Gotham Hath No Fury...
[**GR ALERT** Major spoilers about the ending of Arkham City. Seriously, turn back now if you don't want to know that Batman and Joker are identical twins separated at birth who struggle daily to contain their explosive sexual chemistry. Okay, just kidding. But not about about the spoilers part. For realsies. Read no further lest you have the awesome ending to Arkham City ruined for yourself.]
Ms. Harleen Quinzel has always been cat bag crazy. At least, ever since she fell madly in love (quite literally) with the Joker. As a character, her doomed relationship with Gotham's most famous funnyman has always defined her. She is a portrait of the madness love can drive us to when it's given to someone who isn't worthy of it and is never truly returned. Underneath the scandalous, fetishistic get-ups and the sassy bravado is a person broken by misguided love. It's these qualities that make her both magnetic and pitiable. She is one of my favorite characters in all of comics.
And now I get to punch her! Wooohoooo! Harley Quinn's Revenge is the latest piece of DLC for last year's outstanding Batman: Arkham City and so far it looks like a meaningful extension to the game's narrative. I got to play around a third of what I was told would be a 2-3 hour experience, and not only is it of the same quality as the core game, but it als gives the player more face time with both Harley and Robin, the Boy Wonder.
That's right, Tim Drake himself busts out of the challenge mode and onto the grand stage of Arkham City's story mode in this expansion. He makes the transition well, with his hooded cape and battle staff lending him an air of badassery that most people don't associate with the character. Though he made a brief appearance during the full game, this represents the first time he's been fully playable and free to roam the city proper. True DC comics fans, who know that this character isn't the joke that mainstream media has misrepresented him as (damn you, Joel Schumacher!) will be pleased to hear that the team at Rocksteady have treated him like the hero he truly is. My time with him was brief, but it left me hopeful that we'll get to see into him and his complex relationship with the Bat in a way we haven't in previous games.
But you won't be spending all of your time as Robin. The bulk of it will be spent as Batman as he tries to bring down Harley and her newly minted gang of thugs. See, since the death of Joker at the end of Arkham City, she just hasn't been the same psycho-go-lucky clown girl we've come to know and adore. For all her over-the-top antics, the Arkham games have been very good about driving home the character's central point: She is truly, and irrevocably in love with the Joker. Losing him has devastated her and she isn't playing games any longer. Bent on revenge, she's laid a trap for the Dark Knight, one he will gladly spring for the chance to bring her to justice and close down Arkham City for good.
Playing Harley Quinn's Revenge feels just like being plopped into the late game of Arkham City. There isn't any hand-holding or slow gadget ramp-up, so you are essentially going full bore from the first jump. You'll face big battles with mixed groups of enemies, set up crime scenes, and glide about town just like you would in the full game. If I didn't know it was DLC, I would have assumed it was just a part of the game I never played through.
It's easy for content like this to feel tacked on, but in this case, it feels organic and genuine. While it doesn't bring any new gameplay elements to the table, I can't wait to play through the rest. Seeing more interaction between Batman and Robin, and of course, seeing just how mad losing the love of her life has driven Harley are reason enough for me to plop down $9.99 for it when it hits on May 29th, available separately as DLC or as a part of the Game of the Year edition.