After my super in-depth dive into the universe of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, I’ve decided to do something a bit shorter. Whereas for that I had absolutely no knowledge, when it comes to superhero comic books, I have tons! While the show with the same title and basic premise failed to excite (and just, you know, failed), I decided that Gotham Knights was the next diary that I needed to write!
I’ve been meaning to get around to playing Gotham Knights since it came out in October 2022, so this gives me a reason to sit down and play it. It was developed by WB Games Montréal, and published by Warner Bros. Games, for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. Even though mods for the game exist, I didn’t find any that seemed required.
This is my exploration of Gotham Knights where I will chronicle my playthrough like a text-based Let’s Play. I’ll point out all of the Easter Eggs that I can spot in the footnotes at the end of each part. Now let’s play Gotham Knights…
A message was decrypted and Bruce Wayne appeared on the screen to say “If you’re watching this, I’m dead.” The message cut out, and we saw the Batmobile in the Batcave before Batman crashed onto it, an arrow piercing his chest. He removed it and was attacked by his assailant: Ra’s al Ghul. The two continued to fight, with Batman on the defensive due to his wound and the strange green glow that Ra’s kept exhibiting. The leader of the League of Shadows claimed that he was doing this because Batman had failed to save Gotham from itself, and for that it must burn.
Batman allowed himself to be stabbed by Ra’s sword in order to headbutt him unconscious, giving Batman precious seconds to get in position to set up his ultimate contingency, knowing that his protégés would continue in his stead. When Ra’s joined him, Batman activated explosive charges placed throughout the Batcave, bringing the mansion above down on top of them…
By the time Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood arrived, there was only a flaming crater. However, they managed to find Batman’s gauntlet which contained the video, and it resumed playing as the group located Bruce Wayne’s lifeless body. It was part of a Code Black, which automatically triggered when the cave was destroyed, and the video apologised for what he knew now lay ahead of his protégés. The Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) were useless since Commissioner Jim Gordon had died, and the criminal element would quickly work out that Batman hadn’t been sighted in a while.
As Bruce talked in the video, we saw a scene of the GCPD chasing a truck, before being explosively stopped by a grenade. The truck zoomed past an electronics shop with some television sets in the window; one was airing Channel 52 with a news report about Blackgate prison being overrun by the inmates, another had a WGBS-TV broadcast with Commissioner Catherine Kane giving a press conference, and the third had a GCN news report about Wayne Enterprises’ stock plummeting.
Cutting to Bruce Wayne’s funeral, his aunt and uncle (Catherine Kane & Jacob Kane) gave the eulogy in front of a large crowd, which, of course, included his butler Alfred Pennyworth and the Batfamily in their civilian attire. Much later, the Batfamily met at the grave, this time in their superhero uniforms (aka Batsuits). They talked about how Alfred was on vacation (which he had been forced into) when Bruce died, and that it was ironic Commissioner Kane presided over the funeral despite being staunchly anti-vigilante.
Batman had apparently sent them all a message, the contents of which promised to have “implications that could shake Gotham to its core”, but it was incomplete. Fortunately, it contained the name “Dr. Langstrom” who worked at Gotham University. This was where I finally took control of the game, picking Batgirl as my first protagonist, with the thinking that I would swap between them as I went. Batgirl was described as: Expert Hacker, Tough as Nails, Single-Target Bruiser, and I figured that I’d need to hack something.
Arriving at Gotham University I overheard paramedics confirming the identity of a corpse which they were loading into an ambulance: Kirk Langstrom. The paramedics left, and I grappled over to Moulton Hall where Red Hood said I could find Langstrom’s office. However, when I arrived it was clear that he wasn’t killed there — luckily some scratches on the floor led me through a shattered observation window to his laboratory.
