Review by stillnotelf

""What's a Nightwing?""

The Nightwing DLC adds Nightwing as a playable character in Riddler's Revenge and Campaigns to Batman: Arkham City. You get two Nightwing skins and new voice clips for Riddler and his thugs. You also get one new Predator and one new Combat map, each set in Wayne Manor, that can be played by any character. Nightwing cannot be played in Story Mode. Note, this review will read very similarly to my Robin review, as the two DLC packs do the same thing with different new characters.

Presentation:
It's hard to grade graphics and sound for a DLC pack that plays as part of a pre-existing game. Nightwing's character model and levels are as well-made as the rest of Arkham City. His added challenge maps in Wayne Manor are very reminiscent of the interior decor of the Arkham Mansion from Arkham Asylum. The Animated skin for Nightwing is minimalistic - much simpler than Catwoman's Animated skin - but nevertheless expressive. The animation quality is superb as expected. There are a few bad animations with respect to his Escrima Sticks: they magically pop into his hands or onto his back at times. (Batman at least has a cape to hide the transitions). There's a GREAT animation when pulling off an air vent at floor level as Nightwing - he gets a grimace on his face that is priceless.

As far as audio goes, there isn't much new. Nightwing himself is disappointingly unvoiced. They only needed 4 or 5 lines; why didn't they do it? The Riddler and thugs get new lines to say while you play as Nightwing, many of which are worth a chuckle. "What's a Nightwing?" "I see Batman sent along a replacement...that's cheating!"

Gameplay - Nightwing Combat:
Nightwing is an interesting playable character. He is faster than Batman and Robin, slower than Catwoman, and unlike Catwoman has a full complement of Quickfire gadgets. Combat is fun and flows similarly to Batman's, although the lack of a Disarm and Destroy move makes some levels much harder. It seems to me that his auto-targeting and timing during FreeFlow combat is a little off, sometimes he'll refuse to perform a move at times Catwoman or Batman would not. His Quickfire gadgets in combat are less powerful than Batman's, but generally much easier to use. He's got Wing-Ding and Escrima Stick (both of which are Batarang analogues), an identical Batclaw, a simple-but-powerful stun Wrist Dart, and a flashy-but-ineffective Electrical Blast. He has the same Special Combo Instant Takedown, but replaces Bat Swarm with Group Attack and Special Combo Ground Takedown with Group Electrify. Each is an area-of-effect attack. Neither is as powerful as Bat Swarm for racking up points, but both have their uses.

Gameplay - Nightwing Predator:
Nightwing is weaker in Predator than Batman, both in terms of ability (he is harder to play) and fun. He has 2/3 the gadgets of Batman. The Escrima Sticks and their ricochet ability is a weak replacement for the Triple Batarang from Arkham Asylum. The Electrical Blast is surprisingly fun to use, although it brings up the question of “Why hit the ground instead of their face?” with the electric shockwave. He does have an advantage in the form of Wrist Darts. You get 3 per challenge and each head shot is an at-distance instant KO. The Wing-Dings (Batarangs), Batclaw, Line Launcher, and Mine Detonator/Firearm Jammer return unmodified. Most of Batman's environmental takedowns are present, excepting Inverted Takedown off Vantage Points.

His Medal challenges are heavily repeated, and there are even Campaigns where the exact same Medal is repeated. He has multiple "Triple" something Medals that require hitting 3 guys at once, or hitting three guys in sequence. The former are overly luck-dependent because Nightwing lacks a Sonic Batarang to lure foes, and they get very frustrating. Overall I was unimpressed with the variety in his Predator Challenges - they did a great job making sure the new gadgets were used, but then they overuse the new Medals too many times.

Gameplay - new maps:
Two new maps come with Nightwing. Both are set in Wayne Manor. The combat map, Wayne Manor Armory, is a large square with the corners removed (or a very fat plus sign) decorated in tasteful wood paneling. You'll fight large waves of TYGER guards with knives and bats. A few are armored. There's no shields or stun prods, probably in deference to Nightwing's lack of Disarm and Destroy. It's a great level for working up huge combos, as Nightwing or one of the other characters. It gets pretty crowded with targets on the later stages.

Wayne Manor Main Hall is a Predator Challenge. The map is enormous compared to most Predator maps, although the reliance on air ducts means escape isn't always as fast as you like. Many side rooms are dead ends if you're in a hurry due to the air duct covers (not a problem if you're Catwoman). The level has tightropes strung across the ceiling, which makes for different vertical escape dynamics than Vantage Points usually do. Nightwing gets a cool Knock Knock medal on this map for distracting a foe with a Wing Ding and then getting the KO while they look the other way.

Achievements:
This may be a little low, but I'm going to complain about the Achievements. Batman gets 140 points' worth of Achievements for doing the challenge maps and campaigns. Nightwing has to do MORE maps (his DLC is added), and only gets 50 points for the whole thing. There's one 25 point Achievement each for finishing the single maps and the campaigns. Why not split it up into bronze/silver/gold like for Batman? Why not add achievements like those for using all moves in a combo, using all Quickfire gadgets in a combo, or reaching a really high combo?

Value:
As of this writing, Nightwing costs 7$.
* If you want a couple of quick Achievements, pass. You'll spend many hours perfecting strategies for the Predator Challenges.
* If you don't like the Combat and Predator challenges, pass - that's all there is! No plot to be seen here.
* If you are just interested in the new maps, pass. They aren't worth that much, and there's no Extreme versions.
* If you like the challenges and want a new character with which to do it all over again, go for it!

Summary:

+ good animation quality, graphic quality
+ interesting selection of new moves and gadgets

o new lines for Riddler and thugs, but not for Nightwing?
o Why is Disarm and Destroy missing?

- boring Achievements
- repetitive Predator Medals
- some evidence for a bug in FreeFlow targeting
- no Extreme map remixes on new maps - the huge Wayne Manor Main Hall is wasted

It's hard to assign a numeric score to this outside of the context of a wider game. I'm going to go with 7, which GameFAQs assigns as “Good – a few problems, but worth the time to play”


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/13/12, Updated 05/14/12

Game Release: Batman: Arkham City - Nightwing Bundle Pack (US, 11/01/11)


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