Batman: Arkham City (B:AC) was such a popular title that I was surprised when its only DLC that contained new narrative content disappeared almost without trace. By way of example: on the Xbox 360, there are 87 reviews of B:AC; in comparison, there are only 20 reviews for the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC (HQR). Sure, it was just DLC, but it was DLC of a very popular game – that would usually see it attract more attention.
Having played RoHC, I now understand why – it’s short. Two hours was all it took to complete, including the achievements, re-learning enough of B:AC’s combat system to get by and also spending time listening to the unique banter between henchmen. If I’d moved straight from B:AC to this, I could have easily completed this title at least 25% quicker.
It’s also a deeply unsatisfactory addition to the B:AC story for a number of reasons (and *SPOILERS* follow):
- Batman is very upset by the Joker’s death at the end of B:AC. When Batman isn’t on screen, it’s pretty much the only thing people talk about. This isn’t a great attempt at character development, especially since there is no payoff at the end where Batman gets over it or talks to Robin or does anything else that could vaguely be considered a resolution.
- Again, I wish that Robin and Oracle would use their codenames when talking over their communications system than using their real names. When Barbara talks to Tim about Bruce it becomes distracting, especially in a world where numerous villains could be listening in.
- You start off HQR as Robin, which is a neat change and you get some new tricks to play with. Then you go back to being Batman, which is less interesting. And then back to Robin very briefly before ending up as Batman again. More Robin would have made this DLC a lot more engaging through changing things up.
- Harley Quinn is treated poorly by this DLC. She’s in full on whining, neurotic, overly-emotional girlfriend mode and it ultimately makes the character seem pretty pathetic. Which may have been her role in B:AC, but that’s a bit sad in a DLC that’s bears her name. Also, it’s a wonder why any of Joker’s ex-goons follow her as she lacks the intelligence and / or out-right sadism of the other main villains in this particular setting. Quinn also seemed to have been as a cross between a stripper and a goth bride.
- Finally, the death of the Joker really isn’t given the examination it deserves. He’s a major figure in this universe and it would have been interesting to see how other characters (not just Batman, who seems to have gone super-grumpy / mopey) react to the death. You get to hear some minions banter, but how does the Penguin feel about it? Two-Face? Why aren’t more villains moving in on the Joker’s former turf?
I was expecting more. It was fun, but mainly because the underlying game engine works so well and smacking around large groups of opponents remains awesome. As far as narrative DLC goes though, HQR was pretty weak.