Joey Sack, ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Over the next few months, Emertainment Monthly will be covering the various DLC that comes with the Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass, as well as other DLC like the PS4-Exclusive Scarecrow Nightmare Missions. In this article, we will take a look at some of the DLC that has come out thus far, namely the various skins for Batman and the Batmobile, the Red Hood Story Pack, the Harley Quinn Story Pack, the Scarecrow Nightmare Missions, and the Batgirl: A Matter of Family story pack. Please note that the DLC covered will be the DLC on the PlayStation 4, so not all skins will be covered. Also, some parts of this review may have spoilers, so spoiler alert.
Skins for Batman and his ride
As with Arkham City, players can choose from several skins for Batman as they glide around Gotham and bring justice to her streets. The skin you start with is a Batsuit that is almost identical to Batman’s Arkham City suit, and later you get a more advanced Batsuit, Version 8.03, that is more akin to a suit of armor than a costume. When you complete the main story, save for the final ending of the game, you get a “pristine” version of the 8.03, the 8.04, which is likely Rocksteady’s answer to the fact that in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, when you got to the end of the story, Batman’s suit is battered and torn completely to hell. Other skins, based on Batman’s 76-year history, include the Classic TV series Batman, the Justice League 3000 Batman, the New 52 Batman, Flashpoint Batman, and the Anime Batman, from the film Batman: Gotham Knight (players who want this last skin need a WBPlay account to get it). All of these skins are great, and all of them will let you feel like whatever version of Batman you want to feel like as you glide above the streets of Gotham.
The skins for the Batmobile may be a bit of a misnomer; the skins are not as much skins as they are paintjobs for the car. The one you get at the beginning is a classic all-black skin for the car that does its job fine. One that you get later in the game is the MK2 Batmobile, which sports a silver-colored paintjob. The best skin other than the standard, though, is probably the 1966 Batmobile skin, which features red lines and the Adam West Bat Symbol on the back and sides. It still matches with the dark colors that Batman sports while also giving the car more character.
All in all, the first round of skins has been satisfying, though people will have their own personal preference of which ones they use to patrol the streets of Gotham City. It would have been nice to have the Batmobile skins transform the look of the car more, but there’s only so much one can do to change that.
Red Hood Story Pack (warning: spoilers):
The Red Hood Story Pack takes place after the events of Arkham Knight’s main story, as the Red Hood, aka Jason Todd, formerly known as (SPOILER ALERT) the Arkham Knight, works to take down Black Mask, who is dealing arms in Gotham despite Todd’s warnings to get out of town. This and the Harley Quinn packs are where this DLC falls a bit flat (more on the latter later). While it’s fun to play as someone as different as Batman (i.e. someone who uses guns), we don’t get to play as him for that long this time around. It consists of a combat challenge, a predator map, and another combat challenge before the boss fight, which is another fight with thugs. Red Hood is an interesting character, but to call it a “Story Pack,” it shouldn’t take you so little time to get through it. Here’s hoping that we get more of Red Hood in the next six months of DLC.
Harley Quinn Story Pack:
In this story pack, which serves as a prequel to the main story of the game, Harley Quinn is sent by Penguin to break Poison Ivy out of the Blüdhaven Police Department, with cops and Batman’s former sidekick Nightwing standing in her way. As expected, Harley is brutal in her attacks, and beats cops to a pulp with wild abandon (and a baseball bat). Some gameplay elements are altered to fit with her personality more; for example, with Predator maps, she doesn’t have Silent Takedowns like Batman, instead using Loud Takedowns to defeat the cops. To beat up cops and eventually Nightwing as Harley Quinn is fun and some of things she says can be kind of funny, but this story pack suffers from the same problem of the Red Hood Story Pack: it’s too short for how much it was advertised. This is actually a bit worse, because this was something advertised from the very first trailer: “pre-order now to play as Harley Quinn.” A 45-minute prequel does not a satisfying piece of DLC make. Just as Red Hood, gamers deserve to play more maps as Joker’s crazed henchwoman, and that’s hopefully what we get in the months to come.
Scarecrow’s Nightmare PS4 Exclusive:
Scarecrow’s Nightmare Missions, are, in terms of look, an homage to the iconic Scarecrow boss battles in Arkham Asylum, as Batman races through a hellish version of Gotham City in the Batmobile while avoiding Scarecrow’s needles and battling drones while confronting a monstrous version of Scarecrow that towers over you. But the physical similarities between this DLC and the Arkham Asylum boss battles are pretty much where said similarities end. The game warns players before embarking on these missions that the three challenge maps they face are “high difficulty content,” and while that is true, it’s mostly because of the time limit set for achieving three out of three stars. Even the best Batmobile drivers will be hard pressed to race around Gotham to confront Scarecrow and beat him in four minutes or less. It’s fun to drive the Batmobile, but what would really get people excited would be updated versions of Scarecrow’s original levels, where you can’t let Scarecrow see you or you die. That in a challenge like these races would add another layer of difficulty to it. The maps are fine, and can be a lot of fun, but they could have been more. Still, as with the story packs and with six months of content on the way, there is bound to be more fun to be had with Arkham Knight, both in and out of the main story.
Batgirl: A Matter of Family Story Pack:
This DLC, developed by Arkham Origins developer WB Games Montréal, is the first time in the Arkham series where players can play as Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, in a prequel that takes place before the events of Arkham Asylum. Joker and Harley Quinn have captured several police officers, including Batgirl’s father, Commissioner Jim Gordon, in an attempt to lure in and kill Batman’s sidekicks as a Joker-style Valentine’s Day gift. Together with Robin, Batgirl has to infiltrate an abandoned amusement park and save the officers, using the environment and her hacking skills to take thugs down. Now, here’s the thing: this DLC, big shock, is pretty good, but way too short to warrant all of the hype that was given to it. At most, this story will take you an hour to complete, and the small number of collectibles and secrets scattered throughout the map will take you even less time to find. It’s fun to play as Batgirl, but she is limited in what she can do, sporting little armor and fewer gadgets than Batman. Also, though this may have been an isolated event, the frame-rate and some of the camera angles made combat difficult at times. Finally, according to several people on the Internet, this story pack messes with the Arkham series’ continuity by including the Tim Drake Robin, when it would have made more sense to include a different Robin, either Dick Grayson (later known as Nightwing) or Jason Todd (later known as Red Hood). Then again, it was developed by another studio, and they must have had their reasons for going with the Tim Drake Robin (probably so they wouldn’t have to create a Jason Todd skin for Robin).
The Batgirl DLC is decent, but, again, it’s not really worth the hype. Let’s hope that all of these story packs get some sort of add-ons in the next six months.
The first round of DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight features a lot of good stuff, but even for the first round in a six-month timetable, it doesn’t quite seem like enough. The skins are great, as always, and the Story Packs have their moments of enjoyment. But they’re just too short for you to get any sort of real feel for how the characters handle. There should be challenge maps where you can choose whatever playable character you want, instead of only having them available in short little episodes or during the main story only when Batman needs help. It seems that we just need to wait; six months is a long time, and who knows what else Rocksteady has in store for us? Only time will tell.
Batman: Arkham Knight is available now. Check out Emertainment Monthly over the next few months for more reviews of the DLC to come. Be sure to check out our review of Batman: Arkham Knight if you haven’t already, and remember: Be the Batman (and sometimes be his allies).