Developers: Rocksteady Studios
Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Plot: After the death of her beloved Joker, Harley Quinn cordons off a chunk of Arkham City and holds a siege against the cops and Batman.
There’s still some fun to be had with Harley Quinn’s Revenge, even if it wasn’t exactly the experience we expected.
Arkham’s problem is that the gameplay works best, when the accelerator is firmly pressed to the ground. You play Batman and right from the start, we want problems thrown at us. We want a villain to burst onto the scene and the action to not stop, until that villain is thrown into a prison. Arkham has never not done that, which is brilliant, but this DLC highlights how quickly an Arkham game is consumed. Sadly, Harley Quinn’s Revenge never claimed to be anything more than what it is: a small level, where we get to see a small continuation of what happened after the death of the Joker. However, with the style of the game, it feels over before it has really begun and that is what makes the DLC a little bit of a let-down, when you put down the controller at the end of the level.
Story-wise, we learn nothing too new. The cliffhanger of Arkham City rocked gamers everywhere, as we struggled to come to terms with the concept that the greatest villain in comic book history was killed off. The true shock of the moment was Batman’s reaction. Few missed the Cain and Abel comparison between the Batman and the Joker. Batman finished the game, looking shell-shocked and distraught. Knowing the darkness buried within Bruce Wayne, that looked interesting to explore. However, while the game references it, we never really dissect this new Batman. I understand that as some players will be unable to access the internet, and therefore this DLC, meaning that the story couldn’t be advanced so much that when Arkham Knight starts up those players will be totally lost, but still… I wanted something. More than Batman turning his back on Gordon and the Robin. Harley Quinn has more characterisation here.
The main difference here is Robin becoming a playable character. One of City’s finer points was a brief cameo from Robin. He looked awesome, something newer Batman fans never expected to see from the Boy Wonder. Potential blossomed and while we never saw what Robin could do, we still were happy with what we got. This DLC allows us to give this revamped Robin for a test drive, and he has still got the moves. One of the most fun elements of Harley Quinn’s Revenge is checking out the gadgets that Robin has up his sleeves. After a quick tutorial of what Robin can and can’t do compared to the Batman, we are off and having fun taking down thugs in new and exciting ways. However, the DLC hits its next big flaw: where is Batman? We get to play him, yes, but he is easily pushed aside for Robin. Robin is fun to play and I appreciate the change in pace, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Batman. Certain fights are frustrating, because the bit you are stuck on could be easily solved, if you had access to some of Batman’s techniques. We came here for Batman, so when we get minimal Batman, it is easy to see why frustration is so common with critics of this DLC.
This leaves Harley Quinn as the DLC’s saving grace. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love Harley Quinn to pieces. She is quickly turning into one of the more treasured villains in the franchise, recently getting her own comic book series. Here, she is amazing, going full Harley. The art team have a field day, imagining how Harley’s lair would look. Joker’s goons have a new outfit, the warehouse she resides in is plastered with Joker memorabilia and Easter Eggs hide in every corner of the game. Visually, I cannot criticise Harley Quinn’s Revenge. The final boss fight is also great. Harley Quinn didn’t get a fair fight in Asylum, so it is refreshing to see her take on Robin in her own little fight scene. It is cleverly done. Harley wouldn’t be too much of a contest in a solo fight, so she is one of several armed thugs. She is tougher to knock down and is armed with a devastating weapon. The trick is getting through the ranks of her guards and taking her from behind, several times. It is a nice little fight and the highlight of the DLC.
Final Verdict: Far too short and there isn’t enough Batman for my liking. However, it serves as an extension of City, which, in fairness, is a tough act to follow.