Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy

Jack the Ripper,” recently released by Ubisoft, is how you do expansion pack DLC: taking the world of “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” and expanding it with interesting character, mechanics and a standalone story. While “Batman: Arkham Knight” is undeniably a better game than “Syndicate” (and one of my favorite games of 2015), its DLC has been a bit lackluster. The slam against story-based DLC is that it too often feels like one of two things, neither good: 1.) Either it’s content that’s interesting enough that they should have just included it in the full game OR 2.) It’s content that feels like it was cut from the full game for a good reason. “Season of Infamy,” the newest DLC for “Batman: Arkham Knight is the latter, a series of four “Most Wanted” missions that feel nearly incomplete at times, almost like they were rough drafts for story missions in the main game that were just discarded at some point.

The four villains that comprise the “Season of Infamy” missions are Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, League of Assassins and Killer Croc. As a massive “Arkham” fan and a Dark Knight fan going back about three decades, I loved seeing Mad Hatter and Killer Croc in this world, but, again, the missions all feel truncated and simplified. Hardcore fans will love working with Nightwing to take down Killer Croc and I’d sign a petition to get Mad Hatter into the next “Arkham” game, but this is faint praise.

The four missions are called “Beneath the Surface,” “In From the Cold,” “Wonderland,” and “Shadow War.” I started with “Wonderland,” in which the Mad Hatter has turned himself in to GCPD. Mighty suspicious. He will only speak to Batman himself, and so he goes to interrogate, learning that there are three officers trapped around the city. So, you start by having to search Gotham for three tied-up officers. Boring. It gets better after you find ‘em as Mad Hatter starts his hallucinatory thing, but I was annoyed early on in “Season of Infamy” when I couldn’t find the third officer for an annoyingly long time.

Moving on to “Shadow War,” I discovered a crime scene on the top of a building, which included the bodies of two League Assassins, with evidence that a third got away. You have to track the third using Detective Mode to find a blood trail. Again, annoyed. It gets better when you get to the Hospital and find the great Ra’s al Ghul, who the League is trying to resuscitate.

My favorite mission was the third that I chose, “Beneath the Surface,” in which the Iron Heights Penitentiary airship has crashed into the bay. The prisoners have escaped and you get to unleash some old-fashioned “Arkham” melee, eventually taking you to a great battle with Killer Croc. Although even getting there requires an annoying fetch element in which you have to leave the airship, find some key cards, and then come back.

Finally, there’s the most stealth-required mission, “In From the Cold,” in which you discover that Mr. Freeze has taken a ship as bait for Batman. Defeat his militia and you’ll learn that he’s been tasked with bringing in Batman to keep his love Nora in cryostasis. I love Mr. Freeze, so that aspect is fun, but the design of some of the stealth missions here was frustrating and repetitive.

Every time that I see that “Arkham Knight” is getting new DLC, I get a little excited. It’s one of the few 2015 games that I actually completed to near-100% status (there are still a few Riddler trophies floating), so I clearly loved it. And yet even I can’t recommend “Season of Infamy,” DLC that feels more like it plays to the critics of this game more than its fans.