NOTE: This review is spoiler free to the main Batman: Arkham Knight game.
Before I booted up the two new Arkham episodes that went live yesterday for Batman: Arkham Knight, I was on the fence about whether or not a review of them would be necessary. Thus far all of the expansions have cost the same, and have more or less been harmless, $2 distractions that follow a very similar formula: a fight, a predator sequence, followed by another fight. Upon finishing up these two episodes however, I found that there was a few things I wanted to address and one of them is unfortunately not very positive.
I’ll get the bad out-of-the-way first. I absolute hated Catwoman’s Revenge. The Premise is decent: Catwoman is on a mission to clean out the Riddler’s bank account after keeping her as a hostage during Scarecrow’s attack on Gotham City. The episode starts out much like the Catwoman segment in Batman: Arkham City where you had to break into Hugo Strange’s vault by pick-pocketing three keys from guards without being caught. After that objective is complete, however, things take a frustrating turn for the worse. Your next objective to eliminate every guard you were previously avoiding in a predator sequence. The play area feels very cramped with too many guards occupying one space at any given time. Too often I would take down one, only to be chased by three, then unable to separate the group to eliminate them. Also when trying to escape I found Catwoman had a terrible tendency to stick to cover instead of dodging out of danger.
What followed this somewhat annoying predator sequence was one of the most difficult and aggravating things I’ve done in the ENTIRE Arkham franchise, and this is coming from someone who has beaten every entry on New Game +. What starts as a simple fight against some easily dispatched Riddler-bots increases in difficulty from zero to eleven in a mere matter of minutes. You’re riding an elevator down to the bottom of Riddler’s warehouse and on the final level, you have to take out what feels like fifty robots, while avoiding a laser that’s moving around the battle arena all the while the floor around you is becoming electrified until all you’re left with is four small blocks in which to fight on if you’re not fast enough. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at the Arkham titles, but I must’ve failed in this one room countless times becoming angrier with each failure until I put the control down to play the much better A Flip of the Coin.
Also taking place after the main game, in A Flip of the Coin you play as Robin who’s tracked an escaped Two-Face down to an abandoned factory. Like Catwoman’s Revenge, this episode starts out with a predator sequence, but the playing field is much wider and more fun to navigate with a lot of vertical perches and secret tunnels to escape into. This is followed by a fairly clever puzzle sequence concluding with a pretty basic fight. Other than one sequence where you have to use Robin’s bullet shield, a carry over from his arsenal in Batman: Arkham City, It was disappointing that I never found a use for any other of his character exclusive gadgets, but otherwise this is one of the better Arkham episodes.
What I liked most about A Flip of the Coin, without getting into spoilers, is Robin’s interaction with Oracle about Gotham City post the conclusion of the game and his place in it. I would get into greater detail, but for those who may be getting this game perhaps for Xmas and haven’t played it yet, I won’t get into any greater detail for fear of spoilers. Coming off of GCPD Lockdown, I also enjoyed the flow of the environment from one area to another. In the last episode starring Nightwing, you were transitioned from one area to another via some poor transitions, but in A Flip of the Coin, the scenario moved from one section to the next with a clearer understanding of where you were headed.
Like all the Arkham episodes thus far, if you have the Season Pass already each of these episodes are free and even if you don’t, they’re only $2 each so the investment in them is still worth it if you’re a fan of the Arkham series like I am. Of the two though, play Robin’s scenario first and if you need to walk away from Catwoman’s Revenge for an hour or two, I completely understand.