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A Matter of Family sees Batgirl as a playable character for the first time ever in the Arkham series so far. The story is simple. Your father, Commissioner Gordon has been kidnapped and you must rescue him. With help from Robin you must enter an abandoned amusement park and take down Joker and Harley Quinn and save the day without the help of Batman. Is it worth going back to Batman: Arkham Knight for? Let’s dive in.
The setting of the DLC is probably my favorite thing about it. Having to take down enemies and rescue hostages tied to a ferris wheel is really cool and the whole area has a really creepy vibe to it. It plays it very similar to the Ace Chemicals section of the main campaign where you can chose the order in which you want to tackle certain objectives and it’s nice to have that small level of freedom.
This biggest change at least on a visual level is of course playing as Batgirl for the first time. It’s neat to see but it’s really a shame that absolutely nothing has changed from when you play as Batman. The character feels identical and moves the same as Batman and even has the same gadgets; only less of them. With the lack of unlocking new moves and upgrades it feels very weak compared to the main story as adding her own special moves via upgrades would have gone a long way it making this character feel less like a reskinned Batman which is how it ended up feeling.
Dual fighting plays a big part here as almost every encounter can be tackled with Robin at your side and this helps cover up the lack of a distinctive Batgirl feel a lot. It still feels incredible to fight as two characters at the same time and really makes me a better player as I don’t feel so overwhelmed fighting a massive horde of enemies with 2 characters at my disposal. As the combo reaches 50+ and you keep performing those dual takedowns; it’s a joy to play.
Most notably the fight between Batgirl and Robin vs Joker and Harley Quinn is a very memorable one and something that the main game did lack entirely. This return to a boss battle type situation was much needed and a great addition to the Arkham series.
The return of the Joker as a main character is great with this being set before Arkham Asylum and makes the whole thing more enjoyable when he’s on screen. After a brief introduction I was disappointed to see him disappear mostly from the game until it’s finale; even from the usual voiceover stuff. I definitely felt like I wanted more interactions with Joker and Harley Quinn as the moments between Batgirl and Robin felt completely flat for me given the history these two characters have that they could’ve drawn from.
The game ends very anticlimactically and barely takes over an hour to finish. The small amount of collectibles present and some puzzles to explain who is behind the amusement park (which fell terribly flat) aren’t enough to warrant playing for much longer than two hours total. It’s a shame the whole thing wasn’t given more time to be fleshed out as there is a cool concept and fantastic setting but ultimately the whole thing felt rushed and thrown together. Not lovingly crafted like the main story.
In the end; Batgirl’s first adventure is a forgettable one. The combat is still very fun in a unique setting but just felt like a big combat arena while wearing a Batgirl skin and having less gadgets. There’s some great moments and most fans will get a kick out of this; I definitely enjoyed it but was left kinda unfulfilled in the end. With this being the first content for the season pass I expected them to start strongly and knock it out of the park. In reality we got a fun little slice of Arkham gameplay which feels very familiar and pales in comparison to the greatness of the main story.