When the Batman: Arkham Knight season pass was announced, it was immediately met with criticism from the community due to the high price tag and the significant lack of content disclosure. However Rocksteady and WB Games quickly recovered and decided to share an overview of what season pass holders would be able to expect, included in that was the reveal of Batgirl: A Matter of Family.
In the Arkham franchise, aside from Origins, We’ve never had an opportunity to see Barbara as she was before the events that unfolded in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, when she was paralyzed from the waist down by the Joker. Somewhere in between the Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum continuity there existed a time when Barbara Gordon was Batgirl. This is why I was excited, the idea that we’d finally get an opportunity to see Barbara’s strength and determination portrayed in a different light within the Arkhamverse.
However this is the 3rd piece of DLC we’ve seen for Batman: Arkham Knight that has been developed by the WB Games Montreal team, this is also the last piece of DLC that they’ll be developing for this game. Have they saved the best for last or will Batgirl: A Matter of Family fall in line with the rest of the DLC they’ve produced thus far?
If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to check it out, here it is in action.
The character design for Batgirl is perfect, Rocksteady has done another great job taking an iconic DC character and effortlessly bringing her into their Arkham Universe. Of course Batgirl wasn’t the only character that made an appearance in this DLC, we also have a chance to check out; Commissioner Gordon, Robin, Harley Quinn, and the Joker. Even though we’ve seen all of these characters before, they all looked great and felt as if they belonged in this world. I especially loved the fact that it’s the first time we’re seeing Harley sporting her traditional red and black jester costume.
As far as the rest of the Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC… One thing has been certain all along, when you have access to Rocksteady’s development tools you’re able to create truly great looking content. Leave it to Gotham to convert a desolate oil rig into a family friendly amusement park, but it looked as if it was right at home with the rest of the Arkham franchise.
In Batgirl: A Matter of Family we find that the Joker has taken Commissioner Gordon and other members of the GCPD hostage and taken them to Seagate Amusement Park, while a determined Barbara Gordon will do whatever it takes to rescue her father. However as the time is of the essence, she enlists the help of Robin to help her get the job done as quickly as possible.
Compared to the Harley Quinn and Red Hood Story Packs that WB Games Montreal created for Batman: Arkham Knight, this one definitely offers a lot more story telling than we’ve seen so far. However there isn’t a lot of depth to the story, it’s pretty straightforward when you break it down as there aren’t any surprising moments or twists and turns. I would’ve loved it if more time had been spent on the storyline, little touches could’ve gone a long way to add additional layers to the storytelling.
WB Games delivered something that they’ve definitely been missing from their previously released Arkham Knight content, an open world map that allows you the freedom to take on the Joker’s goons or progress the story as you see fit. The team paid a lot of attention to the details and tried to maximize the layout of the oil rig to add some variability. Unfortunately the downside to choosing this setting as being the sole location for this story is it makes for an incredibly small map as it’s contained within the perimeter of the platform, which limits a lot of the great aspects of an open world environment. Even though you couldn’t cover a lot of distance within the map, the overall open world feel would’ve been more successful had they fully explored the depths in which you could go on the oil platform. There were very few interior areas that could be explored, considering that so much of an oil rig is contained within itself. This definitely felt like a miss in execution, they could’ve made the overall experience that much more dynamic had they fully realized the environment. This would be opened up a few more places that they could’ve hidden hostages to be rescued or bombs to be diffused. At the very least it would’ve allowed us to spend more time on this world.
As we all know Barbara Gordon has always been the tech savvy member of the team, this was definitely taken into consideration during the development of this DLC. There are a variety of takedowns and intimidation/ fear tactics that can be employed as a result of Batgirl’s advanced hacking abilities, some of which would even leave Batman in awe. This definitely adds an additional layer to Batgirl’s gameplay, however you don’t need to rely on these tactics if you’d rather go at the Joker head on. She has the skills to be a truly physical force within the game and in the most overwhelming of moments we find another opportunity to employ the dual play feature, as you team up with Robin.
This might not matter to everyone, but it’ll certainly matter to most… In terms of story duration, this falls in line with the other DLC that WB Games has developed for Batman: Arkham Knight. You can complete the entire storyline mission in an hour, it’ll take you less time if you don’t take any detours or stop to take it to the Joker’s goons.
I absolutely love the cinematics at the end of the story, you get a phenomenal moment with the Joker and Harley Quinn that fits their characters beautifully.
Playing Batgirl: A Matter of Family looks and feels like it belongs within the Arkham franchise, which isn’t a bad thing at all. However I really would’ve loved it if there was more depth/ complexity to the overall story, as is you’re left wanting more by the time you reach the end of it. If you’ve already purchased the Batman: Arkham Knight season pass, then there really isn’t any reason not to download this DLC and start playing. However if you’re looking to spend $6.99 to buy it, you’d better be a real fan of Batgirl because there isn’t enough content contained within it to make that price for me. It’s definitely worth playing, but without the season pass it’s only worth buying on sale. I’d say that there’s a reason that WB Games has been very vocal that this is going to be their last DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, they haven’t been able to live up to the standards of the fans.