Review: Harley Quinn’s Revenge
I’m tempted to give this mini-game a 5 out of 5 because they let you play as Robin, but I think I’ll be a little bit more professional. Harley Quinn’s Revenge is the brand new epilogue DLC for that exceptional game Batman: Arkham City, which came out last October. I gave the main game a 5 out of 5 because it was one hell of an awesome game. Arkham City was phenomenal, a perfect sequel that gave us a bigger and more badass game than the first. Everything was improved, from the characters, to the gameplay to the game world.
That the developers, Rocksteady, would come along all these months later and give us one final helping of Arkham goodness defines the very reason why modern games should have DLC. That Harley Quinn’s Revenge isn’t as groundbreaking or as amazing as Arkham City itself does not speak ill of the effort.
Game rating: 3/5: Alright.
The magic and excitement of Arkham City is gone, sad to say. The high octane energy I felt when it first came out has simply faded away, replaced by other games. So stepping back into this world, I was immediately reminded how sloppy and out-of-practice I’ve become. The signature Arkham gameplay is fun to master, but more than a little frustrating when you have to remind yourself how it works on the fly. Harley Quinn’s Revenge brings very little new to the table. It’s essentially just a long-lost final chapter to the main game, wrapping up a loose end in the story that nobody was particularly worried about wrapping up. It’s a suitable distraction and reminder of how much fun this game series really is.
And holy crap, guys, they let you play as Robin in story mode! It’s a move so brilliant that I’m still at a loss that Rocksteady would have the guts to make it! I respect them even more now!
There are only two reasons to spend the $10 to purchase Harley Quinn’s Revenge: 1.) You’re that desperate for anything new from the Arkham series, and 2.) Robin. While it’s more than possible that some people out there are still, so many months later, playing Batman: Arkham City on a regular basis, I am not one of them. I beat the game, downloaded the Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing DLC packs and then moved on, like I do most games. I’m eagerly anticipating the third game, but I’m in no rush.
Harley Quinn’s Revenge doesn’t offer anything new in terms of gameplay. The fighting is the same, the stealth missions are the same and the level is the same, since all we do is return to the same steel mill that Joker used for a hideout in Arkham City. What little game there is outside the steel mill is still just the surrounding area. So no new maps.The bad guys are just more henchmen – except for the awesome final fight – and the gadgets are still the same gadgets.
There is nothing new and exciting in terms of gameplay. Just more of the same.
And after so many months, I was definitely out of practice on the gameplay. It took me awhile to get back into the rhythm of the Arkham-style fighting. And I died several times when my sneakiness wasn’t up to par. That was frustrating at first. But by the end of the roughly two-hour DLC, I was back to getting 30+ combos. But again, the sheen of excitement had worn off the badassery. It was fun, but not very exciting.
So while the gameplay is nothing impressive, does the story of Harley Quinn’s Revenge hold up? Whereas previous DLCs were just challenge maps and some new characters for those challenge maps, this game is an actual part of the Arkham City story. We get cut scenes, new dialogue and you play as part of the actual level, instead of just a single challenge map. This is a fully playable epilogue, tying up the loose end that was Harley Quinn from the end of Arkahm City – not that she was much of a loose end.
Nothing is said about Harley’s baby – other than a brief visual gag of the dummy Scarface dressed up like the Joker and sitting in a crib – but she is in mourning following the Joker’s death. Unfortunately, that means we get little more from Harley than just her pouting that Joker is dead and so she’ll get her revenge on Batman. Her character never really advances beyond that. Plus her new look, with all the black, is not nearly as interesting as any of her other outfits. However, her henchmen are a hoot. Rocksteady really upped the henchman idle chatter that Batman and Robin can listen to before busting a few skulls.
Alright, I’ve put it off long enough. That’s right folks, you can play as Robin. The absolute best part of this DLC is that the game developers made Robin a big part of the story!
Frequent readers of my blog will know that I am a huge Robin fan, and getting to play as the Boy Wonder in actual storymode was worth the cost of admission! Robin is the reason to buy this DLC.
Rocksteady went above and beyond when it came to redesigning Robin for their Arkham series. He’d darker, more badass and more adult than most other Robins. No pixie boots here, people. Robin’s definitely a bit friendlier than Batman too, and even prone to joking around with Barbara Gordon, who makes a slight cameo appearance over the communicator. So it’s fun watching Robin’s few, brief cut scenes, where he’s a at least a little bit cheerier than Batman. But just being Robin is the real selling point for me. Sure he controls the same way as Batman (with a few unique gadgets), but just knowing that I’m playing as my favorite character is a real boost in the excitement level. Plus Robin has his own unique set of fighting and take down animations, which incorporate his bo staff.
I can’t tell you how glad I am that Rocksteady decided to put Robin in a starring role in this DLC. It would have been so easy not to bother, and simply have Batman or Catwoman continue on as the only playable characters. That’s what I would have expected and boring. But they are apparently very proud of their Robin redesign and wanted to show it off, and for that I am floating on a Cloud 9 of geeky excitement!
Though just like that Robin cut-scene from Arkham City, Batman is still a complete jerk to his sidekick. When dealing with everyone else, Batman seems nice and caring. But the moment Robin steps in to lend a hand or save his mentor’s life, Batman turns into a total sour puss and jerkass. I want to see some nice Dynamic Duo action!
Anyway, Harley Quinn’s Revenge is definitely worth a purchase if, like me, you long to play as Robin. That Rocksteady didn’t unlock Robin for free roam around the entire Arkham City map is a load of garbage, but maybe the programming is harder than I think. Robin’s gameplay and fighting style are fun, and he’s a welcome change of pace in terms of protagonist. There are definitely some Batman levels to the game, so don’t think you only get to play as Robin. But considering Batman’s the same as he used to be, I consider Robin to be the real draw of this DLC.
And he definitely lives up to the hype.