Hot on the heels of the Nightwing DLC pack comes the Robin DLC pack for Batman: Arkham City. Once again we get a new playable character for Riddler’s Revenge, plus two more challenge maps.
The Nightwing DLC pack offered a fresh extension to an already massively replayable game. As enjoyable as it was playing though the challenge maps as the grown-up Dick Grayson, the Nightwing character was little more than a hybrid, with abilities somewhere between Batman and Catwoman. Even the two challenge maps included in the Nightwing DLC were very similar to the other maps included in the game.
The Robin DLC offers players a little more to chew on and it’s obvious as to why this comparatively meaty pack followed the Nightwing offering. If Nightwing was the entrée, Robin is the metaphorical main course.
The Robin DLC obviously includes Batman’s sidekick, Robin as a playable character and once again, I wish he wasn’t just constrained to the challenge maps. Included in the pack are two extra Robin character skins, the first being the rather snazzy cartoon Robin (in my opinion the best looking of the cell-shaded cartoon skins offered so far) and the other being Red Robin, an alter-ego that has been used as an alternative identity by all three incarnations of Robin.
This version of Robin (and most probably Red Robin as well) is Tim Drake, the third person in the Batman mythology to take the moniker. The first was Dick Grayson (who became Nightwing), the second was Jason Todd (who was killed by The Joker and subsequently resurrected years later).
The pack includes two challenge maps. Black Mask is a fairly generic predator map in an industrial/factory setting. As well as the usual perches, the map also features some walls to blow up and few ventilation ducts to keep things interesting.
The second map is the combat map, Freight Train, which provides us with the most radical departure from the usual template. The best description of the map would be to compare it to the old sideways-scrolling fighting games from back in the day, like Kung Fu Master. Robin (or Batman/Catwoman/Nightwing) must make his way along the moving train, taking out enemies as he goes. The linear and constraining combat areas provide a nice change from the usual fare.
Robin also has quite a tasty array of gadgets at his disposal. Like Nightwing, Robin doesn’t rely on fisticuffs; instead thug are dealt a good hiding courtesy of Robin’s staff, which can also turn into a bullet shield. The bullet shield provides some protection against bullets and can also be used to bash foes. Snap flashes are little devices that can be attached to stunned enemies and detonated at will. Robin’s batarangs are called shuriken and come in the regular and remote controlled varieties. Other staples of Batman’s armoury are also available to Robin such as the zip line, explosive gel and smoke pellets. Unlike Nightwing, Robin’s cloak gives him Batman’s ability to glide, allowing for some very satisfying long-distance aerial takedowns.
I think it’s also fair to say that Robin is more of his own man than Nightwing. Not only did I find that he felt more responsive in combat, he didn’t feel quite so derivative. Instead Robin provides an experience that embodies the best of the other playable characters.
The Robin DLC is a step up from the Nightwing pack. It’s a real shame Robin can’t take to the rooftops of Arkham City. Again, at 500 MS Points it is a bit steep for what you get, but, if you love Batman: Arkham City as much as I do you are going to want to buy it just to extend your experience.
Lasting appeal: 9.5