Set before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum, comes an adventure featuring Batgirl before her incident that left her paralyzed and forced to become Oracle. Batgirl: A Matter of Family takes place on a confined island that has Gotham City looming in the distance, not all that unlike Arkham Asylum. Though, what gadgets you start with in A Matter of Family, is what you end with. Lasting only an hour and some change, the short time spent playing as Batgirl goes by too quickly for it to be a meaningful add-on, and is a shame for being Batgirl’s debut in Rocksteady’s series.
The introduction to Batgirl: A Matter Of Family is seemingly a great setup: Commissioner Gordon’s been taken hostage by the Joker, and his life is being threatened. Joker’s also guaranteed that Gordon will be killed if Batman is spotted. So, Batgirl and Robin have teamed up to save Commissioner Gordon and stop Joker. After an explosive situation, one is sure to believe that Batgirl will be left to save her father on her lonesome. However, that’s not the case here, she’s not actually alone as the title insinuates. In fact, much of this DLC is so dependent on Robin in combat scenarios, defusing bombs, and even taking on the duo of Harley Quinn and Joker themselves, that you wonder why it wasn’t just called Batgirl and Robin: A Matter of Family instead.
It’s not a crime that Robin is included, because much of the teamwork moves are an incredible sight and still provide a great variety in the combat that we’re accustomed to from the main story of Arkham Knight. Except, there’s so much of it here. Almost every encounter, every situation, Barbara (Batgirl) is in communication with Tim (Robin) about meeting up or what the current status is. It’s just a shame a DLC about Batgirl doesn’t have the focus or attention it should have had.
The number of objectives in this DLC can be counted on one hand. Batgirl will save sets of hostages through combat and predator challenges, and then move on. There’s nothing unusual here, save for the fact that the Joker has setup bombs, and only Batgirl has the tool to disarm them. So there will be times where you have to engage in combat, then use the hacking tool to unscramble the right password to prevent the explosion while a timer ticks down. It’s wash, rinse, repeat on this formula to get to the end.
This DLC is not without its secrets to find. There are a number of chatterboxes, balloons, and jack-in-the-boxes to find and destroy, just like what Batman could find in Arkham Asylum. These can be done after the DLC is completed, and there are tons of respawning goons to fight as well (to help with completing certain trophies). They really want to hammer home the feeling of that first game here. And for the most part, it does feel that way, if that game were condensed to one hour and completely unsatisfying with its ending.
A Matter of Family has a predictable story, and lacks emotional depth. For everything as dire as the Joker wanting to kill Barbara’s father, there’s never any real tension to it – knowing that Jim Gordon lives to be in every Arkham game going forward, it becomes less of the impact it was going for. For everything that this DLC for Batgirl should have been, wasn’t. If you own the Season Pass, it’s worth playing just for playing as Batgirl for as much as possible. I just don’t recommend going out of your way to purchase this DLC outright.
A PlayStation 4 code for the Season Pass was provided by the publisher for review purposes