Arkham Knight's Harley Quinn DLC Is Terrible

Arkham Knight's Harley Quinn DLC Is Terrible

Harley Quinn's one of the most popular new Batman characters to appear in the last few years. She's finally playable in Arkham Knight, starring in what serves as a prequel to the story in the main game. But, despite being a free add-on, the story pack starring the Joker's sometime girlfriend isn't worth the time it takes to download.

There's been some confusion as to how exactly to get the DLC, which was offered as a pre-order incentive before the game's release. For some console owners, there's a download code right in the game box but some PC users who pre-ordered still aren't sure how to access the extra content. Confused about what you may or not be missing? Keep reading.

Simply put, the story pack that makes Harley Quinn playable is short, shallow and shrill. The entire thing can be blown through in about 30 minutes. Worse still, it underscores all the worst character traits that have been slathered on Harley Quinn since her cartoon introduction years ago. Here, she's on a Scarecrow-commanded mission to break out Poison Ivy from the jail of neighbouring city Bludhaven, so the plant-loving villainess can help the fearmonger with his big Kill-Batman plan.

From a gameplay perspective, the Harley Quinn spotlight is bare bones. Stealth isn't an option in the short DLC offering, which means that it's pretty much just moving through the environment, beating down the cops and blowing up the walls that stand between her and Ivy. She fights in much the same way as other characters have in the series, bouncing from opponent to opponent in acrobatic free-for-alls.

Arkham Knight's Harley Quinn DLC Is Terrible

The gadgets at her disposal -- pellets filled with non-lethal laughing gas and a Jack-in-the-box that detonates -- act like the smoke bombs and explosive gel in Batman's utility belt. Likewise for Harley's Psychosis Mode, which stands in for Detective Vision. The character does get a unique Mayhem Mode feature which turns all her attacks into one-hit takedowns for a limited time but that's about it in terms of anything that feels unique to her.

Arkham Knight's Harley Quinn DLC Is Terrible

For every one clever beat in the story pack -- like the legible scribbles in Psychosis Mode or split-personality mental dialogue where Harley shouts down Harleen's pleas to be heard -- there are more that feel like dumb choices or missed opportunities. Having the Penguin call Harley a harlot in a game over screen feels egregious and gross, especially after enduring a running thread filled with him greasily inquiring after her asking price. This Harley also doesn't have any agency of her own. She doesn't want to kill Batman or free Ivy because of her own motivations but to serve another character's goals. At the end, when she reunites with Ivy after kicking Nightwing's butt, there's not even a moment that nods at the special relationship the characters have had over the years.

This is a Harley who's all screeches, without the sly poignancy and yearning that humanized her in her earliest showcases. So, if you're worried about what you might not be able to play in the Harley Quinn Story Pack, don't stress too much. The offering feels slapped together and misses the mark on what's made the character a fan favourite. It's DLC to laugh at, not laugh with.


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Comments

    Ouch! Now I don't feel so bad for missing out

    These games, while great, seem not to handle playable ladies all that well.

    Preorder DLC isn't worth it. News at 11.

      They should have just gone with pre order pants. Nobody complained about those.

        "What do you mean there are only XXS and XXXXL available"

    23 years isn't exactly "the last few years"

      My thoughts exactly.

        You're right. She's not new. But I think the consumer obsession with her is. A narrative slip I guess. I don't understand her appeal - comics, screen or video games. She's just a dull character.

          What? Oh lord, look up the Bruce Timm comics with Harley Quinn (Harley & Ivy is particularly great), and watch the original animated Batman series. She was really well done in those; ditzy and loyal to a fault, and sexy-cute, but not made into an overt sexual mess like they're doing with her nowadays.

    Aye? I havent been following this game much but, wasn't it just released? and there is DLC already

      It was released yesterday. I believe that there are four DLC packs, yes.

        Not sure if you heard that, but that was me sighing.

      Preorder DLC. Like extra missions and so on. So not really "DLC" but more like 'exclusive content' for ordering a certain version, or in this case preordering.
      Nothing abnormal these days lol

        It isn't even exclusive they are releasing it for everyone else in August i think

          I got the Harley Quinn story pack for free even though i didn't preorder. i jsut lucked out on getting it and bunch of other free DLc from what i can assume were left over pre- order copies that Amazon had left . the content isn't worth it though.. even for free. it only last like 15-20 minutes at most and seems out of character for Harley Quinn. doesn't help that Tara Strong does a screeching high pitched voice for Harley.. compared to the much more believable voice Arleen Sorkin did on Batmna TAS and in the Batman Arkham Asylum game

    So a game where you "just move through the environment, beating down the [bad guys] and blowing up the [stuff]. ...bouncing from opponent to opponent in acrobatic free-for-alls."
    Has another character that does the same thing as the rest of the game... how is that a bad thing? Batman does exactly the same thing and that's somehow OK?

    It's free content, who cares how long it is?
    Why praise a different company for providing an alternate character model or one extra mission and yet berate this one for doing exactly the same thing?

    someone sounds butt-hurt

    Last edited 25/06/15 4:20 pm

      By way of analogy, it'd apparently also be completely fine if Batman wisecracked through the city by way of slinging sticky webs.

      From my reading of the article, he was complaining that Harley only had access to a subset of the movement/combat options of Batman (i.e. no stealth), and her unique abilities didn't really make up for it.

      And I wouldn't exactly call the content as free: it's just bundled in with the game or season pass.

      And that they are probably gonna make her dlc to play in challenge maps or something

    Didn't realise it was a pre-order thing. It was thrown in with my PS4 copy when I picked it up off the shelf of Big W. Assumed it was some crappy deal to do with store exclusive DLC.

    Still will check it out, at least it won't take too long to do and free is free *shrugs*

      "Preorder DLC" that is available with all new games, whether you preorder or not. Same thing happened with Mortal Kombat X. I preordered to get the bonus DLC, only to find out every bloody new game got it... despite it being clearly labled "Preorder Bonus DLC"

        You know I (had a baby boomer moment) and whined to the ACCC as a misleading claim, whose response was an underwhelming "soz, whine at the publisher" I too preordered games (full price) only to find it released at a cheaper price point with the same "bonus preorder content." seems a bit unfair :[

    Game sounds so boring tbh. Generic open world filled with nothing. Yawn.

      Nah man. It's brimming with content and the world rocks to just hang out in. Traversal is a joy and the addition of the Batmobile adds just enough spice to make it all seem fresh.
      I'm loving it.

        Is it true theres no civilians on the streets of Gotham? Seems like a missed opportunity.

    I actually disagree.
    This was heaps fun to play as. the way she moves, her toys, the psychotic scribbling on the wall in psychosis mode.
    The only issue is that it was really short.
    They pretty much did just like they did with Robin, Catwoman and Nightwing in Arkham City. That's by no means a complaint, I had a blast playing as them in Arkham City too.
    I hope in the future Rocksteady add some proper challenge maps like they had in AC.

    Last edited 25/06/15 5:32 pm

    Kotaku "Journalist" nit-picks about free content in a game... In other news, the sun will come up tomorrow morning.

    It's free content, even if it was an additional part to the main game like the Catwoman stuff in Arkham City, I'm pretty sure the same complaints would be made. It seems that some people just can't enjoy something for what it is these days.

    Yea its definitely because its a girl character XD. No.

    "Having the Penguin call Harley a harlot in a game over screen feels egregious and gross, especially after enduring a running thread filled with him greasily inquiring after her asking price." Trying to create controversy where there is none.

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