So, how does Batman: Arkham City fare a year on from release? Incredibly well, to say the least. I still don’t regret awarding the title my Game Of The Year 2011 honours, as the narrative remains one of the most intelligently structured I have seen a video game, the game play engine itself still a pinnacle of the action-adventure combat genre, and above all the level of balance between intricate fan service and player rewards throughout the game remains absolutely staggering.
I’m not just writing this review to reassess this masterpiece of a game, though. Instead, I’m rating the Game Of The Year Edition as a new product released in the Autumn Of Gaming DLC. The question is this, then- what extras do we get in the package? For one, the various costume and arena DLC packs, ranging from the inclusion of characters like Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing in the Challenge Maps to the use of Wayne Manor and the Batcave, even to Batman’s Sinestro Corps costume which PS3 owners could once gain exclusively via the Green Lantern movie Blu-Ray. It’s testament to the level of Rocksteady Studios’ dedication that they have given us all of this bonus content in the course of just the twelve months after release, and it speaks wonders for the potential of wherever they take their incarnation of the Batman franchise in future instalments to come.
What stands as the highlight of the newly updated package, though, is the Harley Quinn’s Revenge campaign expansion. Released as a solo DLC pack on XBLA and PSN in the Summer, this new set of story missions takes place after the events of the main campaign, with Batman still reeling from the deaths of (SPOILERS) the Joker and Talia Al Ghul and Harley Quinn attempting to avenge her love with a new murder campaign before the cordoned-off section of Gotham is shut down for good. Switching between the Dark Knight and his ally Robin, you’ll discover the extents to which both Quinn and Bruce Wayne have been affected by the demise of the Clown Prince, a truly gratifying experience which deeply broadens the effect of the harrowing climax to the main campaign.
Having this masterful extra piece of campaign content included in the GOTY package still makes it one of the most must-have releases brought to retail in 2012. Batman: Arkham City remains one of the best video games I have ever seen, a true development on Arkham Asylum that both respects and shifts DC lore to produce one of the most fitting comic-book narratives of all time. If you didn’t catch the game or the DLC packs upon their initial release, with Batman Arkham City: Game Of The Year Edition you have your best chance yet. Got a WiiU? The Armoured Edition contains all of the DLC too along with cool GamePad functionality, so it’s well worth a shot in that respect additionally.