Last year I reviewed Batman: Arkham City and while I had an incredible amount of fun, my biggest complaint was that Batman had too many attacks and gadgets and it was overwhelming. About a week after I published that review, I pulled off a 100-plus-combo that included all of Batman’s moves that he could possibly do. I kind of felt bad, because it seemed like I had prematurely passed judgement. After looking back on 2011, Batman: Arkham City was my favorite game and I was excited when it was announced that there would be DLC that would continue the story of the Dark Knight following the events of the campaign. This time I would not allow myself to fall into the same trap and I played through the Harley’s Revenge DLC twice yesterday, for a total of five hours.
My first playthrough took three hours since I wandered around looking at how slightly different Arkham City is in the DLC. There were a few changes since Harley’s Revenge is set two weeks after the events in the original campaign and I was interested to see how much had changed. I was a little sad to notice that nothing had changed and the enemies were even in the exact same spots.
The game utilizes Robin for half the time as he tries to save Batman. I have a slew of issues with Batman getting captured by Harley Quinn, not just the core concept, but the way it eventually goes down. Playing as Robin was incredibly interesting though. I had the Robin DLC for Arkham City and enjoyed Rocksteady’s portrayal of the Boy Wonder since he has his own gadgets and moves that are similar to Batman’s, but offered just enough variety to spice things up. Using Robin as a character in the campaign was a natural evolution of what Rocksteady had done by creating him and giving him his own abilities.
That ultimately sums up my experience. The DLC is about $10, which took me three hours to play through as I wandered around humming the Batman theme song, punctuating it by breaking bones and there is definitely no speed to this style of play. Rocksteady warned us that the DLC would take a more linear route than Arkham City did, but this was incredibly linear and without the huge environment to mess around in, the game was over really fast. Once I was done in one room there was nothing else to do except go on and while I had a lot of fun playing as Robin he was still pretty underutilized Once I freed Batman, Robin wanders off on his own and only returns for a short appearance in a cutscene at the end.
From a story perspective I was let down pretty fast. It started out with Robin and Oracle/Barbara/Batgirl discussing how Batman has been out of it since the events of Arkham City and hasn’t been himself. I think this may be the pretense as to why Batman actually got captured by Harley Quinn, because he was distracted, but if that was the intention it was pretty weak and wasn’t explored. I don’t expect to see Bruce Wayne crying like Clark Kent would, but a little emotional range would go a long way. Batman has always had emotions, even if he keeps them fairly hidden and after it being discussed early in the DLC, I was thoroughly disappointed when this was never explored through the rest of the game.
So, how do I feel about Harley’s Revenge. I liked it, but I didn’t like it as much as I should have. If you like Arkham City, then get it since you’ll enjoy it too. I just wish there was a little more. A little more content, a little more plot or a little more character development could’ve gone a long way and while I never expected a sprawling city full of villains to explore, I was ultimately disappointed with how short my return to Arkham was.
Good: The finale is really fun
Bad: Too short and not enough depth
Ugly: The Joker Shrine creeps me out, but is a great backdrop for some epic beat-downs