Batman: Arkham City - Harley Quinn's Revenge Review

The tried-and-true gameplay of Arkham City makes Harley Quinn's Revenge enjoyable, but a limited scope and an underdeveloped story prevent it from soaring.

A Batman's work is never done. He may have dealt with the Penguin, Hugo Strange, the Joker, and the other supervillains who plotted schemes within the open-air megaprison of Arkham, but in the wake of those events, a new threat has arisen. For reasons that need no explanation if you've played through the story of Batman: Arkham City, Harley Quinn has it out for Batman in a big way. Harley Quinn's Revenge gives you a decent excuse to return to the immensely satisfying combat of Arkham City, and lets you play as Robin in a narrative context (as opposed to challenge rooms) for the first time. But unfortunately, this downloadable content feels restrictive in comparison to the original game, and it ends with a weak final confrontation that makes this a disappointing note on which to bring the Arkham City story to a close.

Like the original game, Harley Quinn's Revenge jumps between characters, but it adds a new narrative twist by jumping back and forth in time. You begin as Robin, who has ventured into a shipyard that has been taken over by Harley Quinn and her thugs. Chatter between Robin and Oracle establishes that in the two weeks that have passed since the events of Arkham City, Bruce Wayne has seemed depressed and unwilling to talk about the lives that were lost. The concept of Batman coming a bit unhinged and struggling with his emotions is exciting, but Harley Quinn's Revenge never develops it. It serves no purpose here other than to plant a seed in your brain about what condition Batman might be in when a sequel rolls around; within the context of this DLC, it just resonates with untapped potential.

As Robin, you make your way through Harley's base searching for Batman, who disappeared a few days earlier while trying to rescue some police officers Harley had kidnapped. Robin has a few unique gadgets, like the snap flash, which you can plant on unsuspecting baddies and then detonate to stun them and other nearby enemies, and a bullet shield that lets you withstand assaults from turrets for a limited time. On the other hand, he can't pull off all of the techniques that Batman can; he lacks the ability to do an inverted takedown, for instance.

Harley is taking this opportunity to test out her interior decorating skills.

But for the most part, playing as Robin feels just like playing as Batman. That's not a bad thing, of course. Arkham City's combat hasn't gotten any less hard-hitting and rewarding in the months since the game was released, and Robin's animations have him making graceful and brutal use of his metallic bo staff to hit and knock out enemies. But there's little freedom here; you use your shield when you need to and you fight enemies when you need to, as you're ushered down the narrow hallways and through the larger but still confined rooms of the shipyard.

Soon, the game flashes back to two days prior and puts you in control of Batman, revealing the circumstances that led up to his disappearance. Here, gameplay opens up a bit. Though you're restricted to the area around the steel mill where Harley Quinn is apparently holding the police officers she's kidnapped, you get to enjoy the freedom of Batman's glide and the satisfaction of diving into enemies from high above. The air around the mill is thick with the piercing lasers of sniper rifles, and the ground is crawling with thugs, so you have incentive to employ the full range of Batman's abilities as you work your way into the facility. It doesn't introduce any hazards you haven't already dealt with if you've played through Arkham City, but it's nonetheless a tense scenario that makes stepping back into the batsuit exciting.

Robin brings a personal touch to the act of putting explosive gel on a wall.

The steel mill is a familiar location, having served as Joker's base during Arkham City. But it's worth revisiting; once you're inside, you see that Harley Quinn has made it her own, and a few of her decorative touches offer a disturbing glimpse into the state of her psyche. This DLC moves along at a snappy pace from this point on, jumping back and forth between its two playable characters and including challenging brawls against huge, varied groups of enemies, stealthy standoffs against patrolling guards, sections in which Batman must follow blood trails and interrogate thugs, and a race against the clock to find and defuse bombs.

This is all reliably engaging; if you enjoyed doing these things in Arkham City, you will find them no less enjoyable here. But the final confrontation these activities build up to is incredibly basic, and the cursory ending leaves the story's most fascinating elements unexplored. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of this DLC takes place indoors; you rarely get a chance to spread your batwings and experience the openness that helped make Arkham City so extraordinary. Once the credits roll on this roughly two-hour adventure, it's over; there's no option to continue exploring its locations, and the 30 balloons you can hunt down and pop aren't a compelling reason to return to Harley Quinn HQ. Fighting evil in Gotham still feels heroic, but this isn't the conclusion Arkham City deserves.

