Arkham Knight's Batgirl DLC Just Isn't Good Enough

Arkham Knight's Batgirl DLC Just Isn't Good Enough

I've been waiting a long time to play as Batgirl in a modern video game. Now the chance has arrived in the form of a new add-on for the latest Batman title. Is it what I wanted? Not really.

Starting this week, folks who've ponied up cash for Batman: Arkham Knight's season pass will get the chance to play as Batgirl in an all-new add-on called A Matter of Family. (The add-on becomes available for everyone else on July 21.) The extra chapter, which takes place before the main game, focuses on Batgirl's attempt to save her father, police commissioner Jim Gordon, who has been kidnapped by the Joker. She's helped out by Robin. Together they will need to hunt through a derelict amusement park to rescue Gordon and other GCPD hostages.

Spoilers follow for gameplay and puzzles in the Batgirl DLC.

Arkham Knight's Batgirl DLC Just Isn't Good Enough

While it's not as bad as the Harley Quinn DLC that released when Arkham Knight first went on sale, A Matter of Family still feels slight and worries me that publisher Warner Bros.' pledge of six months of new content is going to feel like a drip feed of under-realised ideas.

I managed to finish the entire chapter (played on PS4) in about 90 minutes this morning, dawdling a bit to explore the abandoned entertainment attraction. The biggest gameplay differentiator here is an increased focus on hacking various interfaces throughout the park.

It's a small nod to the programming savvy that Barbara Gordon eventually wields in older comics and in the Arkham universe as her primary form of crimefighting after a fateful encounter with the Joker cripples her.

Unfortunately, A Matter of Family doesn't give me the kind of character insight I wanted for a video game take on Barbara Gordon. Yes, there are scenes where she stops Robin from rushing in to protect her or handle a challenging situation.But we get no recap of her origin or any sense of what drives her. Remember, this is the first time that Batgirl's getting the spotlight in a Batman Arkham game. There's just not enough in this by-the-numbers offering here to showcase why she's a special part of the Bat-mythos.

I've written before about my affection for Batgirl and how she improves the Bat-family ensemble. That affection is part of why I was disappointed to see Barbara Gordon kidnapped and used as bait for Batman in the main campaign of Arkham Knight. I have finished the main game and witnessed the sequence where--tiny spoiler — she helps Batman overcome overwhelming odds. That hero moment felt mild, though, and I held out hope that A Matter of Family would give players something more meaningful for Batgirl.

Barbara Gordon matters because she's smarter than Batman in some ways and her drive for justice comes from a place that's not quite as grimdark as her mentor's core trauma. Sadly, none of that gets shown in A Matter of Family.


Comments

    This is more or less how I felt about all of Arkham Knight. I watched my fiancé play it through and there were only two parts that I actually thought were clever or engaging (the opening with the diner was really neat, and then Joker turning up as your subconscious buddy was pretty great too). The story is being done to death, and I'm a big Batman fan. Anyone who saw Red Hood would have felt very ripped off by the Arkham Knight idea.

    These are technically fun games, but the stories are boring and I don't care about the characters in this representation of them, which is such a pity. At least they got Jim Gordon's body size right.

      On the topic of your second spoiler... It was hinted at fairly heavily early on, and I was actually hoping it wasn't the case.

      But yeah, definitely felt a bit ripped off there for the reason you mention... Especially after all the hype around it.

        I agree - it wasn't even remotely a question who Arkham Knight was, it was super obvious from the get go.
        It didn't help that I've basically read and seen everything Red Hood related, but I'd imagine that most Batman fans would have seen this coming a mile off.

        Last edited 16/07/15 12:37 pm

    High personal expectations cause reviewer to dislike game... What a shock, the assassination mandate from Kotaku continues on. Really getting tired of all the negativity Kotaku, U.S. And AU, have published on this game since it came out.

    Is it what I wanted? Not really.

    This sounds like someone set their personal expectations too high, or didn't get the game that they wanted. If you're wanting a fully fleshed out Batgirl game for the price of the DLC content, then you're deluded.

