Gotham Knights pulls from a range of established genres, other open-world games, and the Arkham series itself. You might be surprised to learn, however, that it plays a lot less like an Arkham sequel than it does an action-RPG, such as, say, Marvel’s Avengers.
This should become immediately clear shortly after getting your hands on it, but not all of the nuances of its game mechanic soup will become apparent straightaway. There’s a clear focus on RPG systems and gear here, for instance, which will change the way you deal with combat.
To help you wrap your head around this and a lot more, we’ve put together these tips that we believe are crucial to understanding the flow of Gotham Knights, and eventually having a good time with it.
Read on below for our list, and post your own tips in the comments if you have any.
This is NOT Batman combat
If you never managed to find this out on your own, the one thing you need to be aware of before jumping into Gotham Knights is that it does not play like the Arkham games, or Insomniac’s Spider-Man.
By this we mean: there’s no button you can press for your character to automatically parry an attack and switch targets. Instead, you have a dodge button, which does just that, but you’ll need to press the attack button to actually make contact with the enemy.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself dodging several oncoming attacks before you find an opening. You can’t force a lock-on, either. There’s a soft lock-on that highlights the enemy you’re looking at in a white outline, but that’s about it.
It’s a system that will take you a little bit of time to get used to, especially if you recently played other games with Batman combat.
Pick your hero carefully
Though this may sound cliche, picking the right Gotham Knight to match your playstyle can be the difference between enjoying and dreading the early game. It’s best to imagine Batman’s combat abilities, gadgets, hacking skills have all been split amongst the four heroes.
In other words, no one is going to fully feel like Batman, so you’re going to have to decide what sort of Batman you want to play. The game will let you pick who to start with following the opening cutscene, where it will offer a brief description of each of their roles in combat.
Take your time to read and absorb as much of that screen as you can. You won’t be able to change your choice for a while into the game. But, if you’re not happy with the pick you made, it’s actually not a big deal later...
All characters level up, even when you’re not using them
Yes, WB Montreal made the right call in this instance, by letting all your heroes share experience. This goes for character levels, which grant ability points – and it even goes for gear. Gotham Knights will automatically deposit level-appropriate gear into each of their inventories on a fairly regular basis. It won’t be the best gear you could equip, but it’s going to make a major difference.
This ensures that whenever you switch to a different character - even one you’ve not used in a while (or ever), you won’t be at a disadvantage. While you’re free to assign the ability points into any tree, certain abilities won’t be automatically unlocked.
Momentum Abilities, and the traversal upgrades are unique to each hero, so you’ll have to play as each one and do the work required to get said upgrade. In short: you won’t get one-shot by enemies, but don’t expect to dominate immediately.
You can’t change characters in the field
You can only change your character in Gotham Knights once you return to your home base, the Belfry tower. You can’t flip between them when you're out on patrol to solve a specific problem, so you’ll have to make do with the hero you’re playing as.
Assuming you’re not co-oping with another player who may offer a better approach, you’re on your own. This is not a major deal for story missions, because you can simply cancel the mission, return to the Belfry, and pick a more appropriate character for the situation.
Open-world crimes, however, aren’t always set up the same way, meaning you can’t guarantee that they will always spawn back with the exact layout. It’s best to keep all this in mind before attempting a mission.
As mentioned, since all characters always level up, consider taking Batgirl or Robin on stealth-based missions. You’re going to have a much easier time dealing with them.
Don’t sleep on elemental damage
Like it or not, Gotham Knights has plenty of RPG systems that it’s happy to lean into from the moment you start your first night patrol. You’ve probably noticed the damage numbers coming out of people, the levels/hierarchy of enemies and all that.
Outside of all the gear comparing, mod fusing, and general inventory management you’ll be required to do, there’s also something you need to keep in mind if you want to maximise your damage.
Gotham Knights has five elemental damage types. These randomly drop on gear in your melee and ranged slots, and will come from various sources. Your suit, on the other hand, can offer resistance to one or more. It also wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the different enemy factions you run into will wield certain elements over others.
While it would be optimal to fight ice-wielding enemies with fire, and weaken tanks with poison, things actually end up being a bit simpler. See, as long as you have some type of elemental damage on your weapon, you’re going to see a damage boost.
The game’s Database tab offers more in-depth information about which enemy faction is resistant to which elemental damage type. If you’re struggling with a certain faction, consider reading up on them in the Database (Profiles > Factions) to learn their weaknesses.
The game helpfully shows a circle next to your enemies’ health bars that will track the elemental damage build-up you're doing. The various bits of gear you come across will have varying degrees of elemental damage, and damage build-up.
Depending on the element, elemental damage can really give you an advantage in the fight. It will prevent enemies from using certain abilities, and can leave them occupied and off your back for a while, letting you focus on their friends.
