Gotham Knights was an utter disappointment from nearly every angle. While it was a failure on its own merits, it was impossible not to compare it to Rocksteady’s fantastic Batman: Arkham Knight. That 2015 title laid the series to rest and set a high bar for all future DC games. Gotham Knights did not even come close to clearing that bar and further pointed out how much Arkham Knight deserves a modest remaster in order to fill the void of DC games it left in its wake.
Part of the need for a modern rerelease stems from the stunted PC version. It launched in such a terrible state that it was pulled from sale for over four months, and while it received a few updates, that port never quite got the care it deserved. Digital Foundry noted in 2019 that that version was still poorly optimized and only runs in a somewhat acceptable state now because modern machines can brute force through some of its technical problems.
PC players deserve a cleaner version of the game, but console players would benefit from a boost, too. Arkham Knight came out about a year and a half before the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, meaning it didn’t get any enhancements from those half-step systems. Some last-gen games are able to use their PS4 Pro and Xbox One X upgrades in order to run at higher frame rates or better resolutions when played on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, which helps future-proof older games. However, since Arkham Knight never got updated to support those mid-cycle consoles, the game is still limited to 30 frames per second and doesn’t even come close to rendering at ultra HD resolutions.
RELATED: Multiple Gotham Knights Stability Updates Are Being Planned
Arkham Knight would thrive from performance and resolution boosts because of how solid the art direction and atmosphere is. While faces can look a little wooden now outside of cutscenes, and some of the combat animations don’t always line up, the detailed character models, lively environments, and seamless transitions in and out of cinematics make Arkham Knight incredibly pleasing to look at even today. Its Gotham City is moody and lit beautifully through scores of neon lights that split through the fog and everlasting downpour. The skyline is filled with all sorts of ornate buildings while the streets are littered with thugs from all sorts of factions causing havoc to reflect the chaos of the story. Gotham Knights’ Gotham City is dead by comparison and hardly has a personality of its own.
Gotham Knights’ gameplay is also flat and is yet another area where Arkham Knight outshines it. Whereas Gotham Knights’ brawling is mashy, imprecise, and lacks rhythm, Arkham Knight’s combat simultaneously has finesse and meaty strikes that sell Batman’s bone-snapping brutality. The cadence of countering, striking, using gadgets, and activating special moves in order to keep up a combo is engaging because the nonstop onslaught of attacks forces the player to constantly act. The different enemy types combined with the number of abilities players have blend in dynamic ways to make sure no two fights ever feel the same. It’s as empowering as it is replayable and almost no team outside of Rocksteady has come close to the melee combat in the Arkham games; a void that was made even more clear by Gotham Knights.
Its stealth is also empowering, but in a different way since Batman toys with his prey and utilizes shadows and tricks to pick them off. And while his tool set also grants players a ton of choice, stealth plays a more important role in the larger scope of the experience. Not many games have two equally brilliant gameplay pillars and even fewer have two that work on different ends of the spectrum. Melee fights are frenetic and rely on reflexes while sneaking around is more tactical and thrives on tension. They balance each other out wonderfully and that is why the Arkham games have such excellent pacing. Many games still aren’t that multifaceted, as shown by Gotham Knights, which is a tedious slog because of its mindless combat, stealth, and RPG systems.
Batman: Arkham Knight is not only a remarkable video game that would benefit significantly from a modern coat of paint but also an outstanding Batman game in a way the medium has sorely missed in the last seven years. Arkham Knight has already aged spectacularly well for the most part and would be greatly enhanced with some new accessibility options and modern tech upgrades since the foundation is still so solid and unique. Nvidia leaked that a remaster of the game was allegedly coming, but, sadly, nothing has been announced. Gotham Knights was a painful reminder of Batman’s absence and fall from grace in the gaming space. And since WB Games Montréal couldn’t build upon Batman’s legacy, it would be nice to get a touched-up version of his last great adventure while we wait even longer for a new one to come out.
This story originally appeared on Comingsoon