    I managed to finish the entire chapter (played on PS4) in about 90 minutes this morning.

    It's DLC ffs! What were you expecting? A 20-30 hour game? DLC campaigns have mostly been smaller 1-2 hour bites of content. If you're expecting 5-6 hours for the standalone price (trying to say you paid for the season pass just for this is a bullshit excuse) then you're mad and have set your personal expectations too high, as I've said many times before.

    I'm sorry, but you cannot have a full blown expansion pack for $10-$15! You pay a cheap price for smaller content. This is roughly around the same size, length, etc as Harley Quinn's revenge for Arkham City, and the Mr Freeze DLC for Arkham Origins. But because it's Batgirl, you expect more? Get stuffed.

      What about the expansion pass for The Witcher 3? I think it's about $35 for two expansions with content estimated at 10 hours for one and 20 hours for the other. You might say it is the exception rather than the rule, but surely they wouldn't do it if they were losing money on it. The Warner Bros. strategy involves spending a little bit of money on this DLC chapter and getting back much more than the outlay. I suspect the margin on it is quite lucrative compared to the main game. Publishers have increasingly been turning to DLC to make money on a game in the same way that console manufacturers turned to making money on game sales rather than hardware.

        Enh. I think calling CDPR the exception to the rule is pretty valid. I LOVE their exceptionalism, and hope it proves popular and financially rewarding enough to become the rule, but when you ask someone, "What'd you expect?" and they point to anything Witcher/CDPR-related, then that is kind of textbook unrealistic expectations. (Not unreasonable, but unrealistic.)

          Pretty much this.

          Witcher 3 is the exception to the rule at the moment. Hopefully other companies follow CDPR's example with their DLC practices. But till then, to expect huge lots of content for a low price is going to be pretty unrealistic.

          Therefore let us punish Warner Bros. and reward CD Projekt Red so that our glorious DLC future may be assured!

          EDIT: Or we could all just go and play Rocket League... 'cause it's awesome.

          Last edited 16/07/15 11:15 am

            +1 for Rocket League!

              I ask myself, is Rocket League an MMO, because where have all these hours gone? I've played about 60-70 5-minute games online and it feels like I've just started playing. Definitely the gem of this month's PS+ line-up.

      I'd argue that DLC doesn't need to be long, but it needs to do something special; not just be an hour of repetitive gameplay. The Burial at Sea DLC for Bioshock Infinite weren't long and neither was Lair of the Shadow Broker for ME2 but they both had really well done stories and gameplay that justified their existence. It sounds like this one doesn't achieve that, unfortunately

        I think you're absolutely right; its the whole quality over quantity adage. And it should apply to DLC. No one wants to play 10 hours of garbage.

      Well it is kind of a personal opinion of the author. But I find it relevant. It is the exact kind of reason why I wouldn't buy the DLC.

        It is, but I personally would take the 'it's not very good' on board in terms of deciding to get it or not, but the 90 minutes wouldn't even factor into it.

      You don't need to tell him to get stuffed. That's really rude.

      We should be demanding better dlc from companies. Not insulting those who do.

    I can't take that costume seriously, I keep thinking the Batgirl logo is a boob-window.

      I've only skimmed over shots in passing and didn't realize it was a logo til I read your comment.

    I find the bat icon on her chest to be an unfortunate design feature. Almost looks like some bizarre cut-out showing her cleavage...

    haha so true. Could have at least gone a slightly different colour.

    How I wished that DC Comics could have re-design Batgirl's costume to be more 'appealing' when Barbara return back to the bat family's crime-fighter career instead of the recent 'school-girl' type uniform that they had just amended for her (luckily they don't include this new suit in the "Arkham Knight" game). Maybe her new cape could be similar to DC's Wonder Woman amazon corset look alike armor, or an monokini type costume (that would be an bold but 'ground-breaking' move) else even this http://www.deviantart.com/art/Batgirl-340778338 What are the fellow batgirl's loyal fans thought about this wonderful idea?

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