Ever seen a clown cry?
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t finished Batman: Arkham City, major plot spoilers follow.
After the amazing ending of Batman: Arkham City, fans everywhere were left wondering just what would happen now in the dark, gritty, urban nightmare the boys at Rocksteady had cooked up—and had comic fanboys ranting and raving for months. Well, with the new Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC, players will get a little more light shed on the endgame situation as they once again don the cape and cowl of the Caped Crusader.
Set several days after the end of the main game, Harley Quinn’s Revenge revolves around the Joker’s No. 1 girl looking for vengeance on the man she blames for slaughtering her poor ‘Mistah J’: the Batman. Using the GCPD as bait, Harley hunkers down in the Joker’s hideout from the main game—the Sionis Steel Mill—gives it a feminine flair, and dares Batman to rescue the Gotham pigs from the fryer. Things don’t quite go according to plan for the Dark Knight, though, and Harley manages to get the jump on Bats, leaving it up to Robin to rescue Batman, bring down Harley, and shut down the last villainous bastion of Arkham City once and for all.
Harley Quinn’s Revenge succeeds in doing a lot of things right, and fans of the main Arkham City campaign will immediately be able to jump right in. The DLC maintains the tone and pacing of the main game very well and gives everything a special Harley flair, as you see her thugs dressed in garb to match her traditional red-and-black playing-card jumpsuit; meanwhile, Harley gives herself a slight redesign by dyeing her hair black and donning a widow’s mourning veil.
The story also gives a bit of closure to Harley as a character. Though the DLC’s only two to three hours in length, it does a great job of providing her motivation—and possible future motivation—as well as confirming that the Joker, at least for now, has indeed passed on. It also gives an interesting look at how the Joker’s death is actually affecting Batman—and, in turn, the rest of the Bat-family, planting seeds for some interesting future plotlines.
Plus, Harley Quinn’s Revenge gives Batfans what they’ve wanted for a while—and that’s some gameplay with Robin. In fact, half the DLC sees you controlling the Boy Wonder, and he definitely feels much different than Batman. Aside from a different array of gadgets, Robin’s also a lot quicker than the Caped Crusader, but he also needs to land more hits to take down foes. His bo staff definitely helps even the odds when it comes to ranged attacks, and his bullet shield (which I’d like to think is a small homage to the Adam West/Burt Ward Bullet Shield) provides a novel aspect to working past armed thugs.
The biggest problem with this DLC, though—and it’s most evident when playing as Robin—is the lack of an option to go back out into the glorious open world which most of the main game took place in. The entire DLC is set in and around the Sionis Steel Mill, and you have almost no opportunities to go back and explore, making it feel very linear—and like a completely separate entity from Arkham City. I would’ve loved to have seen some objectives scattered about the city, just to see what Arkham looks like a week after the endgame chaos, but instead, you’re just moving through a small dungeon and typically have to go back over the same areas, as the story forces you to switch back and forth between Batman and Robin as the latter follows the former’s trail.
Still, Harley Quinn’s Revenge does a great job of bringing players back into the universe of Rocksteady’s Batman. The story and characters are just as compelling as before, the combat’s still amazingly tight, and the limited view of the world you get still looks and feels great. The only problem really lies within the linearity of the story, which makes you feel like you’ve taken a step backward and are playing a level from Arkham Asylum instead of Arkham City. Despite this, Batman fans of all shapes and sizes should get this DLC—and revel in Harley’s short time in the spotlight as the main villainess.
SUMMARY: Harley Quinn’s Revenge is limited in scope compared to the main campaign, but fans of Arkham City should still jump at the chance to play this DLC, which adds two to three hours of original gameplay in Rocksteady’s gorgeously gothic world.
- THE GOOD: Combat and story are just as tight as if they shipped with the main game.
- THE BAD: Lacks the open-world feel of Arkham City.
- THE UGLY: Harley dying her hair black while mourning.
Batman: Arkham City—Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.