Batgirl & Harley Quinn DLC: Actually Pretty Good
Look, I know that Harley Quinn DLC back in the day wasn’t the post-coital ball cradle we well wanted after the immensely satisfying coitus that is Batman: Arkham City. The story floundered in the wake of Paul Dini’s absence, and the entire level is training you to use Robin in a puzzle-solving way but it’s like a tutorial without an actual game attached, as there’s no chance for these lessons to get put to use.
But when reviewers say that the new Harley Quinn and Batgirl DLC’s for Rocksteady’s near-perfect Batman: Arkham Knight are comparable or even worse, they’re just wrong. When my friend and I sat down to play these downloadable delectables, we couldn’t believe this was the same content that so many reviewers online had airily dismissed. Having completed the humorous Harley Quinn DLC and halfway through Batgirl’s, I turned to my friend and said, “They’re just wrong!” And he said, “You should go complain on the Internet about it,” and I said, “I actually am part-owner of a web-site where I can do just that!”
Arkham Knight‘s Harley Quinn offering is too short but quality while it lasts. We had a blast trying out her gadgets, sighed somberly over the writing on the walls that appears in Harley’s version of detective mode, and gasped when we heard the voice of…well, this probably doesn’t even qualify as a spoiler, but let’s just say there’s another character in here briefly that may surprise you. There’s a story written all over about Harley in this content that those paid to barrel through DLC like an obstacle course at boot camp just aren’t going to take the seconds to appreciate. Just because there aren’t cutscenes stopping you and turning your head in a direction doesn’t meant the story isn’t there.
The best example of this is Batgirl’s DLC, which contains hidden clues as to how Joker came to acquire his deadly amusement park. It’s a twisted little tale which many reviewers seem to have missed entirely. Meanwhile, the story is a fascinating inversal of Alan Moore’s famous graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke. Famous for devastating Barbara Gordon’s life without even letting her throw a batarang, this content revisits the gist of that story with Batgirl, rather than her more male counterpart, to be the one to save her dad from the Joker’s scheme. So assuming certain hallucinations in Arkham Knight‘s main game were somewhat creative with reality, the comic fan is left wondering if they’re not playing the mission that leads to Barbara Gordon’s paralysis. When Joker pulls out his gun at the mission’s end…
And while I’m on the subject of reviewers and Arkham Knight, what is reviewers’ problem with the Batmobile? Many reviews of the main game I’ve read have sniffed at the “slippery” Batmobile. Dan Stapleton at IGN actually liked the Batmobile but couldn’t resist griping that its Battle mode “thematically clashes with everything Batman stands for.” Never mind that in one of the greatest bat-comics of all time, The Dark Knight Returns, the big B uses rubber bullets in his riot-ready vehicle. It’s the inspiration for the tank-like tumbler Batmobile in Batman Begins. It’s a Batmobile for a Batman at war, one in line with his principled stance on violence, and one which allows for fun, 80’s arcade, Asteroids-style street battles.
Look guys, I know it’s tough to find things to put in the negative column in Arkham Knight game. It’s like a Batman fan wished for his ideal Bat-game from an especially industrious genie. But your model for reviews has to allow you to say, when it happens, “everything is turning out okay.”