Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC Review
In Harley Quinn's Revenge, The Joke Is On You
Platform: Xbox 360 / Playstation 3
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
When I first heard that Harley was getting her very own Arkham City DLC, I was besides myself with excitement. It's no secret that I have an enormous amount of love for the psychopathic little trickster and I revelled in the idea of her finally getting some time to bathe in the the spotlight. Which is why it makes it even more painful for me to say that sadly, I did not enjoy this DLC at all.
Allow me to firstly begin with some back-story to my grievances.
Harley Quinn's Revenge is set two weeks after the end of the Batman Arkham City game and atmosphere wise everything feel very familiar right from the get go. Through communications from Oracle, we find out: 1. Harley has now taken over The Joker's old hideout. 2. Batman goes to find out what's up, only to get taken hostage. 3. He has been missing for 2 days and this prompts Robin to take action and try to save the caped crusader. So we start the game as the Boy Wonder, flash back to Batman to see what went down and back and forth between the two characters as the story progresses.
This may be Arkham City's second downloadable story driven DLC but don't get too excited, as Harley Quinn's Revenge heavily lacks the polish and narrative that graced the original Catwoman content. In fact, there's every likelihood you'll come out of this 2 hour toil with no real meaningful enrichment of the storyline. There's one particular Easter egg within this DLC that I'm pretty sure was simply put in to infuriate and confuse fans and can be argued to actually retract from the narrative that was laid out in the original game. You quickly find that the structure of the DLC is lacking and is based off nothing more than moving from one challenge room to another and fighting baddies with titbits of storyline sprinkled in here and there. Considering how the Catwoman DLC was so elegantly interwoven with the original story of Arkham City, this is a massive disappointment. Comparatively, Harley Quinn's Revenge is just plain clunky when it comes to dishing out the extremely small bits of story that it does contain.
The gameplay itself is nearly exactly the same as in Arkham City, as it centres around the free-flow combat system which relies heavily upon well-timed counter attacks and proper use of gadgets. The only twist that this DLC offers up in the gameplay department, is through Robin who breathes a tiny bit of life into an experience that is slowly becoming stale. This is the first time Robin is available as a fully playable character in a story setting however and although many of his moves are the same as what's used in the downloadable challenge maps, (his staff turning into a nifty shield to dodge bullets, executing a zip kick by grappling into people etc.) it's still pretty cool to finally have the opportunity to truly see his full potential as a character, doing all the things we take for granted when playing as Batman.
The plot is largely unimaginative with no real surprises and serves as little more than a chance to see Harley in a new costume. We see the faint glimmer of grief in Batman and a genuine concern for his mental health and well-being after the events of the last game but nothing really comes from that either. This could have been a golden opportunity to build upon the games fantastic story arc and give a new perspective to things but yet again, the player is left high and dry, yearning for more of what we have come to expect from Rocksteady.
Despite supposedly being what looks like an open environment in the early stages of the DLC, the developers have actually cut off the players access to most of the map - so don't expect to be zipping around for any extra Riddler trophies during your play through either. I assume this is due to the fact that it's just a one-off story, with your sole purpose being hunting down Harley in the steel mill. However I can't help but feel that the developers should have known that we gamers are a fickle bunch who don't like when content is restricted in such ways for essentially no reason.
If you wish to experience Harley Quinn's Revenge for yourself, it'll cost you a pretty steep 800 Microsoft points, which I feel is far too much for an experience that will last you 2 hours at most. Perhaps Rocksteady have just temporarily lost their way on this particular piece of content and they are hopefully saving all the good stuff for the next instalment of the Arkham games. Regardless of the flaws, making this DLC was still a bold move and I'm grateful it was released if only to see Harley do her thing in a lead role. I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone shelling out the points to buy this but if you're not a hardcore fan, it's at least worth watching if a friend has already made the purchase. But even with that said, nothing will sway me from saving a substantial amount of money to get Harley's new black and red ensemble made exactly right for me just so I can have a rocking cosplay costume to wear at future comic cons. Unfortunately, Harley's fantastic fashion sense is about the only great thing I can take away from this disappointing gaming experience.
Self-confessed Batman freak, vampire enthusiast & Harley Quinn obsessed!
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