Field Report: Batman Arkham City 'Nightwing DLC'

It's only been a few weeks since the release of Batman: Arkham City, but Rocksteady has already pushed out its first bit of DLC for the game. How does it play, and is it worth a purchase?

It's only been a few weeks since the release of Batman: Arkham City, but Rocksteady has already pushed out its first bit of DLC for the game. Nightwing is available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for $7 (560 Microsoft Points). And what does it include? It includes a fully playable Nightwing for use in the challenge maps, and two additional maps for all characters to run through. But is it really worth the asking price? For hardcore Arkham fans, it's undoubtedly a must-buy. While Nightwing shares many similarities with Batman, the way he plays is as different from the Dark Knight as Catwoman is. In the combat challenges, I've noticed that his range seems much smaller than Batman's, and he's much slower than Catwoman, making him one of the more difficult characters to use. Rocksteady's interpretation of the character has him a lot cockier than his mentor, and it shows in his somewhat flamboyant animations. While Nightwing's unique attributes are rather subtle in combat, he feels significantly different in predator mode. While he keeps a few of Batman's gadgets, such as the Batclaw, the Line Launcher, and the Disruptor, his wrist darts--used in a first-person perspective--add an interesting twist to his arsenal. Nightwing's unique vision mode lets him not only see enemies in X-ray, but also provides a barely-functioning (possibly merely cosmetic) radar. Rounding out the package are two maps set in Wayne Manor, one for combat and one for a predator challenge. The map is actually quite possibly the best thing about the DLC. It is a very large, very fun map to play with, with tons of places to sneak around and lots of things to look at. It provides a nice contrast to most of the dark, grim locales of Arkham City.

Nightwing's vision mode differs from that of Batman and Catwoman

While I'll definitely be going through all of the Riddler Challenges again as Nightwing (yes, even the campaign challenges), it's a bit hard to recommend the DLC, especially at the asking price. $7 is a lot to ask--especially for a pack that includes no voice acting. When starting a level, you'll see Nightwing blankly staring back at you. It's oddly uncomfortable seeing him refuse to offer the banter that Batman and Catwoman so freely offer. Warner Bros. couldn't find a voice actor to record five lines of dialogue for us, really? Rocksteady didn't say it was going to do anything more grandiose with Nightwing, but it's a bit disappointing to see them not try. Given Catwoman is playable within the main world, has additional playable episodes, and voice acting with a sticker price of $10, it's a bit disheartening that Rocksteady isn't trying to be a bit more ambitious with it's current slate of DLC. Hopefully, we can expect some more story content from the studio--perhaps even something that takes place within the beautifully constructed walls of Wayne Manor.
Field Reports provide our first-hand experience with the latest games and expansion packs. This report is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game, with DLC purchased by the reviewer.
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