Batman Arkham Knight – Batgirl: A Matter of Family Review

The Batgirl game we wanted, but not the Batgirl game we deserved

The latest add-on DLC for Batman Arkham KnightBatgirl: A Matter of Family has some major problems. There not only technical issues, but it also has a super short story. Let's back up and start from the beginning.

Batgirl: A Matter of Family starts prior to the events of Arkham Asylum, so this is a prequel story and should also be somewhat of a origin story for Batgirl since this is the first time in the franchise we get the chance to play as her. But it's not. At no point did we get a flashback of some sort or anything giving us some ground on how Barbara became Batgirl which ultimately turns out to be a disappointment.  We instead get an one hour long DLC that feels rushed, insufficient and downright lazy. This isn't Rocksteady's doing, Batgirl: A Matter of Family was developed by WB Montréal, the guys who brought us Batmans prequel story– Batman Arkham Origins. While the gameplay is great for the most part, the main problem with this DLC is its length. The measly hour of story content does not suffice enough for Batgirl. She needs a much longer DLC and certainly deserves it. I am surprised, as this was completely developed by a separate studio, you would assume that the game could have at least have lasted 3-4 hours.

The whole premise of the game is to rescue the Police Commissioner, Jim Gordon, who happens to be Batgirl's father. The Joker and Harley Quinn captured the Commissioner alongside some of the GCPD which calls for Batgirl and Robin (Tim Drake) to swoop in and save the day. I think this was a missed opportunity for WB Montréal, as they should have had Jason Todd play Robin, as it fits the Arkham Universe storyline much better. Joker has taken Gordon and the GCPD to an abandoned amusement park which happens to be located on top of an oil rig. WB Montréal did do a good job nailing the new environment. Seagate Amusement Park is a creepy and fun place to explore even if it's a tiny area compared to Gotham City. Seeing the Joker's thugs again brings back fond memories and seeing the Joker back in the flesh brings back even more. Harley Quinn is also here and is in her original suit from Batman the Animated series and it's totally awesome. The Joker has somewhat of a good motive for why he lured Batgirl and Robin out and it fits the general theme Rocksteady was trying to get across through in Arkham Knight, but without spoiling the story I can’t go further into detail.

Batgirl DLC

As for Batgirl, her new animations feel great, her hacking ability brings new gameplay to the table and her character model is amazing. The game plays out similar to how other Arkham games do, you get sidetracked to rescue hostages which either has you 1. Take out a bunch of bad guys before a timer ends, 2. A couple of easy predator sequences, or 3. Defuse a bomb before the it explodes. This isn’t nothing revolutionary for an Arkham game, we’ve seen this gameplay before and we get to see it again as Batgirl. The new feature Batgirl has that Batman doesn’t, is her new hacking ability. This will allow players to hack certain environments throughout the game which can have you turn off lights, move structures that are in your path or just blow up generators at a press of a button. This shows how smart Batgirl is with computers and foreshadows what inevitably has to happen to Barbara which will transition her from Batgirl to Oracle.

Batgirl's gameplay is great, the fighting feels tight and the new animations help make Batgirl her own person. There are some sweet new dual team takedowns that Batgirl and Robin can perform. The technical issues that I mentioned before come from the many times Batgirl's grappling hook didn’t want to work correctly, to times where Barbara seemingly literally took over the controller and started walking straight into a wall. This happened a couple of times and with the game only lasting only one hour long, this was quite the nuisance. Some parts of the game had me wondering if I went in the right direction, I knew I had to reach the top of the platform but Batgirls hook wasn’t registering.

For season pass holders this game should be a bust. For $40, the first add on story DLC length simply doesn’t match the price tag their asking for. Here's hoping that the next DLC, Season of Infamy, makes up for this disappointly short experience. Alternatively, for $7.00 it's easy to look over its length and technical issues, I just wished they gave Batgirl the care they do for Batman and this game could have been amazing.