Opinion: The DLC Batman Arkham Knight Sorely Needs

The Batman: Arkham Knight DLC has put us in the face-kicking boots of Harley Quinn, Red Hood and Batgirl, but somehow we're left wanting more. Nate delves into the Batman universe to uncover the DLC Arkham Knight needs to truly make an impressive finale.

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Arkham Knight, Arkham Origins, and Arkham Origins: Blackgate

Rocksteady’s epic finale Batman: Arkham Knight isn’t even a month old but that hasn’t stopped the developer from rolling out the post-launch DLC. In addition to the Harley Quinn and Red Hood story episodes that players got for pre-ordering the game, season pass owners can now play through a third episode starring Barbara Gordon as her pre-Oracle time fighting as Batgirl. Next month will see the release of a retro DLC pack that includes classic costumes for Batman and others. As exciting as these new DLC releases are, they’re not quite what I expected from Rocksteady and I’m here today to share with you the DLC additions I hope to see for Arkham Knight in the coming months.

A Proper Challenge Mode

As deep as Arkham Knight’s main story campaign and side-quests might be, the accompanying AR missions are disappointingly shallow. Unlike the challenge modes of past Arkham games, which have a great deal of variety, these AR missions offer a rather paltry selection of combat, predator, racing, and tank combat challenges. Even worse, with the exception of one combat challenge that features Batman and Nightwing and another that stars Azreal (who barely counts as a different character), all of the AR missions force you to play as the Dark Knight.

The problem is further compounded by the lack of replay value for the DLC story episodes and the inability to switch to other heroes in the main campaign. Sure, it’s fun to play as Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Red Hood the first one or two times, but the novelty wears off quickly. Not getting to play as Nightwing, Robin, and Catwoman whenever we want in the main story just screams “missed opportunity.” Rocksteady really needs to add in a challenge mode for Arkham Knight that not only offers a deeper selection of combat and predator maps, but also lets us take the role of all characters - Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Nightwing, Azreal, Batgirl, Harley, and Red Hood.

A Deathstroke Story Episode

Seeing Deathstroke show up near the end of Arkham Knight’s main campaign was a fun surprise, since the one-eyed assassin is one of my favorite DC characters, and I always felt his presence in Arkham Origins was seriously underwhelming. However, I was once again treated to a hearty helping of disappointment as the final “showdown” between Batman and Deathstroke was basically just a blow-for-blow repeat of the earlier vehicle-based tank battle with the Arkham Knight. There’s no epic hand-to-hand showdown, no multi-tiered boss encounter, just a repetitive round of tank hide-and-seek that leads directly into Deathstroke’s capture.

Deathstroke deserves his own playable story episode. Not only would this make up for his lackluster appearance in the main campaign, but it could also act as a prequel story that explains how Deathstroke ended up joining forces with Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight. Since Deathstroke is already playable in Arkham Origins, Rocksteady probably wouldn’t have to try very hard to port his playable version over to Arkham Knight, and would fit perfectly into a proper challenge mode. My one request is that he be given a new and totally unique set of combat animations instead of his Arkham Origins move-set, which basically made him a cut-and-paste of Arkham City’s Robin.

The Court of Owls Comes Calling

As for new story-based DLC content, I can’t think of a more fitting addition than the highly-revered Court of Owls Batman comic arc. The two-volume series tells the tale of the mysterious Court of Owls syndicate, which has quietly steered the major happenings in Gotham for centuries. When Batman uncovers the Court’s plot to trap the city in its shadowy grip for good, he and his allies must work quickly to deal with a threat unlike anything they’ve faced before.

This amazing story arc could be presented either as a prequel or a sequel to the events of Arkham Knight, and it could also present another opportunity for players to explore Gotham as one of the different characters. I’m hopeful that the shallow DLC story episodes we’ve gotten so far are merely a prelude to a much deeper experience and one centered around the Court of Owls would be the perfect way to reinvigorate interest in the game.

Suicide Squad Assemble!

Those who beat Arkham Origins and waited through the game’s end credits were treated to an Easter egg: Deathstroke, incarcerated in Blackgate after his earlier run-in with Batman, being visited by Amanda Waller and offered a chance to join a new squad she was forming, an offer he seemed to accept. DC aficionados likely recognized Waller as the founder and handler of the Suicide Squad, a misfit band of DC criminals who undertake dangerous black ops missions in order to reduce their prison sentence. Several prominent Batman villains, including Harley Quinn and Deadshot, have served as key members of the Suicide Squad. Fans thought the teaser meant a full-blown Suicide Squad game was in the works.

Those rumors have since fizzled out with many fans assuming the Arkham Origins tease was merely hinting at the later-released Batman: Assault on Arkham animated film, which features the Suicide Squad in a starring role and is set in the same universe as the Arkham games. However, the mere fact that the Suicide Squad has been established as existing in the Arkham universe means that it could make an appearance in future Arkham Knight DLC. The Arkham Origins: Blackgate cinematics show an Arkham universe’s version of the Squad includes Bronze Tiger and Deadshot, and the Arkham Knight prequel comic confirmed that Harley Quinn and Killer Croc have also been recruited. Having the Squad show up in Arkham Knight could be another fun story treat for fans and could also open up some interesting gameplay opportunities.

Setting the Squad’s main task as breaking Deathstroke (who presumably took Waller’s offer) out of the GCPD could easily tie into my playable Deathstroke suggestion, and who would say no to the idea of getting to control both Deathstroke and Harley Quinn teaming together for more brutal dual takedowns? If anything, a Suicide Squad-focused DLC would help to build hype for the upcoming movie, something which I doubt Warner Bros. would be adverse to.

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