The Good
Plenty of satisfying combat and stealthy action
Some memorable new details in the redesigned steel mill
The Bad
Interesting story elements are unutilized
Mostly takes place in confined environments
Final boss fight is a dud
6
Fair
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156 comments
juiceair
juiceair

Bought the GOTY edition for $18 new so it really doesn't matter if its lacking quality in the DLC. As a complete package, the GOTY edition is a can't miss!

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

Worthy DLC to step into the likes of Batman and Robin's shoes, and it's nice to see the changes to the steel mill aswell as watching the repertoire of cool moves employed by Robin.

ash162
ash162

Got it as a part of GOTY so no extra moolah burned!!

zekepliskin
zekepliskin

*** SPOILERS WITHIN ***

 

Hey, I'm always up for more fighting in the Arkham City game world, and I guess because the HQR DLC was included in the GOTY version I picked up for a fair price pre-owned I suppose I'm not as harsh as people who plonked down ten bucks and felt cheated.

 

Yes it is too linear and the story is underwritten (Paul Dini was clearly not involved) but playing as Robin in a story not a Challenge Map is fun, and I personally loved the end fight.  When I first saw the busted up old Guardian robots and zoomed in on the posters, I wondered if I could fight them.  And in HQR, you can, and they're stupidly tough.

 

But it does highlight a problem with DLC - undercooked and not up to the standards of the main game in too many cases.  Maybe if the developers are going for maximum value in order to get more money from people, the DLC should be made and brought to completion at the same time the main game is.  Otherwise DLC will forever be synonymous with the short phrase "tacked on".

epic542
epic542

I have a great idea, they need a DLC where there is trouble in Bludhaven and Batman needs to go help Nightwing, you start out as Batman and then the player turns to Nightwing and you explore around Bludhaven (or a small part of it, NOT JUST A SINGLE BUILDING).

SteveMcD01
SteveMcD01

If you waited (like I did) and bought Batman Arkham City GOTY, this was free DLC, along with all the other DLC and Skins.  I do not think you can go wrong with free DLC, and the total package for $40.  This is an awesome game.  I am considering getting Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY just to fight the other villains, and spend more time in Arkham.

MellifluousMe
MellifluousMe

i enjoyed it but i felt unfulfilled and unsated. after i was done i was dying for more challenge maps and skins and whatnot. what i wanted more than anything before this DLC was announced was a Harley Quinn pack similar to the Nightwing and Robin packs, where you play as Harley. I appreciate the attempt at giving us more story  but this definitely shouldn't be the last DLC release for this game. #I WANT TO PLAY AS HARLEY

devilmaycry27
devilmaycry27

it should have been longer and they should have added more then just quinn. like killer croc.  let u explore as robin.  i just hope in the 3rd game. u can import the skins from arkham city.  but this dlc should have been better.

sensesfail99
sensesfail99

I had fun playing this but i only wish it was longer. Or they added harley quinn into the challenge maps, like in arkham asylum you could play as the joker( which i LOVED). I really feel like my $10 was wasted tho, its not worth more then $5.  switching between robin and batman was a good touch tho. Overral....I think this score is accurate, for once gamespot got a review right.

Earthen80
Earthen80

Lol Gamespot are pretty harsh with their reviews eh?

cswatcoz
cswatcoz

if someone were to ask me the length of this i'd have said 45min-1hour. i dont think its worth 10 dollars. seriously. and at over a gig... wtf? what was included in that?? i saw very few changes and little voice acting. i dont even think kevin conroy was brought back for this. the batman speech was cut and paste from the main game. whatever. i want 10 bucks back. couldve got the indie bundle for that.

thefloorhugger
thefloorhugger

I love this dlc and i would recommend buying it 

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

i LOVE the box art for this one......Harley looks uber sexy......

epic542
epic542

They need a DLC that allows you to switch to Robin and Nightwing, instead of just Catwoman during the campaign with more side missions (at least 3).

Tekken312
Tekken312

I didn't think it was that bad. I've learned to lower my expectations when it comes to DLC. Could it have been better? Of course. But at least it wasn't just more challenge maps.

HalcyonScarlet
HalcyonScarlet

I found it boring. It felt like a chore to play through. I can't put my finger on why, But I love and can play through the main Batman game over and over. I also rate this at 6/10.

 

I can't decide if 800ms points was good or bad. I don't regret it. but it just extended rather than brought anything to the table.

