With the game under wraps completely and a tiny break in my playing schedule, I decided to fire up Batman: Arkham Knight last night specifically to play the Harley Quinn DLC. I knew it was a prequel affair that tasked Joker’s leading lady with rescuing Poison Ivy from the Blüdhaven police department. That was the extent of my knowledge.
Man, what a waste of time this thing was.
I don’t just mean a waste of the players’ time. No, it wasn’t worth my personal time for the play through or the silly trophy. That’s part of my meaning there. I also mean that this pre-order DLC was a waste of the developers’ time. Was it made by Rocksteady? I have no idea. The Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC coming next week to Season Pass holders (and the week after for other folks) is being done by WB Montreal.
I know this: this prequel sucks. Straight up. From top to bottom, it simply isn’t fun. It feels like a half-baked idea that the team decided to scrap, until some exec figured it’d be a good thing to hand gamers for pre-ordering the game. “Here,” they say, “pre-order Batman: Arkham Knight for what essentially amounts to a halfway finished deleted scene.”
All told, Harley Quinn’s adventure took me about 20 minutes to complete. From memory, I’m counting, let’s see, five separate encounters with police officers. Those combat situations lasted around two or three minutes a piece. They were nothing more than fighting until I could unleash Harley’s mayhem mechanic. This makes her stronger, but it’s earned through play. I only earned it twice.
The fights themselves involved cops with guns, nothing at all or shields. Harley herself is poorly animated, and her walking and sneaking modes feel downright terrible. There are two “stealth” segments, all told. Harley isn’t stealth, though. Her attacks are all loud, and they draw attention. There’s also no score for fights, so there’s no reason to be quiet, fast or efficient.
Then there’s the boss fight. What a mess this is. You battle Nightwing here, which I suppose is cool. He has his sticks, except they’ve been charged with electricity. You’re only move is to jump over him and land one or two punches on his back. Repeat until his health bar dwindles down while countering the constantly respawning threesomes of police officers.
Let Poison Ivy out, enjoy the abrupt cutscene, collect your trophy or achievement and get out.
Holy crap, it’s bad.
This DLC will inevitably be sold down the line as an add-on or an extra in the Game of the Year version. Don’t make your purchase based on that. In fact, don’t let DLCs like this one stand as a reason to pre-order a game ever again.
Warner Bros. should absolutely be criticized for the amount of exclusive content it has managed to lock players out of with the launch of Batman: Arkham Knight. The good news? At least those who don’t have this Harley Quinn DLC won’t be embarrassed by its presence.