review 2

batmat arkam knight archan epsidoes are the DLC (downloadable levels) for the last batan arkan game that came out like 3 years ago

shockingly there’s no logo for the DLL so i had to make my own, pictured above. i think it’s a pretty good approximation of what warner borhters would’ve put out.

there’s 6 of these fuckers; three are prequels and three are sequels. there’s a drastic variance in quality between each of them, so much so that i think there were probably at least two different teams working on them. it might be a fun game to guess which levels got the good team! more fun than actually playing some of these, anyway

the first is the harley quimn story pack. i’m automatically deducting two points for the name being terrible, and i didn’t even do that for the kindgom hearst game last time.

normally i try to find a press release to pull images from but apparently they didn’t both advertising this at all, not even on the game’s official website. so here’s a screenshot taken on what i assume to be a cell phone from 2002, judging by the resolution.

anyway the story of this pack is that harley wants to save her bff poisson ivy from jail so she goes and beats a bunch of cops with a baseball bat. all of these DLCNTNs are like 20 minutes long counting cutscenes so the plots usually aren’t too in depth. there’s a fair amount of dialogue, mostly involving mr. penguin trying to hire harley for some reason. occasionally it’s funny but mostly it’s just there

harley is like, a cheerleader or something so she’s kinda shitty at fighting. mostly she plays like an incredibly limited version of batman. smacking people with the baseball bat is kinda fun but certainly not the most mechanically deep gameplay i’ve ever seen.

to make up for being pretty useless on the whole she has a mode where she goes crazy and gets to murder people in one hit basically. there’s a cool visual effect where all the walls get weird scratchy writing representing her inner thoughts. some of it is funny jokes or shit like “gee i sure want to kill batman” but it’s occasionally pretty sad. props to whoever wrote this downloadable kontent for not making her a dumb joke character i guess. at least it’s not suicide squad

all of the alternate characters have their own HUD based on their personality. harley’s is the most interesting since it’s done in a messy, “scratched into the prison wall” style and they inject some of her personality into it. the others are mostly some variant of neon computer bullshit but this one was fun

the gameplay alternates between combat and stealth sections. fittingly, she’s fucking terrible in the stealth sections because she always yells a wacky quip whenever she’s giving hard working police officers a serious concussion. at one point she yelled, and i’m not editorializing this at all: “i’m batman. haha get it” whilst shattering a man’s pelvis with her baseball bat. the developers probably didn’t want you to ever have to experience that, so they also let you take dudes out with traps: an exploding jack in the box and a laughing gas grenade. i forgot to use these tho so the stealth was extremely tedious and miserable. it only lasts like three minutes even if you’re completely incompetent so oh well

after all that shit you beat up a super hero guy and then it smash cuts to black. overall it wasn’t particularly satisfying but i did enjoy myself. when you finish the story i think it unlocks that character to use in other levels? idk how it works exactly but you can do some of the other missions as harley. she does have some unique gameplay shit so it might be fun doing some harder levels as her, if you’re really into the game

next is red hoood. jesus fuck i wrote way too much for the last one so i’m gonna try to speed things up this time

red hod has guns. that doesn’t sound like much but he’s basically the only character that’s effective at range and there’s a fun catharsis to blasting people away after an entire game of non-lethally suplexing people to sleep. it ties into the melee combat by letting you annihilate people, and counter gunfire with your own guns, and in the stealth section you can waste a man from extremely far away, provided he’s not wearing a bullet proof vest. other than that he mostly plays like a faster, less gadget focused batman

the story is barely there and involves murdering a series of lesser criminals until you meet the big criminal, who you also murder i guess. spoilers. there’s not much here but this character is pretty cool and i’d definitely enjoy playing as him in the other levels, so i’d certainly recommend this one if you can get it on the cheap

third on the list is a matter of famlily. in this 1 you play as batgirl but also sometimes robin? mostly batgirl though

it’s set way before the others, before akram asylun 1 even. i think the intent here was to make it feel like you were playing that game again. this is the only level of the set that has a semi-open area to explore, and the only one with a side quest, though it’s the shitty “collect 40 pieces of trash on the ground” kind so i refused to try it.

batgilr plays extremely similarly to batman. she doesn’t have any abilities of her own, other than a slightly different sneak attack in stealth mode that i only found one use for. theoretically her gimmick is that she can hack things, but baman could also hack things so that’s hardly revolutionary. she has a few more uses for it i guess?

like i said, there’s a bit more of an open area in this one similar to the first game. it takes place at an abandoned amusement park that the jokester has taken co-opted for some nefarious plot. the area is visually really interesting and you have a good few different ways of traversing the place, but there’s nothing really new or different going on. you alternate between stealth, combat and puzzle solving, but it’s the video game kind of puzzle solving where there’s a computer, you have an item that hacks computers, and if you take too long the character says out loud “HEY I SHOULD USE MY COMPUTER HACKING DEVICE TO HACK THIS COMPUTER” in a slow, deliberate tone

uh in the end you rescue a lot of cops and then beat up jokey and harlequin and save more cop. it ends on that weird prequel note where you’re supposed to remember what happens next and feel dark implications but the story here is so disconnected from everything else that you don’t really get anything out of it. basically this one was bland but serviceable.