In the lab was a large amount of blood on the rear wall, with more blood leading back to where he was working before he had been stabbed. My augmented reality vision showed a mechanism beneath the floor, so I went to his workbench to look for a way to activate it. While the thermostat and his tablet were both good possibilities, my gut told me that I should type the numbers on his notepad into the microwave. It worked, and a cabinet moved to reveal a passage into a hidden lab!
There were several fluid-filled vats containing various animals that had evidently been used for experimentation. There was also a portable hard drive which I snatched before leaving, seemingly triggering an alarm! But as I opened the courtyard doors, I discovered that it wasn’t an alarm about me, it was about the fires and vehicle damage being caused by a street gang called the Freaks. So, I apparently just stood there while they continued for a few moments before splitting up, and allowing me to tackle a single ruffian with ease.
Following two Freaks into a building, I kicked the first one in the back, then silently knocked out the next three. From an upstairs window, I grappled onto a statue and dropped onto a Freak to knock them out, then repeated it on the next two who were in the courtyard. A waypoint directed me into Woolfolk Hall, which was burning, and inside I found the cause immediately because the Freak started throwing Molotovs at me!
Hurrying up some stairs, I spotted some hostages in the hall below, so I dropped down to beat up the five Freaks. A larger gang member came in holding a modified riot shield and a weight on a chain, so I was surprised when I defeated them very quickly. With that, I left the university, hopped on my Batcycle and drove off, heading to Belfry: the (outdated) base of operations left to us by Batman. As I drove onto a bridge, the police decided to come after me with a helicopter, but I evaded it and soon arrived at the Belfry.
Entering the main area in a cutscene, Batgirl turned on the Batcomputer despite the two adults and one late-teen who had been apparently waiting around doing nothing for literally hours. Red Hood wanted to leave to do things his own way, but was convinced to stay moments before the power went out, only to be turned back on by Alfred as he had just arrived. This united the crew in a way that had seemed on shaky footing only moments ago, and when the Batcomputer finally finished booting up they were ready to jump into action!
However, Batgirl stated that Alfred would need help setting Belfry up as their permanent base of operations, so obviously it was time to open the Batcomputer and set up my abilities because this was a game. So, I opened the menu and chose Perfect Evade which also unlocked the Beatdown Momentum Ability.
After having a quick word with Nightwing (because I was trying to find out how to swap characters), I left the Belfry to go and beat up some criminals…
Ra’s al Ghul was the leader of the League of Assassins, known as The Demon’s Head. I was happy to hear the correct pronunciation of Ra’s’ name (ray-sh), as too often in the past it’s been pronounced incorrectly (rah-s). He arranged for Batman to have a relationship with his daughter, Talia, as he respected the detective’s intelligence and ability.
The League of Shadows is the ratings-friendly name for the League of Assassins, an ancient group of hired killers. In the comics the League of Shadows are a splinter group within the League of Assassins — it’s a whole thing…
Channel 52 began as a teaser in the back of DC monthly comic books hinting at what was going on in some of the ongoing titles. In The CW Arrowverse TV shows everyone watched Channel 52 news broadcasts.
WGBS-TV was a TV station that both Lois Lane and Clark Kent briefly worked for during the 1970s and 1980s, before the Crisis on Infinite Earths event rebooted the universe.
GCN originates from the movie Batman Forever rather than the comics, and is seemingly a news network.
Blackgate is the prison where regular thugs that Batman defeats will wind up, rather than the costumed supervillains (who wind up in Arkham Asylum).
Jacob Kane is a retired soldier who helped his daughter, Kate Kane, become Batwoman.
Catherine Kane is Jacob Kane’s second wife who’s only appeared in a handful of comics in the decade she’s been around.
Dr. Kirk Langstrom is a scientist who I don’t want to spoil in case the game gets into him some more.
Moulton Hall is likely named after William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman.
Woolfolk Hall is probably named after William Woolfolk, a prolific comics writer, and has the dubious honour of being co-creator of the supervillain Captain Nazi.
The Belfry was used by a team of Batfamily characters (plus a reformed Clayface) in a really good run of Detective Comics.