In short, take a moment to tweak your elemental damage, as it’s often more deadly than even normal damage.
Play the gear game
Speaking of elemental damage, if you really want to boost it to ridiculous degrees, consider aligning your mods with your gear. For instance, if your ranged slot already has an elemental piece that applies a certain status effect, you can boost that even further by slotting the right mods into it.
You can even help mitigate any deficiencies in those areas with the right mod setup. Generally speaking, some characters are better at applying elemental damage than others, so don’t waste a good mod on a hero who’s going to be stealthing around most of the time.
By also unlocking the right abilities, you can build your character around elemental damage. Certain skills will boost your damage and build-up rate, among other things, and they can really complement your build if you play your cards right.
You could even master two elemental damage types, one triggered by ranged attacks and another by melee.
You don’t need to return to the Belfry to use crafted gear
There’s a weird limitation in Gotham Knights that prevents you from using the gear pieces you’ve crafted on patrol until you return to Belfry. Why let me craft in the field if I can’t immediately equip my new threads? No one knows.
If you don’t want to end the night, you can do something else instead: simply quit to the main menu, then resume your save. This achieves the same effect, and lets you equip what you crafted without the need to travel back and forth to the Belfry.
Dismantle other characters’ gear if you need resources
As mentioned, Gotham Knights is happy to grant the characters you don’t play regular stipends of gear. Anytime you check the inventories of the heroes you’ve been neglecting; you’ll be bombarded with notifications for new gear pieces.
It’s always a good idea to dismantle what you don’t want, but this is even more true for gear from heroes you have no interest in playing. This becomes crucial into the late game as the rarest of crafting materials become hard to get. So before you go out to grind, check if one of your other heroes has the stuff you need.
It’s very easy to go back to stealth
Assuming you didn’t trigger an irreversible action by breaking stealth - such as a bomb timer that the baddies started as soon as they spotted you, you can return to neutral quite easily in Gotham Knights.
All you really need to do is break line of sight for long enough, and enemies will eventually stop looking for you. Once you unlock the smoke bomb (which happens very early on) you can do it even when you’re surrounded by enemies.
The smoke bomb is triggered by holding the grapple button (LB/L1 by default). This will send you flying to the nearest perch and quickly deploy a smoke bomb. You can use this opportunity to switch places quickly and watch as enemies lose interest and go back to neutral.
One major reason why you’d want to go back to stealth is clearing bonus objectives. For instance, if you’re tasked with getting three stealth takedowns and you got spotted after getting only one, going back to stealth will salvage that situation.
Health kits do not replenish in the field
If you’re struggling with a certain encounter, and too proud to lower the overall difficulty to get past it, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Dying over and over comes with hefty resource penalties, for one. Respawning also doesn’t bring back your lost health packs.
This is counterintuitive and could get you stuck in a negative feedback loop. The best way to quickly acquire more health kits for tough fights is to simply patrol Gotham and solve crimes. Health packs are common drops, so it shouldn’t take you long to stack up on them.
You could also return to the Belfry if you’re happy to end the night’s patrol. Returning to the Belfry always replenishes your inventory.
You can track which areas have no more collectibles in the map
If you’re going after Batarangs and all the other collectibles in Gotham Knights, you might want a quick way to see which of the city’s different zones you’ve entirely completed.
Quickly bring up the map and check the lower right corner of the screen, you’ll see all the different types of collectibles listed there. If something has a checkmark over it, you’re done with it for that area.
Time trials can be finished by any hero
Traversal time trials, and Batcycle races are some of Gotham Knight’s many open-world activities. Both are pretty simple once you learn the route, and they reward you with new colours for the Batcycle and other cosmetics for every one you finish.
The good news is that any of the four heroes can fill in and complete the trial, meaning you don’t have to play each of them with every hero. This makes it easy to exploit each hero’s strengths to make things easier on yourself.
Anyone can finish the Batcyle races, but we found Batgirl and Nightwing to be the best at the flying time trials because of their speed and agility.
New Game Plus doesn’t start immediately
You’ll be happy to know that Gotham Knights has a New Game Plus mode, and does not throw you into it immediately upon finishing the main campaign. This means you can continue roaming the city, wrapping up any unfinished business and stopping crimes.
If you tended to stick to one or two of the heroes, you’re likely missing a whole bunch of story cutscenes and flashbacks, so switch to them and walk around the Belfry and/or explore the world to catch up.
When you’re ready, you can start New Game Plus from the game’s main menu. This mode raises the level cap to 40 (meaning you get to unlock more abilities), makes enemies tougher, and keeps all your character unlocks and gear. You are, however, going to lose story progression.
You can’t go back on this decision, as Gotham Knights only has a single save slot, so picking New Game Plus will overwrite your existing save.