this one and the next 2 take place after arkhamnight so if you’re worried about spoilers it’s already too late since the title is already basically a spoiler and so is the above image

you play as halle barry as she gets revenge on the riddleman for puttng so many shitty collectibles in all these games. she has a whip that kinda has gameplay utility, and she can leave bullshit on the floor so people stub their toes when they walk by. it’s not too different from batman but she does have her own style and you approach certain situations differently, especially in the stealth section

kitty cat is playable in the regular story, as are the characters in the next two epsidoes, so you don’t get any gameplay shit with any of these stages. i think they’re also all in the previous games so yeah it’s very recycled. not sure what’s up with that. none of them even seem to have a new weapon or anything as far as i can tell so you’re really just paying for the level and story i guess

exactly five things happen in this episoed so i will describe them all in sequence. first black cat has to steal 3 key cards without being detected. this is kind of annoying especially since it’s unclear which bad boy has a key card so there’s a lot of confused wandering in circles trying to find the last one. then she has to body slam all of the guys she stole key cards from, but this time it’s okay to be detected so i really don’t know why she wouldn’t just RKO them in the first place. fuck.

then there’s a puzzle where you have to press a robot button and then a knight button and then some other shit. presumably there was some clue that lets you intuitively determine a logical solution, but if you fuck it up you only take 0.000001% damage so i just brute forced it to save time

after that you go onto a big elevator. legally every video game ever made has to have a level where you’re on a elevator so i guess this is where they snuck it in. captain riddles phones you to say mean things and then some saw blades come at you. the saw blade part would be kind of fun in theory but it’s stolen directly from the main game and before it starts, the puzzler says, verbatim “remember these saw blades that i attacked you with in batman™ arkham knight® published by warner brothers interactive?”

some of the questioner’s dialogue is pretty funny. they set up a decent gag involving him trying to turn on all his death traps discretely over the phone. but soon the laughter stops fucking dead because he sends out 4 million shitty robots to kill you. on its own this wouldn’t be bad since killing robots is a celebrated video game pasttime, but the floor is also electric. electric floors are obnoxious as shit in the best of times, and the problem is exacerbated a thousand fold in a game where you can’t jump and your character automatically zooms to an enemy of their choosing whenever you push a button. you’re basically forced to ignore the entire combat system and stand dead still waiting for counter attacks, lest cat lady front flip her way on to the zappy panel and flash fry herself. this section is long and fucking terrible and difficult and partially luck based, depending on what the AI decides to do. after many dull attempts i got through it and then there’s a cutscene where cat burglar steals lots of money and then it cuts to black. this level blows ass and i would only suggest playing it if you’re paid to do it, minimum wage or above.

the fifth one is called GCPD lockdwon and it’s about knightwing who is robin but he calls himself nightwang

it feels kinda lazy to set this one in the police station since the main game also has you walking around the police station, but the entire inside of it is new so that’s cool i guess. the previous episnowed was about unimportant c-list side characters so this is the first one that really works a sequel to the main game. unfortunately the plot here has nothing to do with anything and isn’t particularly interesting on its own. penguin man wants to break out of jail so his friends try to break into jail and nighting has to beat them all up.

it’s getting hard to talk about the gameplay at this point since it’s always, always combat > stealth > combat. the stealth area here is really big and has a million dudes but it’s not particularly difficult or interesting. i think i got every single guy by hiding under the floor panels and vulcan nerve pinching them to unconsciousness

nightingale has some quirky gags where he phones doctor penguin and puts on a silly accent. that’s pretty much it. i wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re big into crawling around ventilation systems

final epsidoe is a flip of a cion. analyze the above image carefully and sear it into your memory, as it’s been seared into mine, since i’ll be doing a finely detailed analysis of every minute aspect of it.

this one is about robbin beating up 2faces. there’s some thematic relevance here about robert trying to live up to the standards bamtan has set for him. but these stages are only 15 minutes long so they can’t go too much into detail! oh well

the first part is a stealth section in a big metalwork facility. i hated this section for a multitude of reasons, some so complicated i don’t even fully understand them. the main problems are basically that the level is way too huge and mazelike, with a shitton of discrete areas that are hard to get to, and one of the enemies turns off your see through the wall mode so you have to wander in circles endlessly trying to find bad guys since there’s no other indication of where you’re supposed to be. eventually i found the golden route through that mess and got into the next part.

this is where the image above comes in. there’s two men with assault rifles, one big guy with a vulcan cannon, and three automatic sentry guns. so obviously if you just drop down you’ll get perforated by ten billion rounds of hot lead in a nanosecond.

i kinda figured out a way to brute force it, but basically they want you to perform one extremely specific set of actions. the problem is that the correct route is both ridiculously tedious and obnoxiously specific. you must crawl through a vent, walk to a broken wall, place an explosive on the wall, crawl back out of the vent, neutralize the vision on the farthest sentry gun, wait until the other two sentry guns are pointing at the corner of the room, detonate the explosive to take out the minigun boy, drop onto the man in the middle of the room, and then take out the final guy hiding behind the sentries. you’re likely to figure out most of this within about two seconds of entering the room, but the timing is so extremely tight and unclear that you’ll probably get fucking obliterated even if you know exactly what to do. i wanted to do it correctly just to see what they wanted, and i felt zero satisfaction when i got it, just a sense of relief from not having to deal with it anymore.

after that is a combat section and then some bizarre cinematic moments involving rob fighting a sniper and double-face. i guess these are kind of puzzle sections as well? but they more or less tell you the correct answer so you’re really just going through the motions.

this one left me feeling more disappointed than any of the others. the feline female’s retribution one was probably worse in the sense that i basically had to cheat the game in order to complete it, but this one was just miserable the entire way through, and should’ve had more care put into it since it’s basically the epilogue to the game.

only two of these campaigns were any fun at all so i’m giving bamham arkam night arkham epsidoes an incredibly shocked and heartbroken batman face. disappointing.

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