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Is Batman: Arkham Knight's 'A Matter Of Family' DLC Worth Your Time?

by Andrew Reiner on Jul 15, 2015 at 03:31 PM

Batman: Arkham Knight's first significant story DLC, A Matter of Family, is available today exclusively for season pass holders. If you didn't throw down the big bucks for the season pass, you'll have to wait until July 21 to download it. A Matter of Family is a prequel story to Arkham Asylum that places Batgirl in the starring role against a healthy and ever-vocal Joker. The DLC will retail for $6.99.

Given where your interests in the Arkham games lie, A Matter of Family is fairly cut and dry as to whether you should play it or not. If Arkham's story doesn't interest you, and you simply play these games to experience cool Batman action moments, no, you shouldn't waste your time with this DLC. Developer WB Montreal can be commended for creating a wonderfully realized version of Batgirl, who is resourceful and capable of striking fear into Joker's henchmen, but the mission she embarks on lacks creativity and ranks among the Arkham series' worst.

She's asked to rescue her father, Commissioner Gordon, from an abandoned amusement park built off of Gotham's coast on an oil rig-like structure. The amusement park is a snapshot of twisted beauty showing a Ferris wheel on fire, a giant shark attraction in ruin, and aged balloon creations looming ominously in the night's sky. Unfortunately, outside of making a great snapshot, there isn't much life to be found in this park. The attractions are oddly silent, and there isn't much real estate to explore. The park is small, and the few interior sections don't offer anything significant to see.

The missions are scattered in key sectors across the park, but mostly play out as small fist-fights or predator sequences. Only one fight in the game (which you can see in our Test Chamber episode) lasted more than a few seconds and offered any degree of difficulty. Batgirl bounces from one fight to the next, occasionally teams up with Robin for tag team maneuvers, hacks doors numerous times, and eventually squares off against Joker and Harley Quinn, who is in her original Animated Series attire.

If you wish Arkham Knight had classic boss fights, you're in luck. The Joker battle pushes Batgirl to beat the snot out of Joker, and then rapidly tap on buttons in a scripted sequence numerous times. Once his health meter is depleted, the player is treated to an amusing Joker story moment, and then Batgirl is thrown back into the world to mop up the side content, which includes destroying balloons, presents, and rattling teeth. These activities can be taken down in a matter of minutes and are as uneventful and flighty as the core story.

But that isn't all this DLC offers. If you're a fan of Arkham's lore, and want to absorb all of its interesting plot points, A Matter of Family offers a secret tale most gamers will probably never see, as it is tied to minigames scattered across the park. These bonus objectives are not well telegraphed and can easily be overlooked, even if you're trying to complete all of the side content. One example is figuring out how to swing a hammer hard enough to hit a bell. If you can solve this riddle of sorts, you are rewarded with an audio recording that tells of the amusement park's origin story. This is where A Matter of Family offers something new and interesting for Arkham fans. The audio story of Edward Burke is twisted and dark and sheds new light on one of the series' mainstays.

A Matter of Family is worth playing for this small story slice, and to see Batgirl in her prime, but is ultimately an uneventful hour with the Joker. Again, if you love this series' storytelling, give it a look. If you are here for the gameplay, don't bother playing it.

Originally published July 14, 2015.