Back(log) to the Front: Weeks 19 and 20

E3 is drawing near. Which means this will be another year where I am expecting (maybe foolishly) to see the next Rocksteady project. Batman: Arkham Knight released 4 years ago, and it seems about time for something ro be revealed. My hope is a Superman game though that rumor was effectively tossed out the window. So my hopes lie in a Legion of Superheroes or Green Lantern Corps game based on rumors involving a team dynamic, but chances are slim.

Having the itch for a Rocksteady game, I decided to pop Arkham Knight back in and play through the dlc I hadn’t touched. Which was pretty much everything other than the Harley Quinn side story. This worked out well as they were all pretty short and I’ve barely had time to play games with my schedule lately.

So in the words of the Joker: here we go!

Batgirl: A Matter of Family

Taking place prior to the events of the first game Batman: Arkham Asylum, this DLC tells the tale of Joker having kidnapped Commissioner Gordon while Batgirl and Robin take the lead to save the day. It takes place at the Seagate Amusement Park which seems like a cool place (think amusement park mixed with an oil rig), but is ultimately pretty bland due to not much happening in the DLC at all although feeling like a complete experience.

The DLC is quite short, running roughly an hour, and Batgirl is the main character with Robin mixed in during some dual combat. I really like her design although it feels out of place in the timeline (more Arkham Knight design than Arkham Asylum) and her combat fits her well as a mix between Batman and Catwoman.

The story barely exists though which is a shame. It was giving off The Killing Joke vibes at first, but ultimately leads to nowhere of interest or consequence. The goal for Joker is to kill off the sidekicks as he has found Batman diverting his time to them instead of him. It’s been done before, and better, and comes off more as a tacked on reason for the DLC to exist. However, it was nice to see Harley Quinn back, this time decked out in her iconic red and black Animated Series outfit.

As much as I enjoy playing as other characters in the series, this didn’t really do much for me. The world around Batgirl is just sorta “there”, the story isn’t engaging enough, and she plays too much like Batman to stand out on her own. Unlike later stand-alone dlc though, it is the one that can stand as a complete product and is better because of it.

Catwoman’s Revenge

This may be blasphemous, but I prefer combat with Catwoman over Batman. The fluidity and speed using her along with the acrobatics is a blast to not only play, but also watch in action.

So as much as I wanted to play this, I also left disappointed. Unlike the Batgirl dlc, Catwoman’s Revenge takes place after Arkham Knight (100% playthrough) as you break into Riddler’s robot factory to shut it down. So of course even though he is incarcerated, Riddler still has goons and robots around.

The level itself is essentially two rooms. One is a toy store of sorts sith thugs wandering around. The first task has you stealth around and steal three key cards, use them to open up the robot factory, then take down the same guards. The robot factory is a small arena where you battle some robots. It becomes tedious and frustrating though as the arena is flooded with these robots, lasers moving around the floor, and the floor becoming electrified.

It’s just…dull. The plot doesn’t pull you along and the big finale is a chore that became so irritating I gave up on it entirely despite it being at the end. Altogether, it can be done in probably 20-30 minutes if you don’t get bogged down in the hell that is the robot factory. Not a good dlc.

Nightwing: GCPD Lockdown

This one is definitely better than the Catwoman dlc, but still nothing super satisfying. This time you play as Nightwing trying to throw a wrench in the getaway plans of Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin after the events of Arkham Knight.

There are three small fight moments in this game with a larger predator stealth sequence in the middle. The fight scenes are what one would expect with a mix of goons ranging from knife-carrying, gun-toting, electric baton-wielding and immense brutes to go up against. Nightwing has been my least favorite to play with so far, but the predator mission doesn’t suffer from that. Its a tight arena at the GCPD precinct as you can leap in and out of the building or go from level to level taking out enemies. Not horribly designed, but also limiting as well.

There isn’t much in the way of plot, but it does an okay job with bringing up the last events of Arkham Knight. Villains think Batman is dead while the police are wondering if they need to replace the signal. They even bring up Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake running off and getting married. That along with some of the banter between Nightwing and Lucius Fox brings personality to the dlc that was appreciated.

It’s not going to blow the socks off anyone, especially clocking in at a little over an hour (dying multiple times too). However the dialogue did a decent job of making this dlc feel worth something, so there’s that.

Robin: Flip of a Coin

Another post-Arkham Knight story detailing Tim Drake giving up his honeymoon to go tackle Two-Face. I’ve got to say this, the villains didn’t take long to escape custody. Short as well, and feels like it could have been stripped from the game even if it was anti-climatic. Something only the Batgirl dlc got right so far.

