I’m going to be straight with you guys: I freakin’ adored Batman: Arkham Knight. Yes, the game was a massive mess on PC but for everyone else who played it on a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, it was sublime. There’s so many moments in that game, that make it simply the best of the Arkham bunch. Sure, certain Batmobile sections may feel tacked on, but when you step back and see how much Rocksteady’s final caped crusader game got right when compared to a few missteps here and there, the good easily outshines the bad.
And that’s because the core game, is just so damn good. As a Dark Knight simulator, Batman: Arkham Knight was immensely satisfying. All the gadgets, moves and a Batmobile combined into one billionaire who fights the root cause of crime and poverty by shattering the teeth inside the face of anyone who dares to even illegally cross a street in his city. Perfection.
And then there’s the DLC. The season pass content of Arkham Knight is more divided than Harvey Dent’s face and personality, a mix of fan service and the lacklustre. On the more pristine side of the former district attorney, you’ve got a mix of fantastic AR challenges, races, costumes and modifiers. Good stuff then, and the kind of content I’d like to see more of.
And then on the horribly burnt side of the former Batman buddy for life, you’ve got the story content. Content which is the Batman & Robin to the superb The Dark Knight of the core game. Twenty-minute episodes of middling action and returns that puts players in the boots of the rest of the Gotham City vigilantes, with only Batgirl’s single outing being worthwhile due to it having the distinct saving grace of being “not that crap”.
And that’s the problem with this kind of DLC. After spending several hours as the ultimate combination of man, money and machine, who the hell wants to play as Robin or the Red Hood and face bad guys with a slimmed-down arsenal of wonderful toys? That’s like EA announcing Jedi Knight 3: Jedi Hard With A Vengeance and then forcing you to play as Jar Jar Binks in the season pass DLC.
Season of infamy makes up for that however as it sends Rocksteady’s (perhaps last) Batman off with the kind of DLC content that puts the others to shame. This time you’re tackling cases as the Dark Knight once again as you uncover more of Gotham’s most wanted during the Arkham Knight and Scarecrow siege. Easy and simple.
And for once, it’s not just a quick bit of fan service focused on one villain. Instead, you’ve got four Arkham regulars to deal with: Killer Croc, the Mad Hatter, Mr Freeze and Ra’s Al Ghul. It’s the combination of this quartet that plays out like a highlight reel of the best moments of the Arkham series. With the Mad hatter, you’ve got a few quick puzzles and some mind-bending combat to deal with as players find themselves battling across a gigantic storybook of Lewis Carroll inspirations.
With Killer Croc, excpect tighter exploration and more visceral combat as you make your way through the grounded Iron Heights prison airship. Ra’s Al Ghul has survived the events of Arkham City and now looks like a walking advert for the after-effects of Redbull energy drink abuse as you contend with a rebel faction of the League of Assassins.
And then there’s Mr Freeze. The most tragic member of the Batman rogues gallery, Mr Freeze has always been a victim of circumstance. A frozen felon driven by the desire to cure his wife Nora Fries of some rare medical malignancy, Mr Freeze has always felt like a sad extreme of love gone wrong. And while Mr Freeze is present in his Most Wanted mission, he’s not the bad guy here. He doesn’t want to fight you for something as trivial as the soul of Gotham or petty cash. He just wants to save his wife.
On its own, the Freeze episode isn’t much longer than any of the preceding Arkham Knight episodes that built up the DLC content for most of Arkham Knight, but it’s massively satisfying to see Batman’s cold-hearted cryogenics expert get some much-needed closure – as well as see Batman: Arkham Knight wrap up on at least one post-launch high note.