Revenge is a Dish Best Left Off the Menu

Last week, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition. Other than being a contender for the worst cover art in existence, this version of the game includes all the previously released downloadable content, a downloadable copy of the Batman: Year One animated movie, and Harley Quinn’s Revenge, a new mission set after the events of the game’s main story. If you have purchased the game already, you can download the new content separately for $10. Unless you are desperate to dust off that copy of Arkham City you haven’t touched in months, you may want to let it sit on the shelf a while longer.

Due to the nature of the DLC, it’s possible this review could contain minor spoilers pertaining to Arkham City‘s story. With that being the case, only read on if you’re comfortable with that information.

When you start Harley Quinn’s Revenge, which is accessed from the menu of any of your save files (even those that have not finished the main game), you see Robin in Arkham City, searching for Batman who has gone missing trying to rescue Gotham City Police officers from Harley Quinn. This is the first time we’ve been able to play as the Boy Wonder outside of the Riddler challenges in the Robin Bundle Pack. His toolkit is very much identical to the Caped Crusader’s, and all his moves return from the first DLC. Unfortunately, Robin’s path is linear – confined to a new area inside of Sionis Industries’ steel mill – and unable to explore Arkham City proper. After Robin fights his way through the area, he comes across Batman’s utility belt, and we are taken back two days prior to witness how Batman ended up in this situation.

While Batman does get to roam outside a bit, you are unable to exit the Industrial District. Attempting to do so will cause Batman to say that he can’t leave until he has rescued the GCPD officers. What little area you are able to explore only serves to provide a setting large enough for you to become annoyed by constantly moving back and forth across it. It seems in lieu of providing the player with a sandbox to play in, the developers decided that the best way to extend the playtime of this mission was to sprinkle objectives about randomly. It’s all still very linear, however. The only time you get to choose your own course of action is when you decide which of the three goons Harley entrusted with the access codes to her base you would like to interrogate first.

As the mission progresses, you switch between Robin and Batman a couple of times, each just beating their way through to the next room. There are a few instances where you find yourself faced with several armed thugs, forcing you to come up with an effective strategy to deal with them all before they fill you full of bullets. The only sense of exploration you get out of the area is trying to track down 30 balloons emblazoned with Harley Quinn’s smiling visage. These balloons provide no further context to the story; the only reason to find them all is for an achievement/trophy, if you’re so inclined. Worse yet, there are several areas you cannot return to. So, if you missed a balloon or two you are forced to start the mission over, albeit with the balloons you’ve already destroyed accounted for.

When you’ve finally finished the mission, the ending leaves you unmoved. Whereas the main story’s finale was monumental, this epilogue takes the “Where can they go from here?” question from your mind and makes you wish you’d never asked. The only redeeming aspect of Harley Quinn’s Revenge is a chance to play as Robin. Unfortunately, the developers missed a chance to create a worthwhile experience and cast Robin aside just as his character always has been. We’re not even given a tease to a possible (inevitable) sequel like so many other games have done with post-launch DLC. Instead, Harley Quinn’s Revenge is just a thing that exists now.

The Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC will undoubtedly go on sale no matter what platform you decide to play it on, and when it does that will probably be the ideal time to purchase it. If, on the other hand, you have yet to experience Arkham City for yourself, the Game of the Year Edition provides you with little reason not to. With all the content Warner Bros. has included, $50 is a damn good price. Just make sure you think of this DLC as an afterthought, just as it appears the developers did.

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