Bucking the widespread trend of questionable, overpriced and nigh worthless DLC, Rocksteady’s post release support of this year’s excellent Batman: Arkham Knight has been nothing short of a perfect example of modern additional content done right. Though I initially scoffed at the 30 dollar asking price for the game’s “Season Pass” (as i’m sure a lot of people did), I have to admit that Rocksteady has lived up to that investment and offered a steady stream of quality downloads, including costumes and Batmobile skins, highly enjoyable race tracks for said ‘mobile, challenge maps and “Arkham Episodes”, short but highly entertaining levels starring the main game’s supporting cast, that has kept the game in non stop rotation on my ‘box since it’s June release.
The final huge chunk of DLC dropped last week, and it’s almost a whole new game’s worth of content unto itself. Unlike the Arkham Episodes which are selected separately from the main menu, Season of Infamy integrates seamlessly into the main game via a wholly separate mission wheel, allowing the player to choose between pursuit of the game’s four new villains, Mad Hatter, Ra’s Al Ghul, Mr. Freeze and Killer Croc.
Mild spoilers ahead:
Everybody’s favorite Johnny Depp superfan (just kidding), Jervis Tech AKA The Mad Hatter is back and this time kidnapping cops and hiding them all over the city in the trunks of their own squad cars. Of course it’s up to Batman to find them, even though Jervis is already in custody at GCPD, he’s typically only good for cryptic, rhyming clues. You’ll think this one is a little bit disappointing, just a milquetoast fetch quest, until the end when Rocksteady dials up the weird and delivers what might be the most visually arresting and interesting hallucination sequence in all of the series. Seriously, it’s that cool.
There’s a civil war brewing within the League of Assassins, loyalists to Ra’s Al Ghul want to resurrect the demon’s head once more but they are opposed by a rebellion led by his daughter Nyssa. Will Batman side with his psychotic one-time mentor or the more level headed sister of his beloved, dearly departed Talia? This is the only new mission that fell a little flat for me, as most of it involves the seemingly endless tracking of a rebel ninja’s blood stains across Gotham’s rooftops. Still, this game’s missions are kind of like pizza, even when they aren’t great they’re still pretty good.
IN FROM THE COLD
In my favorite of the missions, the defeated Arkham Knight’s scattered militia decides to kidnap Victor Fries’ beloved Nora (cryogenic tank and all) to blackmail him into joining their cause against the Dark Knight, with Batman himself stepping in to right that wrong and defend the innocent (this time anyway) Mr. Freeze. This one seriously pulls at the heartstrings and makes for a perfect bookend to the classic Animated Series episode Heart of Ice. Longtime bat fans shouldn’t miss it.
BENEATH THE SURFACE
Offering a whole new small scale Metroidvania/Resident Evil-y level to explore in the crashed Iron Heights Penitentiary, Beneath the Surface is definitely the most complicated and involved of the new missions. The nightmarish supermax prison aboard a zeppelin crashes down in Gotham Bay due to an escape attempt by it’s newest prisoner, Killer Croc. A teamup with Nightwing and a refreshingly traditional boss encounter (due to the main game’s questionably reactionary lack of them) with the grotesquely mutated Waylon Jones are the highlights here. Great stuff.
Season of Infamy refines a winning formula and delivers some of the best missions in Arkham Knight in general and the Arkham Series as a whole. Don’t miss out on Rocksteady’s master class in post release content and what should be the measuring stick for future such endeavors in the years to come.