are, be it a takedown from a vantage point or from sneaking behind an enemy. The environments of stealth encounters also aren’t particularly unique or challenging, unlike the complex environments with multiple floors, interactable objects, vents, grates and closed off areas that we have seen throughout the Arkham-series. That’s pretty much all I can think of regarding stealth encounters, which also turn into regular combat encounters if you get seen. The lack of gadget gameplay also does its part in making the stealth encounters very repetitive and stale.
Gameplay Progression, or the lack thereof
Unfortunately there is also very little gameplay progression aside from a few new special moves that you unlock as you go along, which means that you’re more or less playing the same way throughout the entire game and the only ways to mix things up are elemental effects on your gear, but in practice you’re still performing the same exact moves and these effects don’t really do anything aside from stun or cause passive damage to your enemies on top of your melee attacks. The lack of gadgets that can be used during combat or stealth encounters is without doubt one of the biggest missed opportunities there, as the gadgets in the Arkham series allowed you to become much more effective at managing crowds in combat and using the environment to your advantage in stealth encounters. Gradually collecting new gadgets throughout the game is a good way to give players something new, which can be used to mix up their playstyle, but unfortunately this seems to have been forgotten in this game, which is a shame as Batman and his allies are famous for their variety of useful gadgets and tools.
Gear and Grinding
The gear system is something that seems strangely misplaced and almost like an afterthought in this game, as it feels just a little bit more expansive than the rudimentary gear system one can find in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, with the exception of Gotham Knights allowing you to craft gear as well. This is especially weird given that the game claims to be an “action RPG”, yet neither features the nonlinear story progression nor the intricate gear systems one would expect from such a title. A drastic example of the kind of systems I would have personally expected would be The Witcher 3, which still had a gear system that wasn’t overly expansive but had a lot more depth to it than Gotham Knights’ pendant. In addition to that this kind of gear system also feels a bit misplaced in the context of a superhero game, since you wouldn’t really see a superhero vacuum through random chests scattered throughout the city in order to collect things to craft armour from, especially not if we’re talking about the Bat-family. I’d say it would have been more fitting if the gear system in Gotham Knights was built around gadgets and similar equipment, but as you know gadgets have unfortunately been entirely disregarded. Overall, I have mostly just ignored the gear system aside from just occasionally crafting the gear with the highest base stats or picking something with an interesting elemental ability to try out only for it to be disappointing or completely overpowered like Batgirls bioelectric Batarangs, which acted like rudimentary crowd control once you spammed heavy ranged attacks. It also feels a bit underwhelming that you can’t really customize individual armour parts and can only craft entire suits with a certain style rather than combining different pieces of armour like one would expect from something described as an Action-RPG. This specifically made me feel like Gotham Knights is trying to take a bit from everything, but unfortunately it doesn’t really manage to make anything feel like a well-rounded feature that could stand on its own. Perhaps the term “Action-RPG” is also poorly used throughout the industry and should be replaced with “Action game with gear and grinding tacked onto it” for most cases but I digress.
The open world and its lack of relevance
There are remarkably little reasons to just explore the open world in Gotham Knights aside from various collectibles and the occasional necessary crime activity. Most of the time the open world seems to act as a pure static backdrop for missions or to pad out the content. The collectibles also don’t really seem very relevant to me, unlike the infamous Riddler trophies from the Arkham games which at least served the purpose of allowing you to defeat the Riddler and unlocked loads of showcases, concept arts or dialogues with interesting character backgrounds.
I would almost dare to say that the game’s story would have barely been affected if the game didn’t feature an open world, as it simply seems so disconnected from each other, which I will explain in more detail later on when taking a look at the main story.
A conclusion on the gameplay
This is also where I want to pick up on people who said things like Gotham Knights being the Arkham Asylum of WB Montreal, because it is exactly the opposite. Arkham Asylum was praised for its innovative gameplay, whereas Gotham Knights fails due to its gameplay design decisions, many of which just seem like strange decisions on general to me. There are simply too many missed opportunities, inconsistencies and impractical design decisions to make a comparison like this.
Technical Aspects and Visuals
Gotham Knights uses Unreal Engine 4 and unfortunately it suffers from the same problem that many other UE4 titles have suffered from, which is the infamous “Unreal Engine 4 Look”. It’s not quite easy to say what exactly causes this look that has been common across many different titles using Unreal Engine in the last few years, but from what I can tell a lot of it boils down to the post-processing chain of Unreal Engine, with the somewhat lacklustre bloom and lens effects that are easy to spot for the trained eye. This is one of the reasons why one should look into improving these parts when developing a title on Unreal Engine, Froyok’s improved bloom is something that I would almost consider a must-have at this point for example. I might also write a dedicated blogpost about this exact problem with Unreal Engine games in the future, as I feel like it could be helpful to shine a spotlight on this issue.
Another contributing factor is the way movable objects interact with statically lit environments, something that is especially noticeable in Gotham Knights, even though Unreal Engine 4 has been providing ways to mitigate this for quite some time now, namely Bent Normal-Maps and Capsule Indirect Shadows, but it seems like neither of those have been used in this game. This leads to characters often looking strangely misplaced in static environments and almost feeling like they are just composited on-top. This is unfortunately an issue that is not exclusive to Gotham Knights.
