With Gotham Knights being an open-world action RPG where you level up by beating the shit out of goons who commit crimes, you imagine everyone is fair. If you tear this guy down or punch this girl, their bodies are expected to explode in a cascade of brightly colored experience points. Games have conditioned us to think that way, after all. But this is not always true in Gotham Knights. Specifically, his cops don’t give you anything to kick their ass, no matter how fast. you mash the buttons.
Gotham Knights is the new superhero game from WB Games Montreal, the team behind the now cult Batman: Arkham Origins. After launching on October 21 for current-gen consoles and PCs poor reviews, the game puts you in control of the Bat family – Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon, Dick “Nightwing” Grayson, Jason “Red Hood” Todd, and Tim “Robin” Drake – after Dad Batty gets walled off. With Batman’s protective cowl ripped from the skies of Gotham, it’s up to the newcomers to establish themselves as the new guard who will watch over the dark and foggy streets of the city. They do this by stopping crimes and slapping criminals night after night, until they are nauseous. And of course, that means getting in regular contact with the Gotham City Police Department.
However, as Gotham Knights reminds you about 30 minutes you must avoid the cops at all costs. No, it’s not because I’m leading the defense of the police. And no, it’s not because I can’t stand seeing an officer get punched in the face once in a while. The game clearly explains its (rather silly) reason for being: cops don’t drop anything when beaten. “Defeating GCPD officers does not earn you XP or Salvage,” one of the game’s loading screens notes. “Choose your fights carefully.” No experience points, no crafting resources, no blueprints, nothing.
So really, you’re just expending energy for no reason. I mean, I guess the incompetent GCPD could create strong punching bags to release steam or practice certain moves, but don’t expect to gain anything for doing that either. That said, I found during my playtime that it was sometimes difficult to avoid brawling with them, especially when they were also fighting the “bad guys”. On top of that, the game has moments where you are forced to bicker with the police; you are forced to do it, but you still won’t be rewarded for it. Talk about a riddle almost similar to Sisyphus.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to beat up the police once in a while. As we have seen recently, as with the shooting of Uvalde, the cops are not very good at their job. They would rather check their phones in the middle of a crisis than face the crisis. So in the end it’s still good Gotham Knights gives us a safe way to dish out the punches the cops deserve for their incompetence. Of course, all this in the context of a video game. Express your frustrations with real cops at the polls.
Gotham Knights has just been released, and WB Games Montreal is already planning additional content. Free launch November 29 Heroic Assault is the first DLC that will add a four-player co-op mode tasking you with climbing a 30-story building, clearing each floor full of increasingly tough characters until you reach the top.
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