Warning: Spoilers for Arkham City ahead!
Arkham City was my Game of The Year for 2011 just as it’s predecessor, Arkham Asylum, had been in 2009. As a committed Bat-fan it offered pretty much everything that one could ask for in a video game outing for the Dark Knight. A compelling story that would take pride of place among some of the great Batman comics, excellent visuals, an impressive cast, a list of in jokes and nods to fandom that at times defied belief. Not to mention the atmosphere and life that Arkham City itself offered. After the credits had rolled and the story was finished the city still seemed interesting; teeming with life and small gems to discover. After all, being Batman never gets old! So when I heard about the Harley Quinn’s Revenge expansion I was, to say the least, rather excited. I knew it would be worth the admission fee because I believe in Batman.
This is perhaps the point that I should once again warn of spoilers. If you haven’t completed the main game, but do intend to, I would suggest you stop reading now – pull on the cape and cowl, get the job done and then return – because this DLC is a spoiler-tastic epilogue to Arkham City’s shocking end.
And that is exactly what this download should be regarded as, an epilogue. It’s not a brand new story. It’s not in the same style as Grand Theft Auto IV’s DLC spin-offs that were as good as full games in their own right. Harley Quinn’s Revenge is no more and no less than a brief ‘what happened next’, it is simply around two more hours of Arkham City. It does however come with the added incentive of a small insight into how the The World’s Greatest Detective has been moved by the final events of the main game.
After The Joker died the credits rolled and left us with a sense of fulfilment and emptiness sitting uncomfortably side by side. Some time after those events his ‘girlfriend’ Harley Quinn has taken over the Steel Mill, The Clown Prince’s base in Arkham City, and is staging a vain attempt to make her Puddin’ proud. Her delightful brand of insanity remains intact and now tinged with a sense of sadness and mourning that makes it hard not to have a little sympathy for her. She also seems to be getting ready for her own little future – disturbing as that may seem! Quinn has kidnapped some GCPD cops and Batman has found himself missing among them. Enter Robin, this adventures main selling point. You will alternate between The Dynamic Duo for the brief duration of this adventure starting with Robin and flashing back to how Bat-Brain found himself at the mercy of Ms Quinzel.
Playing as Robin provides a nice, if subtle, change of pace to terrifying the denizens of Arkham City with the Caped Crusader. However it is very subtle. If you have played the previous DLC packs and played as Batman’s sidekick already in the games Challenge Maps you’ll find barely any new moves to play with despite the story setting. His arsenal is stripped down and a little different to Batman’s and offers the occasional difference in how you approach a situation. But, because of the lack of any free-roaming, you never get to really enjoy being Robin of your own accord. Similarly for Batman, this pack provides no new moves and no deviations in the already set formula.
But what a great formula it is! If you loved the hours you spent in Arkham City last year you will enjoy this brief return to the madhouse and the small hints it offers for the franchises future (make sure you talk to Gordon as Batman before winging away). However if you expect a brand new chapter in Rocksteady’s Batman universe you will be disappointed. The two hours will fly by and once again we will be waiting and hoping for confirmation of an Arkham 3. We all clamoured for something extra, something new to do in Arkham City. Rocksteady are proving themselves impressively incapable of giving us anything other than great Batman experiences, but this perhaps wasn’t all we dreamt of when figuring what an Arkham City DLC could present us with.
It’s the DLC we deserve, but not the one we need right now.