I finally finished the entire Batman: Arkham Knight game (not including getting the Riddler Trophies—those things are torturous to get), after which I pulled out my pre-order download code for the Harley Quinn story. And boy, I have to say I was pretty disappointed.
Before I go deeper into this I just want to say that the DLC isn’t devoid of positive elements. I mostly wish it was longer—it’ll last around 15-20 minutes depending on how fast you are— because I genuinely think Harley Quinn is an interesting character and deserves more justice than what was received. I get the feeling that the person in charge of this story was a Rocksteady employee that really wanted to be apart of the main Arkham Knight story, but was pushed aside because his/her ideas were a little off the wall.
SPOILERS AHEAD….if you care.
The DLC’s story begins with Harley Quinn taking orders from the Penguin to rescue Poison Ivy from the police department. Harley breaks in and there are plants everywhere. Let me just reiterate: there are plants everywhere. Poison Ivy can control plants. Why do we need to rescue her if plant life has infested the police station? Anyway, Harley controls like the female version of Batman (I will say that until I am able to play the Batgirl story) and uses her trusty bat in the most brutal way. She’s always cheerful and playful as she cartwheels across from enemies. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I felt like Harley fights a lot slower than the iconic Caped Crusader.
Harley makes her way through the police department by exploding walls with a trick jack-in-a-box, which is a little more deadly than Batman’s explosive gel, if less durable. That’s about the only gadget you’ll need through this play through; the others aren’t even worth a look.
Eventually you find Ivy and right before you release her from the cell, NightWing shows up to stop you. No way! NightWing? The most athletic non-superhero in the DC universe? I bet he’ll take on Harley no problem! Instead of being an awesome fight it’s just NightWing attempting to electrocute you to submission and Harley easily dodging his moves. If you’ve played Arkham Knight you know how much fun it is to play as NightWing. He’s fast, agile, and a lot of fun to control. Naturally I don’t expect the AI version to fight like I play, but even so, at least have him perform some cool acrobatic moves like he’s supposed be doing.
Once this disappointing battle is over, Harley knocks NightWing out somehow and frees Poison Ivy. Harley and Penguin have their little back and forth over the headset then the story is over. It just ends.
A few positives I’ll give the story is that if you go into psycho mode (like Batman’s detective mode) you’ll see a few Easter Eggs that go into the mind of Harley. You’ll see things like "I’m all alone now" written on the wall, though the narrative is so sparse that you’ll likely not care about them.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m going to address the biggest elephant in the room. Harley’s voice is something I can only tolerate in small portions. After listening to her wailing for around 10 minutes (keeping in mind this is a 20-minute story, tops) I was almost glad it was over. You may disagree and say her voice is how it’s supposed to be, but I would beg to differ—she’s just annoying.
All in all, I would have rather had a playable penguin storyline.