Something else I have noticed is that the sprite based lens flares that Gotham Knights uses are often looking misplaced due to impossible flare rotations. Sprite based lens flares are something that I am personally disliking these days, so this is more of a personal nit-pick, but please stop using spite based lens flares in modern titles, especially when image based solutions aren’t really that big of a deal anymore. The latter just look a lot more convincing and high quality and don’t do weird rotations when turning the camera while being in a certain location relative to the source of the flare.
Open-world streaming hitches are also present in Gotham Knights, even when throwing immense amounts of raw compute power and storage speed at it, but sadly this seems to be a common issue with modern games. Unfortunately here it feels even worse than the streaming hitches that Batman: Arkham Knight never truly eliminated despite not being bogged down by using an Engine that was clearly not designed for large open worlds. The issue got especially noticeable when using the heroic traversal abilities or the Batcycle to travel through the city and in addition to that I’ve experienced multiple crashes when traversing the city as well. Supposedly this was improved in a recent patch, but as I have finished the story and have no real motivation to play this game again it’s far too late for this kind of critical fix, and I am without doubt not the only person who feels like this.
Something I have also noticed is that Gotham Knights is missing a certain stylized and filmic quality in its colour grading, which is a significant departure from what we’ve seen in the Arkham-Series. Unfortunately this is also something that prevents the games visuals from being memorable and standing out among the mass of games with somewhat realistic visuals, even though there are many visually appealing interiors or cinematic shots, but that is just not enough to live up to the iconic look of Batman-related media that has come before it. This is especially unfortunate given how good the game can look even when just using some of the options offered in its inbuilt photo-mode as the screenshot I used as this posts title image shows (if you ignore the low-res textures on the buildings, an issue I couldn’t get rid of).
All in all the visuals can be considered good but not outstanding or memorable, thus it’s just yet another game with a visual style that doesn’t seem particularly unique. As we have seen with many games that had a strong and well-executed visual style, objective graphical quality also isn’t as significant when it comes to creating memorable visuals that age well, which makes this yet another missed opportunity when considering the iconic visuals present in a lot of Batman-related media.
I would say that the story has some good moments, especially when considering the various minor interactions between the different characters of the Bat-family, but unfortunately a lot of the main story feels rather loosely connected and also has many missed opportunities. The Court of Owls for example feels wasted in this game, since it just doesn’t live up to the threat it posed to Batman in the New 52 comics. It rather feels like an obstacle than this huge, powerful and centuries old secret society that it is in the comics. This becomes especially noticeable when this game has its version of the “Night of the Owls”, which pretty much didn’t make any noteworthy difference in the open world experience aside from you now also having some crime activities involving the Court. I would have hoped for something along the lines of “The Night of Long Fangs” from the Blood and Wine DLC of The Witcher 3, but unfortunately there was nothing even remotely comparable. This is even more disappointing given that there is a cinematic that seems to hint at such an event when the Talons are being left loose on the city, yet it turns out to be barely noticeable as I have just explained.
This is also symptomatic of the open world having little story connection in general and it rather feels like a set-piece for missions and a way to pad out the game’s playtime by having to navigate across the city for missions. Arkham City and Arkham Knight have shown us how to make it feel like the open world is connected to the story, as it experienced various changes throughout the main story in these games, with the bridges connecting parts of the city being destroyed throughout Arkham City or Gotham being covered in fear toxin, then in pollen after it has been saved by Poison Ivy in Arkham Knight. In Gotham Knights all that really changes is the weather, and it does so at random so there is barely any connection between the story and the open world that can be noticed.
The final twist is also rather obvious, especially given that the League of Shadows and Talia al Ghul have a prominent presence since the very beginning of the story. Another decision that I personally dislike is that of turning Mr. Freeze into just another thug who just wants to destroy Gotham rather than the complex character that we got to see in previous versions.
Last but not least the story feels very “episodic” due to being split into lots of individual missions that usually have to be launched or started at will rather than being ongoing events that you’re seemingly interrupting or trying to catch up to.
As you can see there are a lot of major and minor issues present in Gotham Knights, something that makes the final product feel rather unpolished and like it went through project hell. The latter also seems true given all of the scrapped concepts that have been leaked and the long development time, including the delayed release.
It is also rather disappointing that this game is that big of a departure from the kind of gameplay and storytelling people have been enjoying in favour of gameplay that seems stale and generic in today’s gaming landscape. Some people also think that this game might have been planned to be using the live-service approach, but has changed course mid-development after the failure of Square Enix’ Avengers game and I think this could also explain the more multiplayer-typical gameplay and grinding mechanics.
Unfortunately this seems rather representative of recent trends in the gaming industry, where a certain kind of game which allows live-service monetization and that offers multiplayer capabilities is preferred over high-quality and story-driven single-player games such as the Arkham-Games were.
In my opinion Gotham Knights should have focused on a pure single-player experience with a stronger and more present story that drives the game rather than a strangely misplaced gear system and a very basic co-op mode. In addition to that its primary “replayability factor” should come from having enjoyable gameplay and an interesting or even non-linear story rather than being able to play through it with four different characters that don’t really have much of an individual impact on the story.
It took me a little while until got around to finish this article, but I wanted to do this for a while now and I hope that it’s interesting and helpful for any developers among you that want to avoid some of the pitfalls that this game has unfortunately experienced. Also let me know how you liked this kind of breakdown since its something I haven’t really done before, but I feel like it’s interesting to take a closer look at what went wrong when also having a bit of background knowledge of the underlying tech.