The rather wonderful Batman: Arkham City will, thanks to its wealth of extra-curricular content, still be spinning in many people's disc drives this week. No matter. Publishers Warner Bros. think now is the time to drop some fresh downloadable content for the singleplayer-only game.
So this week has seen the release of the Nightwing pack, which for $US7 adds a new Challenge Room character, two new Challenge Room...challenges and a bonus skin. Is it worth the money? Let's ask some guys who work for Kotaku what they think.
Luke Plunkett, who played Batman: Arkham City so much he was answering the phone with "I'M BATMAN": If you're purchasing Batman: Arkham City second-hand, and want to access the substantial Catwoman content, a download code will cost you $US10. That gets you a new character, new story missions, new Riddler challenges, all kinds of stuff.
It is, as far as downloadable content goes, a pretty good deal, even if new purchasers of the game get it for free. So it's a shame, then, that the game's second piece of downloadable content is not a good deal. In fact, it's a terrible deal.
You're really not getting much here. While Nightwing has some new tricks and moves that set him apart from Batman and Catwoman, the fact you can only use him in the Challenge Rooms limits his appeal. After clearing both of the new rooms included in the pack within 10 minutes, I was done. Bored. Itching to do something else with the character, since he has some cool gadgets like tranquilliser darts (the closest the series has come to a true firearm), but all I could do was lament the fact there was nothing else to do with the character except grind through more rooms I'd already ground through with Batman. His new gear was cool, but not cool enough to make me want to do that again.
Developers like BioWare and Bethesda have set a fairly high standard when it comes to singleplayer downloadable content, providing gamers with enough substantial, meaningful offerings to make spending more money on the game worthwhile. The Nightwing pack doesn't meet this standard. Meaning my gut feeling on whether you should pay $US7 for this is a definite No.
From Stephen Totilo, who liked when Dick Grayson was Batman in the comics Nightwing is a badass in this DLC. His animations are terrific and distinct from the moves I've used as Batman and Catwoman while crunching through Arkham City combat challenges. Is he $US7 worth of badass? That's a lot to charge for a deal that gives you a pair of new maps (in the form of a pair of unexciting rooms in Wayne Manor), two Nightwing skins and that's about it. It's a pleasure to use Nightwing's electricity-based stun moves, but without some new story missions to beef this up, it doesn't feel like enough. This one's even harder sell because Arkham City is already rich with combat and Predator challenges. More of them isn't what this still-new game most needed. No
Evan Narcisse, lifelong fan of the first guy who was Robin and someone who thinks the Dick Grayson Dark Knight was a recent high point of Bat-continuity: I haven't played the Nightwing add-in yet, but it seems that this is the kind of DLC where mileage varies greatly on the kind of player you are. If you play a game like Arkham City to experience the story, then the appeal of content that doesn't add anything to the narrative won't be terribly high. But, players who engage in a me-vs.-the game confrontation will like the idea of mastering Nightwing's new attacks and gadgets on fresh challenge maps. It's the idea of infinite perfectibility at work, as in "how much can I bend this game to my will?" I'm not really that kind of player but, given that I'm a huge Nightwing fan and quite smitten with the added depth Rocksteady's put into Arkham City's combat system, I'm giving this add-on a hearty Yes.
Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?" Our lead writer, who has played a lot of the game, decides. Other writers chime in for additional points of view.