Batman: Arkham Knight closed out the Rocksteady Studios trilogy with arguably the best entry in the franchise, thanks to a superb story, fun combat, and excellent implementation of the Batmobile. Less than a month later, the first piece of the Arkham Knight Season Pass is here with a prequel story DLC in A Matter of Family.
The A Matter of Family DLC focuses on a younger Barbara Gordon, before she was shot by Joker and left paralyzed, a moment we saw recreated in Arkham Knight. Taking place even before Arkham Asylum, this is the first time we’ve seen Barbara as Batgirl in the series.
Within a relatively self contained story from any of the previous games, Joker has captured Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl must track her father down to save him. Rather than thrusting players into a section of the existing Gotham City from Arkham Knight, the DLC puts them in a pretty neat amusement park setting instead, which looks great.
The area is quite small, with the gameplay here feeling reminiscent of the Ace Chemicals section of Arkham Knight. Batgirl must find hostages in a few areas of the map that are found through an initial scan. Bombs also pop up and must be handled between, making everything quite predictable overall. That is not to say it isn’t a lot of fun, but it would have been nice to see something that was more built to make Batgirl standout instead, which the weapon set certainly didn’t help with.
Batgirl is essentially a clone of early game Batman, with very few tools in her arsenal. She has her trusty batarangs, batclaw, line launcher, explosive gel, and smoke pellet, but nothing is more vital with her than the Remote Hacking Device. This makes sense, with Barbara being a major computer whiz, leading to her becoming Oracle later.
The Remote Hacking Devices are utilized much more often here than with Batman, with them even being tied into combat in some ways. Batman was able to use the devices to blow up electronic devices or distract enemies, but Batgirl can also use them to scare groups of enemies. This allows her to use her equivalent of the fear takedowns as well.
This Arkham Knight DLC really would have been more effective if Batgirl was given special tools of some sort that were distinctly hers. It might have been a lot of trouble for just one DLC pack, but it would have definitely prevented her from feeling like a lesser Batman clone. Regardless, the DLC manages to use each of the minimal gadgets in good fashion throughout.
One of the best things that A Matter of Family does do is include Robin quite a bit, using the dual-player combat that was sprinkled within Arkham Knight very sparingly. This all culminates in a boss battle that takes advantage of the mechanic and is a lot of fun as an endcap to the very short story.
decent follow-up for anybody that needs more Arkham
Throughout the DLC, Batgirl looks perfectly designed while in action, making it even more disappointing that she is stuck only to this DLC. There are no AR missions or anything added and while she doesn’t really play any differently from Batman, it would have been a nice option to use her a little more.
For the completionists, there are a few side quests hidden within the DLC as well, which can provide you with two trophies. The first one has you searching for Teeth and Balloons to destroy, as well as Jack-in-the-boxes to find and open.
The other is more rewarding, as there are four mini-games around the park that you can find and activate through hacking. By completing each, you will get an audio recording that tells the dark twisted story of Edward Burke. After completing all four, there is an area with a fifth recording that is accessible which provides another trophy.
The A Matter of Family DLC clocks in at around an hour of playtime for the main story, with it extending a little bit if you go for the aforementioned trophies that likely very few will care about. For only $6.99, you can’t really complain much about the length, but it still feels quite short in the long run, especially with it having no replay value at all.
Batman: Arkham Knight – A Matter of Family is definitely a worthy addition to the Arkham universe, by giving players their first chance to use Batgirl. Playing just like Batman in the early stages of Arkham Knight itself, Batgirl is missing something in combat that makes her feel distinct in any way from Batman though. The story itself is solid and utilizing Robin allowed for some great banter between the two, along with a great final boss fight for the duo. At such a cheap price point, A Matter of Family is a decent follow-up for anybody that needs more Arkham, but the complete lack of replay value will make this one very forgettable in the long run.
Batman: Arkham Knight - A Matter of Family DLC
- Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive
- Developed By: WB Games Montreal
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- US Release Date: July 14th, 2015
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Quote: "A Matter of Family lets players take control of Batgirl for the first time, but still feels very familiar. Though very short, the experience is still fun and it's hard to go wrong with more Arkham."
- Batgirl looks great in action
- Amusement park setting is uniquely designed
- Solid self-contained story
- Very short
- Batgirl plays exactly like early game Batman