A Look At Batman: Arkham City's Locked Catwoman Content

One of the teased elements of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City is the ability to play as the caped crusader's frenemy/love interest/ally Selina Kyle, aka the Catwoman. It wasn't clear what her involvement would be in the main storyline, other than that she would be a part of it.

But last week, when I set up the retail version of the game, I found that I had to enter a second code for a sizable download, which promised to "unlock Catwoman as a playable character in the game". As was confirmed by publisher Warner Bros. yesterday, codes for the Catwoman content are given out with new copies of the game, but held back from used purchasers until they pay $US10 to get it via a "VIP Pass".

The Catwoman content is substantial. It includes an entirely different beginning to the game, as well as four large-ish gameplay chapters throughout the story. Each one is about fifteen or 20 minutes, with a mix of exploration, stealth and combat, all of it unique. There's loads more content if you choose to really explore or mess about, especially considering that there are a whole bunch of Red Riddler trophies that only Catwoman can collect. The content is also not included on the disc -- it's downloadable, so before you play, be ready to enter a code and wait for the 253MB package to complete.

Catwoman is playable through the game's open map, and has her own unique gadgets and some fun methods for traversing the rooftops of Arkham. I put together a spoiler-free video (it shows the Catwoman, but it does not show any plot points, publisher-teased or otherwise). It's above.

Combat is fun and fast, a surprisingly different feel from combat as the Dark Knight. Catwoman has her own page of upgrades and her own gadgets, though there are only a few of them. Furthermore, she has a questline involving at least one major Batman character that doesn't appear in the main Arkham City storyline at all.

Catwoman is also playable in the game's unlockable Riddler challenge rooms, which adds a new way to play the already deep and enjoyable challenges. She has three different appearances, which I've captured and put together in an image.

The best thing about playing Catwoman is setting her sprinting, leaping and swinging about the open map. At first I wasn't sure about it, since she isn't, y'know, Batman. But once I got the hang of it, I found that there is a crazed quality to her that Batman lacks and it's really fun. She doesn't have the Dark Knight's grappling hook, using her whip to swing from building to building, and as a result players must sprint up to the edges of buildings and swan-dive off, catching purchase with her whip in mid-air. It's exhilarating and enjoyable.

It's all very good stuff, and without it the game would feel incomplete. Considering that you'll be purchasing a "pass" in place of the content itself, it sounds as though your $US10 might get you more than just the one character. I could imagine other playable characters and even mini-storylines released through the pass, possibly even at no extra charge. But that's just speculation.

Catwoman's missions are a substantial chunk of gameplay, a welcome change of pace and a fun side story. If you're buying the game used, you'll have to take the cost of the online pass into account if you want to play them. And if you're planning to play Arkham City from somewhere without an internet connection, you'll miss out entirely.

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Comments

    Well, I'll just throw my two cents in first.

    My feeling on paying just for multiplayer if I purchased a used copy is that it's bullshit, since I also associate one of those things that should be with the game.

    However, on the concept of this sort of pass, I agree with it - in part. My first exposure to this sort of scheme was with Mass Effect 2's Ceberus network, and I thought that was a good way to do it; if you bought the game used you still got the main story in it's fullness, but if you paid a bit extra you got a whole bunch of content with it. That was what sold me on that way of doing it; while they released paid content on top of it for everyone, just having the pass got you access to a lot of DLC.

    Now in this case...I'm not happy that they did all of this with Catwoman, but it makes sense from a business standpoint. And in this day and age getting connected to the internet isn't that hard; surely if you could get the game to begin with, you must have some means of getting this content even if it's a lot of extra work.

    However if it's just Catwoman this online pass accesses, I'd be disappointed. I know that we're getting the pre-order exclusives later as paid DLC, and that we'll be getting Nightwing as one as well, but I would hope that anyone who buys this online pass gets access to a lot more challenge maps and the like.

    Also, Iwould like EA to take a lot of purchases of these passes as an indication they should support the game with more DLC to reward that kind of loyalty. That would make it worth it.

    That said, anyone who is canceling their pre-orders over this is cutting off their nose to spite their face; it's completely pointless, their sales won't be a drop in the bucket for EA and it is completely meaningless in the long run.

      "And in this day and age getting connected to the internet isn’t that hard"

      Depends on where you are. In some places it is just as hard as it was in the 1990s due to poor infrastructure, etc.

        It's not just a case of getting connected as some xbox 360 dont have an internet adapter.

        What? It's called satellite internet and there's no excuse to not have a connection these days.

          Wow Satelite internet connections talk about expensive. not everyone is as loaded as you. I for one as a struggling uni student cant afford that. As for the College internet its heavily restricted meaning that many games on PC cant be used over the internet. Same goes for Xbox though it confuses me a bit why some Xbox games work and other dont. really really weird.

    I have no problem really just I planed on borrowing this from a friend who'll of no doubt used the code so I guess Ill be paying the $10.

    I guess I might boycott this game in spite

    I don't mind this type of business model for online play, but when they do it for single player content it pisses me off. We're now in the age of paying full price for half a game. Shame what greed has done to the world.

      If your paying full price as in buying the game new, unless somebody stole the code out of it. You get the content.

      If your buying used, why are you paying full price?

    I think the last sentence is the most telling point about the nature of the online pass for Arkham City.

    Up to this point online passes gave you access to a games multiplayer modes. So for people without an internet connection purchasing these games, new or second hand,the online pass was inconsequential.

    However in Arkham Asylum such people will be excluded from significant and well promoted single player content due to the lack of an internet connection.

    Now obviously if you are reading this comment that is not an issue for you. However there is still a significant number of people in developed nations that do not have internet access. Perhaps as high as 25%. This will be even higher in developing nations.

    Personally I find this example of an online pass pretty offensive and I believe they have taken the concept too far by locking out game content that appears to be an integral part of the single player experience and that has featured prominently in the hype for the game.

    Will this be a factor in my decision to buy this game? Yes it will. I really enjoyed Arkham Asylum and was intending to buy Arkham City on release but not now. I don't intend to sanction this online pass by buying the game on release.

    Perhaps I will get it in 6 or 9 months during next years gaming drought...then again maybe not.

    Good thing I checked the author before I was going to read this, Kirk hamilton could of spoiled even more of arkham city for me..

    There's something about this Catwoman's face which just doesn't sit right with me. Can't pick it.

    I am definitely against this sort of thing.

    I know there are so many who keep arguing that its better to force people to buy games first hand - more money to the developers and all that jazz...

    although the point they are making is valid, I hope everyone would just take a step back and see it in a broader perspective.

    This whole thing about buying games second hand was never a problem before! Sure, I can understand if Multiplayer is restricted but single player??

    Cmon...if people keep supporting this in a few years time DRM will be so tight and restrictive it will be suffocating... and the worst part of that is, people won't even realise they are being ripped off.

    I would actually respect this kind of Pass more if I didn't have to download a massive file for what's supposed to be more or less an inconsequential part of the game. Put the content on the disc, and let me download the key to unlock it. Done. Easy.

    People who buy used can expect to be used. Pay your proper respects to the developer by paying full price.

    The internet situation I am sympathetic too. It is true that not everyone can afford to have internet, especially when you're expected to download such massive files for a few cutscenes and some gameplay reskins and tweaks. But that's the way the world is. You wanna blame someone? Blame the people who by used. Their ignorant, self-important and entitled attitudes are what got us here.

    One last thing for those that are complaining that they aren't getting the "full" game:

    I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. But that hasn't stopped me from being a massive fan of the movies. 'nuff said.

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