So, the Season Pass for Batman Arkham Knight has been pretty great. Unfortunately, none of the updates besides this recent post really merited a full review like my review for the Batgirl segment earlier this year. However, I am pleased to say that this last batch of DLC has been the beefiest of all of them. I’ll cover the rest of the DLC in an epilogue review about the game overall, but for now, I’ll focus on the newest DLC pack, the Season of Infamy.
In this DLC, you get four new story missions for Batman to take on in the game. This is especially nice because it adds more replay value to the overall city you spent hours playing in, and if you’re like me, you did everything you needed to do, and then had no reason to keep flying around. Fortunately, with these four DLC missions, we get four new villains to take on, and all of them use the existing world map pretty decently. Throughout this installment, Batman and players get to take on the likes of some of the most popular villains that didn’t make it into the main story or side story campaigns, Mad Hatter, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, and Killer Croc. A great thing about this for longtime fans of the Arkham franchise, is it ties a nice ribbon around all of these characters stories, much like the main Arkham Knight story did for Batman.
First up, is the Mad Hatter, in the installment titled “Wonderland.” In a very… Joker-esque fashion, the Hatter has turned himself in to the GCPD in the hopes of attracting Batman to fall into his trap. Hatter has kidnapped several police officers and has threatened their lives unless Batman can find them. None of this quest is by any means, mind-blowingly innovative, but it does expand on some core elements in the game. For example, to save the officers you have to diffuse a bomb, which when this situation is started, you are given a new task with your Remote Hacking Device. The task is like everything else you’ve done with the device, twirl the joysticks around until you reach your goal, but they get points for trying to mix it up. Perhaps the best part of the “Wonderland” segment is the last portion, where you’re sucked into a story book and must undergo three stages, which are all reminiscent of the Rocksteady Arkham Games. Each pop-up portion of the book has a background with themes for the three entries the studio has contributed to the saga. It was a lot of fun seeing a story book Manbat pop out in the midst of my battle. Much like the rest of the Arkham Knight game, there’s no boss fight against anyone here.
If there’s ever one Batman character in mainstream mythology that deserves a second chance, it’s definitely Mr. Freeze. For those unaware, his wife, Nora came down with a terminal disease and to try and save her, he would use his expertise with cryogenic technology to try and save her, preserving her body until he could discover the cure to restore her. It’s a horribly sad story as you can get a sense of Freeze’s desperation. In this segment “In From the Cold” Batman helps give some needed closure to Freeze and his wife, Nora. The entire time, we’ve seen the Freeze/Nora story from the perspective of Freeze, but never his frozen wife. In a great twist, we see what happens when Nora is thawed out and sees the type of man her husband has become and ultimately what her choice regarding her own life is in all of this. The gameplay for this mission is nothing spectacular or creative like in the “Wonderland” segment with that book. Instead, we’re tasked with a new map to beat up bad guys, a small scavenger hunt, and then… yes, another Batmobile challenge, this time with Mr. Freeze helping you fight militia tanks. There was a surprisingly large amount of story for this chunk of the game and I’m very pleased as a fan of the Arkham franchise and Batman to see what happened in the scenario this mission presented Nora with.
In the spirit of continuing to give every Arkham story closure, we’re given another run in “Shadow War” with Ra’s Al Ghul, an immortal who uses a mysterious Lazarus Pit to maintain his life. He was a relatively huge part of Arkham City and was presumed dead from that story. I was personally confused why he was included in this batch of new story content, simply beca use I thought his story was concluded. But life as an immortal tends to last a little bit longer, so we see what’s left of the League of Assassins struggling to bring their leader back to life while struggling with a resistance group who thinks he should die once and for all. This mission doesn’t present anything remotely new, even in the minor capacity as the upgraded Remote Hacking Device in the “Wonderland” segment. Instead, you follow a trail of blood, find Ra’s, get some plot points and then after a large fight with a ton of enemies, it’s over. There is one new variety of ninja in the game that is very similar to the way ninjas were handled in Arkham Origins, where they attack a bit more sporadically, but unfortunately that ninja only appears one time. I’d have liked, at least more of these variety based ninjas to fight.
Saving the best for last, we have Killer Croc in “Beneath the Surface.” In this mission, the Iron Heights prison, responsible for holding some of the toughest bad guys in DC lore has crashed in the Gotham waters and guards are found dead. Batman has to team up with Nightwing to try and capture Killer Croc and prevent any further casualties. The Penguin missions in the main game reminded us of just how different Bruce was from Dick Grayson (original Robin and Nightwing) in terms of their personalities. They are polar opposites, one is a goof, more like what I’ve always thought Spider-Man to be like, and the other is well… Batman. It’s the little quips that makes it believable that Nightwing left Batman and Gotham to pursue his own career of crime fighting. The Robin of the Arkham-verse behaves much like Batman, almost being too much of a Batman clone at times, while Nightwing is just having a blast beating the crap out of his opponents. Beneath the Surface feels a lot like Arkham Asylum felt, as a lot of the backgrounds seem pulled almost directly from it. There’s that same creepy suspenseful vibe you got playing that game for the first time and knowing Croc could be around any corner. He was a terrifying monster in the game, even if his encounter was a bit of a let down there. Even if the fight with Croc here isn’t anything spectacular, I am happy to report it is at least a much better improvement over the other villain take downs of the main game. Much like “A Matter of Family”, Killer Croc is an enemy in the fight and you need to perform team attacks with Nightwing to take him down. Like I said, it’s nothing great like Arkham City was, but it’s a lot less disappointing than the way these enemies have been handled throughout the game. It almost feels a little bit like Rocksteady listened to the complaints and tried to rectify them a little here.
Each mission of the Season of Infamy takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete, extending the overall life of the main story campaign about 2 hours. It certainly got me into the game and encouraged me to bust out different costumes and try out different Batmobiles that came out over the course of the Season Pass. Each segment might have been treading familiar water, but they did provide a nice sense of closure to the Arkham franchise even more. Mad Hatter was a creative, but simple recap of the trilogy of games (I wish they would have acknowledged Arkham Origins, that game was incredibly fun), Mr. Freeze got to finally see a solution for his frozen wife, Ra’s Al Ghul’s legacy is put to the final test, and Killer Croc shows us what we loved about this franchise. Hell, as minor of a plot point as it is, Aaron Cash, the lead officer at GCPD, had his hand bitten off by Croc and is able to have a sarcastic bit with him about that. This DLC batch took the most popular characters who weren’t already stuffed inside of this game, and gave them one last mission with Batman before Rocksteady said their final farewells to the project. The gameplay is nothing new, but this was a really great new way to get players to don the cowl and get back into Gotham.