Sunday, 15 July 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Harley Quinnfestation

See what I did there? Infestation / Quinnfestation...bah, never mind.

I'm double Harley Quinn-ing with this Bat Freak so if you don't like brash blonde broads you better click away now!

Harley Quinn Freak #1

Hands up who was gutted that Converse offered their Riddler designs in men's and boys' shoes only? *hands up* Well I'm still gutted but it looks like female fans are finally getting their own back with these beauties:

Also available for female DC fans are Catwoman and Joker (exclusive to Schuh) and Wonder Woman. Blokes get their pick from Batman, Joker and Superman. The pretty cool thing about both Joker Converses is that instead of the trademark black line a line of HA HA HAs runs round the sole.

If you're more a fan of Jamie Hewlett you'll be pleased to know there is also a range of Gorillaz inspired Converses available from all Converse stockists.

Edit: I noticed a lot of American visitors for this post. All shoes featured are already available to buy in the UK however American readers will have to wait till September.

Harley Quinn Freak #2

The other recently released Harley Quinn product to brighten my week has been Arkham City's first story based DLC Harley Quinn's Revenge.

For those of you who are new to Internet enabled console gaming DLC stands for 'downloadable content' and are game add-ons such as extra quests, stories, characters or costumes. Often a game will come with a code for a free DLC unique to the shop you bought it from or the console you use to play - later it will become available (usually at a price) for everyone.

Physical copies of Arkham City came with a variety of DLCs however all were for the challenge maps (either to play as Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing instead of Batman or extra challenge maps themselves), which, if you don't like beating people up purely to get on a leader board, are pointless. A further DLC was a costume pack for Batman. This was exciting and new when Rocksteady did it for Arkham Asylum however with everyone now supplementing their games with DLCs and the challenge rooms only appealing to a certain kind of gamer, the Arkham City DLCs, to be frank, were a bit of a let down. Rocksteady had seemed to have forgotten that not only would 'gamers' be buying Arkham City but Batman fans...and Batman fans want story.

So thank you thank you thank you for Harley Quinn's Revenge!

Harley Quinn's Revenge happens two weeks after the events of Arkham City and features Robin going into AC to rescue Batman from the grieving, angry Harley. It offers players the chance to play as both Batman and Robin (including his own set of gadgets and moves), a new area to explore and a whole new bunch of special Harley Quinn thugs to battle.

Harley Quinn is also sporting a new design. There are lots of tributes to old school Harley (her thugs' designs, the redecoration of the industrial area) however Harley herself looks like something between her Arkham City costume and her Whorey Quinn New 52 design (great way to demean one of the only strong female villains you had DC!) with a whole lot of black. 'Mourning' Harley Quinn is probably the most removed Harley Quinn design to date nearly completely removing her red and black motif, adding fur and replacing her mask with gothic / emo make-up and a veil. It works as a sexy character design and in the world of the story (she is in mourning) however she most definitely looks nothing like a harlequin anymore. I'm all for revamping characters but I do worry that in general Harley Quinn is well on the way to being redesigned out of all recognition and becoming nothing more than a characterless wet dream...but like I said - in this instance it works:

Harley Quinn's Revenge contains about six hours worth of play with a production quality and attention to detail almost the same as the main game (however I did find a few bugs). The difficulty setting is about a medium / normal and you start the game with a different amount of HP than the one you may have built up as Batman in the main game (which I actually found quite frustrating). There is a side mission of bursting balloons however you must burst them all within the span of the story as the game resets on completion (also slightly frustrating).

As a Batman and Harley Quinn fan Harley Quinn's Revenge definitely has bigger appeal and replay value to me than the challenge rooms however including it as a coda to the main game rather than a side mission (such as the Zsasz and Riddler side missions) does lessen its replay appeal slightly. Despite this I whole heartedly recommend it and I hope Rocksteady will release more story based DLC to the Arkham City world!

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