Batman Arkham City was one of the biggest games to come out last year. Sequel to the highly acclaimed Batman Arkham Asylum, needless to say tongues were waging with the announcement of an open world sequel. It turned out to be for good reason too, as Arkham City did turn out to be one of the biggest releases of the 2011. And Despite any issues with the pacing and storytelling I, personally, had with the game, it was a fantastic.
So, it was obvious such a huge release was going to get a whole bunch of downloadable content to keep people coming back for more, and it did, in the form of additional characters that could be used in the challenge mode. Which was slightly underwhelming to be honest. But now, just when everyone was starting to forget about Arkham City we have been presented with the game’s first story based expansion in the form of Harley Quinn’s Revenge.
While this DLC is an addition to the game’s main story, it doesn’t actually affect the main game in any way, rather, it is just an option to pick from the main menu. The bite sized campaign takes place a week or so after the ending of the main game. So this is a warning, if you’re still getting around to playing Arkham City and don’t want the ending ruined for you, it’d probably be best to shut this off and go do it, like now.
So, it’s been a week, and Batman hasn’t been the same since the Joker died. We hear this from Oracle and Robin as he enters the now evacuated Arkham City Asylum, apparently Batman has been missing for two days after going into the steel mill that served as the Joker’s hideout during his time incarcerated there. Harley Quinn has taken a group of Gotham’s finest hostage and Robin is investigating the lack of any contact with Batman.
It’s during this part of the game where we take control of Robin and are allowed to roam around, given a very restricted version, of Arkham City. Robin isn’t entirely new to players, those that spent any time in the Riddler’s Revenge challenge mode should be well acquainted with his array of combat and equipment abilities.
Tim Drake does have a few unique abilities such as a shield on his bowstaff that can be used to block incoming fire and boiling steam. It also makes an effective bludgeon. He also had access to ‘snap flashes’ which are essentially small concussion mines that can still to everything from conveniently placed cranes to the enemies themselves. While Robin does share a number of gadgets with Batman such as batarangs and the explosive gel, he is ultimately less equipped than the caped crusader, making the combats and predator modes that much trickier.
It doesn’t take Robin very long to find evidence that Batman has been in the mill and has been captured by Harley and her thugs, it’s now that the game flashes back to two days previous and we take control of Batman once again, who is returning to Arkham to take down the escaped Harley and free the cops.
The DLC does this several time jumping back and forth between Batman and Robin as the story progresses. It seems to endeavour to add every little quirk and gameplay feature seen throughout the main game, adding several combat and predator sections while also giving the players a chance to explore while looking for a number of Harley Quinn balloons scattered around the map. It also makes a token use of the detective mode that I still think could have been utilised better in the main game.
There are one or two little Easter eggs to find too, which is one of the things I enjoy most about these Batman games, there are so many little extras all over the place for anyone who has a mind to find them.
Pretty much everything else within the game remains the same. Although if you pick this up after not playing Arkham City for as long as I did, you might find that your fluid expertise of combat or unrivalled subtly in predator mode have gotten a little rusty, and you’ll find yourself dying, a lot.
From the earlier promotional materials surrounding this piece of DLC, it looked like it was trying to come from a much darker place in regards to the character of Harley Quinn, who was now in mourning for The Joker. While Harley is most known for being loudmouthed, airheaded and devoted to ‘Mister J’, Harley’s Revenge almost looked like it was going to take the character down a much darker and unfamiliar path.
This all falls completely flat though, because aside from a little bit of runny makeup and a ratty veil, it’s just the same old Harley. I suppose this isn’t ground that should be trodden in a two-three hour DLC, but nonetheless it would have been intriguing.
Harley Quinn’s Revenge is a nice little addition to the Arkham Asylum series’ mains storyline. In the end though it really doesn’t do anything to add to the story other than to reinforce Batman’s, sortof, depression after the death of the Joker. And in the end, i can’t really recommend anyone buy this unless they’re desperate for something new to play in Arkham. The only ‘new’ things it brings in is the ability to play as Robin within a small section of the overworld map and very little else.
While it, like the rest of the game, is well produced and generally satisfying, however, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table in reality and it just more of the same, and it really missed an opportunity with the Harley Quinn character in my opinion. So pick it up if you really want to, but I wouldn’t feel too bad about giving it a miss either.
Harley Quinn’s Revenge available right now on all platforms as Batman Arkham City.
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