From the Shadow of the Bat
The first extended member of the Bat-Family in terms of crime fighters, Robin, the Boy Wonder, has been a comic staple for over 70 years, first appearing in 1940’s Detective Comics #38. The original lad who took that mantle though, Dick Grayson, has gone through many changes that fans of the DC Universe have been enjoying now for the past 25 years. In that time, he has worn the Batman mantle twice, but spent most of that time as his own crime fighter, ever evolving outside of Batman’s shadow, as Nightwing.
So, with Batman: Arkham City featuring Catwoman and Robin as playable challenge map characters, it would only make sense that the next member of the Bat-family to be featured would be the original sidekick for the Caped Crusader in the form of Grayson. But is he worth the $7 DLC price-tag (560 Microsoft Points) he comes with or should he simply retreat back to the shadows?
In the DLC, you get a pair of Nightwing costumes, one imagined for the Arkham City universe that features his better known black and blue look (the blue has since been changed to red in his most recent incarnation in the comics) and another based off his brief appearances in the last season of Batman: The Animated Series. You also get a pair of challenge maps, Main Hall and Wayne Manor, with one serving as a brawler challenge and the other serving as a stealth challenge. You also get the ability to use Nightwing in any other maps that come with the game or that you may have downloaded otherwise.
But, unfortunately, that’s it. Rocksteady didn’t even bother to record a voice over for the character so the load screen for each map is just Nightwing standing there, looking pretty ragged for a character who didn’t even make it into Arkham City’s story. At least Robin makes a brief appearance in the actual campaign. Not to mention that Dick Grayson, known for his quips during battle is dead silent because Rocksteady cut a corner with no voice actor there and yet Batman, who NEVER talks, starts every challenge map with a taunt. Very out of character for both Batman and Nightwing and a questionable move by the Rocksteady folks if you ask me.
Nightwing does handle solidly, yet still differently, when compared to the other characters in the game though. To make him feel special in a fight, Rocksteady made sure to focus a lot on his now signature Escrima Sticks that Dick mastered when he first took on the Nightwing mantle and became protector of Bludhaven as well as giving him a heavy MMA feel in terms of his takedowns like arm-bar submissions. He also has gadgets similar to Batman like the grappling hook and line launcher and some unique gadgets of his own, like a wrist mounted tranquilizer gun that stuns enemies on the brawler maps and knocks them out cold in the stealth maps. The tranquilizer gun only holds three shots for the entire stealth map though and doesn’t recharge, otherwise it would be too easy to work your way past the six thugs you have to take out. The Escrima Sticks have also been modified for the game so that they can act like the stun batons Batman faces in later parts of Arkham City. This gives him some interesting special moves with a lot of range as he can channel the electricity by crossing the sticks and stunning foes.
Despite his smooth handling though, the challenge maps are such a secondary feature to the game for me that to charge $7 for a character you don’t even see in the campaign is really disappointing. Now, if Nightwing had been given his own campaign missions or even could be used in the campaign, I think we’d have a different story on our hands. Or if the DLC was really cheap like one or two dollars. But the same goes for the Robin DLC that I got with the game; the campaign is the bread and butter of Batman: Arkham City and so something that adds nothing to that aspect of the game in any way just seems unnecessary to me, especially at the price that this content is listed as. And so unless you are a huge fan of the challenge maps and doing them over and over again, plus a huge fan of Batman’s history, then I really think overall that the Nightwing DLC for Batman: Arkham City is mediocre at best and unnecessary at worst considering its price tag.
SUMMARY: As wonderful and enthralling as Batman: Arkham City is, paying $7 for the two challenge maps and costumes in the Nightwing DLC is a rip-off.
- THE GOOD: Another unique fighting style to use in the Arkham City challenge maps
- THE BAD: Only two extra maps and no voice acting for the character
- THE UGLY: Dick Grayson’s ragged haircut
Batman: Arkham City: Nightwing DLC is available on XBLA, PSN, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on the XBLA.