Following the release of Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady have been busy expanding the game with DLC, from additional skins to story packs which flesh out certain characters and all are set before the events of Arkham Knight. As mentioned in my review of the main game, I’m a massive Batman fan, so thought I’d look into the story packs.
The first pack I played was the Harley Quinn story pack. Quinn’s story focuses on breaking her BFF Poison Ivy from Blüdhaven PD, under supervision of The Penguin. The story is relatively short, and doesn’t have any cut scenes. You get a couple of melee battles and predator sequences for you money.
Quinn uses acrobatics rather than a grappling hook to reach vantage points during the predator sequences, and being Harley, has loud take-downs rather than silent take-downs. These inevitably bring Blüdhaven’s finest straight to wherever Quinn has taken the poor soul down. Harley has a detective vision of sorts, but with the imagined maniacal scribbling of The Joker on every surface, which is a little distracting.
The former Dr. Quinzell also has her own bag of tricks, similar to Batman’s utility belt; the only one I made use of was a Jack-In-A-Box bomb filled with Joker toxin. They work on a delay mechanism, allowing you to place it somewhere for the cops to find it, then detonate it when they get close enough.
For the melee battles, Quinn can build up a chain before unleashing her anger in mayhem mode. This is limited and I only managed to build it up twice during the entire duration.
The Harley Quinn story pack concludes with a showdown with Blüdhaven’s own protector Nightwing, and the remaining personnel that make up the police department, who stand between Harley and Ivy. The battle isn’t too hard, just a case of avoiding Nightwing’s electrical batons and pummelling him before he has time to recover. Overall I found the pack a little too short and didn’t like some of the adjusted mechanics. I got this pack as part of a special edition of Arkham Knight and to be honest I’m glad I didn’t pay extra for it as I was disappointed with it.
The next pack I played was the Red Hood story pack. Red Hood’s pack involves taking down Black Mask and is roughly the same length as the Harley Quinn pack, but does have a concluding cut scene. Again the story has both melee and predator sequences, although Red Hood’s detective vision is more like Batman’s. The environment for the predator sequence is larger than Harley’s and as Red Hood has a similar utility Belt to the bat, can grapple/rappel with ease.
Takedowns are also much easier with Red Hood, although his moral compass is a little off compared to The Dark Knight, with Hood executing enemies rather than subduing them. The sound of gunfire brings goons to the location faster than Batman’s stealth takedowns, which is worth bearing in mind whilst strategising to take down the henchmen.
As with the Harley pack, the story ends with a boss battle against Black Mask and his henchmen. Once again, it’s a case of sticking to a pattern, then getting your licks in on the boss whilst he’s vulnerable. I enjoyed this pack more than the Quinn pack, but I think that’s because Red Hood is much more similar to Batman. Again this pack came as free DLC with Arkham Knight, but I would have paid to play it, as long as it were the right price – and by right I mean low.
The last pack I played was the Matter Of Family pack, featuring Batgirl – Barbara Gordon before she was paralysed by The Joker, and Robin; and is set before the events of the main Arkham series. The plot is more involving, Commissioner Gordon and a group of Gotham PD have been kidnapped by The Joker and Harley Quinn and are being held hostage in an abandoned theme park built on an offshore oil rig. This pack also has bonafide Arkham Knight-quality cut scenes, seamlessly blending into the gameplay.
The environment is much larger than the other two packs and again focuses on melee fights and predator missions to rescue the hostages, along with a little investigation of the area. Batgirl and Robin team up for some of the fights, making use of both characters rather than Robin popping up only for the cut scenes. As Batgirl is renowned for her tech know how, her predator sequences lean towards using the remote hacking device to down The Joker’s thugs.
The main battle pits Batgirl and The Boy Wonder against The Clown Prince Of Crime and Harley, along with the obligatory thugs. As with the other packs, focus on the bosses and expose their weak points then beat the living daylights out of them. After the battle you’re dropped back into the park, the same as the main game (if you didn’t complete the side missions and Riddler trophies before the final fight).
This is the only pack I paid for, and at just over a fiver, I thought it was value for money. As I’ve mentioned this is the largest of the three packs and felt the most like playing the main game.
In conclusion, unless you are a hardcore Batman fan, give the Harley Quinn pack a miss. The Red Hood pack is worth a look if you enjoy predator sequences and the Batgirl pack is definitely worth investing in, as you do get a lot of bang for your buck.
You can read our Batman: Arkham Knight review here
If you havn’t already bought Batman: Arkham Knight, you can get it for the PC here