Robin controls the most like Batman and uses similar gadgets. So when dropped into this dlc, it’s pretty easy to get back into the rhythm of how everything feels. The big case here is the larger stealth section up front that’s more open than the Nightwing section and plenty of places to hide, sneak around or scurry off to. After that it’s all combat with nothing new or special integrated to make it stand out.

Like the other dlcs, plot is irrelevant here too while the dialogue between Barbara and Tim stand out. Tim clearly wants to be more like Batman after the events of Arkham Knight. Barbara is trying to make him understand he isn’t and can be better. Villains see him as a pinch-hitter. So he is being hit with a duality of opinion as to his potential which is a nice touch considering the enemy he is going after.

All in all, another “ok” edition. Another case of linking essentially challenge maps together with little plot, but at least they carried over dialogue importance on continuing the events of Arkham Knight.

Red Hood DLC

Not much to say here. Literally one combat challenge room with the main goal to knock out Black Mask. Thankfully playing as Red Hood was enjoyable (the alternate character I liked the most) but an otherwise worthless dlc.

I do think Batman needs to investigate what Black Mask eats or how he trains. That man took a pummeling that would make Bane jealous and just kept standing. If there was such a thing like a punch-sponge (think bullet-sponges in shooters), Black Mask would fit that definition.

To sum all of those up – avoid. Some are better than others (Batgirl and Nightwing) while one is flat out awful (Catwoman) and something like Red Hood is pointless all around.

No, the real meat and potatoes comes in the following content:

Season of Infamy

This is actual content worked into the main game. Much like other quests to nullify the threats of Firefly or Man-Bat in the main game; Season of Infamy adds in 4 additional villains to seek. This means open-world missions as opposed to the bite sized sections of the stand-alone dlc.

Right off the bat, Killer Croc was my first opponent. A crash in Gotham harbor was worth exploring and it happened to house the reptilian horror. This was mostly combat (dual combat at the end with Nightwing) with a side helping of finding police officers in Gotham housing some needed key cards to proceed further into the former-airborn prison.

Next I fell into Wonderland as The Mad Hatter got himself arrested for the sole purpose of playing a game with Batman. This led to hunting down some hostages in the open world and disarming bombs before diving into a very cool and creative surrounding for some combat. Finding the hostages wasn’t great due to the clue used to find them, but the combat (specifically the location) made up for it.

Resurrection was next on my plate as I used my detective vision to follow bloodstains to the lair of the League of Assassins. Here they were in the process of reviving Ras Al Ghul. Not many fights here, but since the League is involved, a few of them involved ninjas and swords. The cool thing about this mission is a choice near the end that can cause some debate as to what Batman would do given the situation with different outcomes.

Lastly I chose to go after a man as cold as ice: Mr. Freeze. A tanker had frozen over and after a little stealth takedown of the people onboard, I came across a distraught Mr. Freeze. His wife and her cryogenic chamber had been taken to convince Mr. Freeze to turn against Batman. So of course Batman decides to get her back for him. Its a really great moment for Mr. Freeze although it also includes the Batmobile tank combat which for some people might not be a worthwhile trade-off.

So after all that DLC….what was worth it? The Season of Infamy is the clear winner with the best missions and inclusion into the world of Arkham Knight. Catwomans Revenge I found to be the worst followed up with the inconsequential Red Hood challenge. Of the sidekick dlc, Batgirl’s was the most complete offering as a world was created around her to middling success, whereas Nightwing and Robin were challenge maps essentially connected together. So my ranking:

1. Season of Infamy

2. Batgirl: A Matter of Family

3. Nightwing: GCPD Lockdown

4. Robin: Flip of a Coin

5. Red Hood challenge

6. Catwomans Revenge

So take that for what it’s worth. There is plenty of more that Arkham Knight has in terms of dlc (such as races, challenges, skins, etc) and I played the Harley dlc at launch which is why I didn’t touch on it here. It’s on sale enough nowadays, so it would be worth a shot at the right price. At the very least, it was nice to have a reason to soar over Gotham again.

These next couple weeks I’m tasking myself with playing through an original PlayStation japanese role-playing game. I’m hoping to make it through, but could prove difficult with overtime, a wedding to go to, my nieces’ graduation, and more. Until then though, keep it tuned to Los Harrow Games content including the following:

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One thought on “Back(log) to the Front: Weeks 19 and 20

  1. Pingback: LHG Episode 28: PlayDate’s Crank, Yakuza’s Brutality, and MomoCon’s Indie Games | Los Harrow

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