Gotham Knights - TMNT

I’m late to the party when it comes to playing the action-RPG-lite grindfest that is Gotham Knights. The game didn’t perform exceptionally well sales-wise, no doubt the result of middling word of mouth and hyperbolic accounts of it being “worse than Cyberpunk” by YouTube clickbait vampires and doom-and-gloom Steam reviewers.

Although I was curious to give it a try, I figured I might as well wait until it gets discounted during a seasonal sale — which is exactly what I did. And after playing it, there two things that really stuck out to me. The first is that, although the opening section is pretty dull, once you get past all of the introductory exposition and systems dump, Gotham Knights is a perfectly enjoyable game.

The other thing that stuck out to me, once I was introduced to the four main characters parkouring and flipping about in the rubble of the Batcave, is that Gotham Knights is pretty much just a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game in disguise. 

Gotham Knights

I mean, think about it. You have four young protagonists of varying levels of brashness, each kitted out with very specific qualities and even an individual color to tell one another apart. Red Hood is Raphael, both of whom happen to favor the color red. Nightwing and Leo are a couple of blue boys. Robin is Michelangelo, young and demure but still capable in his own right (although Robin doesn’t share Michelangelo’s love of orange). And that leaves Batgirl as the Donatello of the group, cunning and good with technology. 

You could argue that this leaves Alfred as Master Splinter, which is… well, whatever. But I feel like Batman is the true Splinter in this comparison, and now these four teenage “turtles” must pick up the mantle from their fallen master, taking his teachings and applying them to their lives going forward. So I guess that makes Alfred April O’Neil. Or maybe Casey Jones. It’s a tough call.

I chose to play as Red Hood out the gate. I originally planned on going with my boy Robin, but he is a weenie in this game, so I went with the one character I didn’t think I would ever really spend much time with. And let me tell you, Red Hood’s dialogue is Raphael 101. He even has a bit of that New York accent that Raph has in the original TMNT movie. He’s all about busting heads and going full-speed toward whatever stands in his way. 

After only spending time with the other characters via Red Hood’s perspective, if I close my eyes, the dialogue just feels like it could fit perfectly into a TMNT template (aside from the one female-voiced character, of course). Nightwing is all about preparation and not jumping the gun. Robin is all about being cautious but also making surprising conclusions that elude the rest of the team. And Batgirl, formally Oracle, is all about gadgets and tech.

Gotham Knights - Batgirl

The parallels between Gotham Knights and what I know of TMNT are beginning to make it hard to focus and not just wish I was playing a TMNT game of this ilk instead. But hey, maybe some other developer could take note and apply this formula to a future TMNT game. I mean, we are living in a world where new TMNT games are still coming out; now you just need to ditch that weird motorcycle that forms out of thin air and replace it with skateboards and the Turtle Van, and you’d really have a stew going.

Actually, if no fully fledged development studio takes on this task, I’m sure the modding community could make this a reality. Please do this!

Anyway, Gotham Knights is already one of the better 3D TMNT games I’ve played in a while — you might as well correct the IP error and allow this game to reach its full TMNT glory and potential.

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