Batman: Arkham Knight 'A Matter of Family' impressions - caged bat

There are some good ideas exercised in Batman: Arkham Knight's 'A Matter of Family' DLC, but Batgirl's first playable adventure ends way too quickly to truly take advantage of any of them.

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One notable item about Batman: Arkham Knight's development is that Warner Bros. would aim to develop six months worth of extra content for the game's Season Pass holders. The first major story addition arrived today in the form of the Batgirl: A Matter of Family episode. And while it's interesting to go hands-on with a character other than the Dark Knight, Barbara Gordon's first solo outing suffers from feeling all too short.

A Matter of Family kicks off with Batgirl hitting the abandoned Seagate Amusement Park, taking this particular story away from the familiar sights of Gotham City. The Joker has abducted Commissioner Gordon and is looking to eliminate Batgirl and Robin out of a sick desire to have Batman all to himself again.

There's something refreshing about a new playground for combat and predator stealth sequences. For the most part, Batgirl has a few standard Bat-tools like the Batarang, Explosive Gel, and Line Launcher. But while she's missing a lot of Batman's gadgets, she does take far greater advantage of a certain other inventory item. As a master of technology, Batgirl makes greater use of the Remote Hacking Tool. She can use this item to hack through doors and electronics, but she can also use it to assist her in taking down enemies. For example, there are predator stealth areas that have electronic floors, which Batgirl can hack to wipe out any hapless hostile that's walking over them. It's a cool mechanic that differentiates Batgirl from her boss and one I would have loved to see expanded further.

While stealth sequences in a Batman game never get old, A Matter of Family is largely bogged down by other uninspired tasks. There are a couple of objectives where Joker has planted time bombs around the amusement park. Not only must players find the bomb and clear out any surrounding enemies, but there's also the wrinkle of wrong passwords being introduced. Worse yet, the clock does not stop ticking to account for slow motion animation, which can make these missions more frustrating than they're worth.

On top of that, while A Matter of Family sets up Barbara as the tech genius that she is, it doesn't come into play at all during the story's final battle. In fact, it's simply just a matter of beating up bad guys -- something that can be found just about anywhere in a Batman game. The ending is so abrupt that it's hard to classify it as anything other than disappointing.

A Matter of Family has its high points. Anyone sick and tired of the Batmobile will be pleased to find zero vehicle sequences. And as mentioned before, the expansion of the Remote Hacking Tool's utility is refreshing. Unfortunately, there's little else to do here and the story should be wrapped up nicely with a bow in just under two hours. There are collectibles, like classic chattering teeth and balloons, but they offer pretty much nothing in terms of rewards. Regardless of how many teeth are broken, finishing the story will still yield a shiny "100%" on the Arkham Missions menu.

Batgirl: A Matter of Family is an admirable effort by the team at WB Montreal, but one that ultimately misses its punch line. Those that have already invested in a Season Pass should definitely take an afternoon to give it a glance, but there's not much else to leave the Batcave for.


These impressions are based on an Xbox One code purchased by the reviewer. Batman: Arkham Knight 'A Matter of Family' is available July 21 on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Store for $6.99. It is also a part of the game's Season Pass, which goes for $39.99. The game is rated M.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

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    July 14, 2015 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Batman: Arkham Knight 'A Matter of Family' impressions - caged bat

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      July 14, 2015 9:54 PM

      That's too bad.

      LOVING Arkham Knight and was considering the Season Pass, but I don't *really* care about the skins (I don't see the point -- I activate them for five minutes and go back to the normal Batman) and if the additional story missions are going to be these 60-90 minute things, I'll save my money and maybe cherry-pick the best of the lot. If there are three story missions and they're all going to be $7, the season pass seems REALLY over-priced.

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        July 14, 2015 11:49 PM

        That's my concern. The first Season Pass offering should be what sets the tone for the rest of the stuff, but this was really lackluster, in my opinion. I'd honestly wait for the Season Pass price to go down or wait on a GOTY edition rather than plunk down $40 if this is how the rest of it's going to be.