 

In terms of story, it's not worth a lot, the main game is where it should have ended as it left more to your imagination, and this story isn't really worth coming out of that imagination.

SenorKel
SenorKel

I might as well have set a 10 dollar bill on fire.

maestro352
maestro352

this is such a disappointing dlc, its about an extra 30 minutes of gameplay and and thats it. definitely not worth the price, pathetic. KEEP YOUR MONEY IN YOUR POCKETS!!!

lotusclown
lotusclown

most disapointing dlc EVER!   u couldn't even explore arkham city with robin...  wtf?   :(

farhad2690
farhad2690

I do not think IT is as best as arkham city

the grade approves it!!!

Elnath10
Elnath10

Had to see the profile of the editor to asure that in fact is a SHE. Thanks Gamespot, mystery solved

avestavsdante
avestavsdante

another bad point!oh god U ruin everything

 

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

i bought it. beat it quick. at least the devoloper is releasing more of the batman universe... heres hoping for an ivy dlc, or more with bane..

Jim60360
Jim60360

I really enjoyed it but it was way to short. Finished it twice in an hour and a half.

AMD1290
AMD1290

unlike IGN, who's reviews has been a joke lately, this reviewer isn't afraid to give honest opinon to a high profile title. you've earned my respect.

ThoseSaints
ThoseSaints

It was to short for 10 dollars and you can't free roam as robin after you beat it. This score is understandable.

-The-G-Man-
-The-G-Man-

mediocre story? lame boss fight? sounds like an Arkham game alrright

SUNDRAGONJ
SUNDRAGONJ

If this is a little clue, towards a sequel they should definitely expand the environment , say the city of Gotham itself naming the title, Batman: Gotham Crisis. Where maybe Red Hood or Hush incites the villains to take over Gotham and maybe Batman can't do the job alone and calls in Night Wing and Robin as playable characters.

blaze_raiden
blaze_raiden

I know this probably won't happen, but how about a batman beyond game? i for one would love to see a new story with mcginnis back in the batsuit

epic542
epic542

 It would be nice to explore as Robin, as well as Nightwing and even i dare say........Batgirl (even though she is parallized as Oracle).

Dkmariolink3
Dkmariolink3

 @Elnath10 She used to be a man, she is a transgender. Good to see that gamespot is not prejudice.

Krovet
Krovet

The developers said this is to be the last batch of dlc sadly,

Rat_King
Rat_King

 @AMD1290 Carolyn is easily my favorite reviewer at GS. She has such a fair opinion on things...

kalgert123
kalgert123

 @SUNDRAGONJ  Sounds good,the developers should start working on that,i would really like to get up on a roof and see the area...then glide down onto a thug and then beat the piss out of him

Saintofwar
Saintofwar

 @epic542

 explore arkham city in a new feature never before seen: the wheelchair

 

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

 @korey1234 So a website starts to suck because reviews done by a person aren't the same as yours? And then you call a person an "it" as if it's her fault she has a chromosomal disorder? Go and read a little on chromosomal disorders and get rid of your ignorance.

chrisbell2401
chrisbell2401

 @korey1234 Whatever HE/SHE is? IT's voice? You offensive little creature.  Carolyn identifies as a woman and you should respect that.  

snake3rules
snake3rules

@botchyESFI - no, and that's why I went on to say no offense, big fan, etc... But glad the a-holes are out as always

BowserShakur
BowserShakur

 @korey1234  Korey, what do you have against girl gamers? You need to reevaluate whether the closet is a still a safe place for you. In my opinion, it'd be advantageous for you to come out, so as to keep yourself from a deathbed of rage and regret.

chrisbell2401
chrisbell2401

 @korey1234 You're the sort of person who's personality would benefit from a giant DELETE button.  BTW, I also come here for video games, not name calling but it's unavoidable with ignorant people like you referring to a transgender woman as "it".  

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

 @snake3rules  @botchyESFI 

To a very small extent, it does matter. And I say this as a gamer that has watched a few videos from GS late at night, and couldn't figure out if my mind was playing tricks on me or if it was time to close the bar. Other than that, I find Carolyn's reviews to be some of the most honest, straight forward, no editing-in-the-comments reviews you can find online period. I may not always agree with them, but they're readable.

Batman: Arkham City

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
  • Macintosh
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City is an action adventure that builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence
Check out even more info at the Batman: Arkham City Wiki on Giantbomb.com