Batman: Arkham City is undoubtedly one of last year’s best games.
It took the world and design built for Batman: Arkham Asylum, improved on that game in almost every way, and gave players one of the purest Batman
experiences you'll find in any medium. That’s an incredibly hard act to follow, but before the
developers moves on to the next game, they’ve brought us to Arkham one last time in
the downloadable epilogue Harley Quinn’s Revenge. And while it’s enjoyable for
many of the reasons we love the main game, it didn't break any new ground.
The Harley-centric DLC – it also comes with the repackaged Game of
the Year edition – takes place sometime after the epic finale to B:AC, so watch
out for SPOILERS AHEAD in both the
game and this review. The story revolves around Joker’s biggest supporter and main squeeze Harley Quinn as she shifts from mourning to vengeance, becoming intently focused on making
Batman pay for the loss of Mr. J. Bats returned to Arkham City to confront
her and has since gone missing, leading his constant chum Robin to search for him.
The vast majority of the game takes place in the derelict steel
mill hideout of the Joker’s gang, and despite some new window dressing, it’s
basically the same collection dingy walls and untended steam pipes. Exploring it from the start with Robin at least gives
it a slightly different feel, as the Boy Wonder fights marginally differently
from Bats and has new gadgets, but is familiar enough that in just a few minutes we
were stalking the dark with ease. That's a sensation that continues throughout the DLC: comforting familiarity with the nagging feeling of sameness.
As the story progresses you switch between Robin and Batman a
couple times, but both sections follow a similar formula. You search for
something until it leads you to a room filled with Harley’s gang of thugs, and after you beat the crap out of them, you hunt for the next thing. The
searches and number of henchmen keep growing in size, but there's not much more variety than
that. The core gameplay is as satisfying as before, but it's missing the mission variety that the source pulled off
There are a few stealth rooms to challenge you and couple segments
that are technically boss fights, but again those fall short compared to the quality of the main game. We had hoped Rocksteady had more new content up its sleeve, but
while the plot is all new, the gameplay merely mixes up the greatest hits from AC. Though don't think that means there are a ton of new developments in the plot either, as the devs deliver a light sprinkling of hints for the future.
Despite dropping clues here and
there for Batman’s future, Harley’s Revenge is more of a coda to Arkham City than a continuation,
one last taste of everything we loved about last fall’s triumph. A little over
two hours long with limited collectibles to bring you back, the $10 price tag
almost asks too much, but ultimately it’s a price worth paying. If you’re one
of the many that put dozens of hours into Arkham City, this DLC is worth it to
see the Dark Knight return.
This downloadable content was reviewed using the Xbox 360 version.