Is the Batman: Arkham Knight DLC Worth Playing?

 

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(WARNING: Spoilers Ahead.) Warner Bros. and Rocksteady have been very forward about how much extra content they have planned for the amazing “Batman: Arkham Knight.” If you’re like a lot of players of this incredible game—one that gets better the more one considers its narrative depth and misses its addictive gameplay—you’ve probably initiated the Knightfall Protocol, locked up The Joker in his mental cell, defeated the title character, and stopped the Scarecrow from turning the entirety of Arkham City into his own personal nightmare playground.

Now, what’s a superhero to do? Sure New Game Plus is enticing, but there’s also a bit of DLC staring at you from the PSN Store, either in the form of a Season Pass or individual downloads. And if you’re lucky enough to be a PS4 owner, you get some exclusive DLC in the form of the Harley Quinn missions and Scarecrow AR Challenges. Should you play any of them? All of them? Let us break it down.“Batgirl: A Matter of Family”

The most enticing DLC offered for “Batman: Arkham Knight” is a prequel to the actual game that features beloved characters Nightwing, The Joker, and Commissioner Gordon, along with allowing you the never-before opportunity to play as Batgirl herself. The Joker has kidnapped the Commish and is holding him hostage at the Seagate Amusement Park. After a nifty opening act in which you have to work with Nightwing to take down some snipers, the bulk of the episode takes place at the Park, as you have to save various hostages from waves of captors. The DLC includes a bit more strategy than you might expect as Batgirl isn’t as strong and doesn’t carry as many gadgets as Batman.

So there’s a lot of hacking involved, including digitally manipulating items in the environment to blow up on your enemies, blinding them long enough that you can take them down.

As is so often the case with story-based DLC for great game, “A Matter of Family” sometimes feels like an afterthought. The environment is great—I loved exploring an abandoned amusement park—but the encounters get repetitive in a brief window of time and the lack of actual storytelling is crazy. It’s more like a wave DLC or an AR challenge in that the entirety of its narrative could really be summed up as “Batgirl rescues hostages.” An opportunity to take on such a legendary character should have produced more in terms of actual plot.

Having said that, I’d be lying if I said “A Matter of Family” isn’t fun. It’s another hour or so of “Arkham Knight” given that Batgirl employs the same melee mechanic as the full-length game, and anyone who has played through the entirety of the full experience will probably want to drop $7 to play for another, brand-new hour. Should it have been more? Yes. Is it enough? Yes.

“Harley Quinn Story Pack”

In many ways, the Harley Quinn episode of “Arkham Knight” is more disappointing than “A Matter of Family.” It’s shorter and seems to end just as it’s getting started. Harley has to break into the GCPD to try and get Poison Ivy out, per the orders of The Joker. She has brand-new gadgets, including an exploding jack-in-the-box, and she even gets to fight Nightwing. How could this go wrong?

Well, it doesn’t really go wrong as much as it goes short. It’s really two encounters—one that requires stealth around the police station, and the aforementioned fight with the legendary hero. Like so much DLC, I wanted MORE. Bring Harley Quinn back for another adventure. You bothered to create so much here that barely gets used.

“Scarecrow Nightmare Challenges”

Should you bother downloading the Scarecrow challenges when there are so many other AR challenges likely waiting to be completed? Yes, you should, just for John Noble alone. The legendary “Fringe” star, who really does award-worthy work in the proper game, is awesome here over three increasingly difficult driving/combat challenges. You’ll race through each of the islands to get to an arena in which you have to shoot a giant Scarecrow while also dodging and defeating drones. And Noble/Scarecrow will verbally taunt you the entire way. It’s simple and short, but kind of a blast, and further proof that John Noble needs more video game voice actor work. Like all of them.