Rocksteady Studios closed out its year for Batman Arkham Knight with a new, long-form story DLC. Season of Infamy offers some new dimension and story to the game with the addition of several new side quests. Each side quests pits Batman against several other members of his Rogues Gallery who were not prominently featured, or were only referenced, in the main game. Batman Arkham Knight is a good game, and in some ways it’s great. However, it failed to reach the previous heights of Batman Arkham Asylum and Batman Arkham City. The story is bit of a misfire in certain areas. Besides that, the addition of the Batmobile became an overused gimmick for the overall game. Season of Infamy does not offer a massive amount of new content, but it does offer some tight and well executed story elements that will, more than likely, satisfy long-time fans of the franchise and fans of the Batman comic books.
Priced at $9.99, Season of Infamy offers four new missions for Batman to investigate. Once the DLC is downloaded, players can continue the main game, and the missions can be selected in a similar manner to other side quests in the main game. Each quest allows Batman to face a mission involving a different supervillain: Killer Croc; Mr. Freeze; The Mad Hatter; and Ra’s al Ghul. The addition of the Side Quests is nice because it allows you to get additional experience points to purchase more upgrades before players might want to tackle New Game+ for Arkham Knight. If you have already completed the main story campaign, there is no major change to what has already transpired. These missions take place on the same evening as Arkham Knight. This is not like how Harley Quinn’s Revenge for Arkham City takes place months after the main story, or how the Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC for Arkham Knight takes place years earlier. These are all paced like extra side missions.
From a storytelling standpoint, Season of Infamy is actually quite satisfying. Certain loose ends involving characters from the Arkham series are tied or resolved. Characters who were not really given much attention in the main game are brought back to the forefront. Specifically, the fate of Ra’s al Ghul after Arkham City, is finally revealed. In addition, Batman has to make a specific choice in the Ra’s al Ghul mission that can lead to two different outcomes. It’s not a major branching path like The Witcher 3, but it is fun that Rocksteady gives players the options regarding how Batman would like to solve a certain problem.
I quite liked the execution of the Mr Freeze mission. The Mr. Freeze segments of Arkham City and the Cold, Cold Heart DLC for Arkham Origins are some of my favorite moments from the franchise. After the events of Arkham City, Mr. Freeze is no longer Batman’s enemy, and the two reached a mutual understanding. Thankfully, the Mr. Freeze quest does not toss all of what happened in Arkham City into the trash. The ending for Mr. Freeze with this mission is probably one of the more satisfying, and bittersweet moments in the franchise.
One of my favorite levels in Arkham Asylum was the confrontation with Killer Croc in the sewers. It was downright terrifying. I was a bit disappointed with how Killer Croc was marginalized, not just in Arkham City, but also Arkham Knight. However, Rocksteady finally gets good use of the new Killer Croc CG model that was briefly glimpsed in the main game for Season of Infamy. In the Killer Croc mission, Batman is led to a flying airship prison, Iron Heights, which has crashed outside Gotham City. Batman and Nightwing go in to investigate and discover that Killer Croc has broken free. The new environment of Iron Heights is quite creepy and fun to explore. It is reminiscent of investigating Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison in Arkham Origins. It is nice to again have an environment like that to play through in an Arkham game.
A major disappointment for Arkham Knight concerns the lack of some cool, unique boss fights. This is something Arkham City and even Arkham Origins did very well. Season of Infamy does not do much to rectify it, but there is an opportunity for a boss fight with Killer Croc, which is nice. There is another big Batmobile fight with drones in one of the missions, but thankfully, that was the only one. Still, one new boss fight with Croc is better than nothing.
Season of Infamy also provides some other new environments to explore. Besides Iron Heights and Mr. Freeze’s crashed ship, there’s also Elliott General Hospital, which becomes the new lair for Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. So, there are a few new interior stages that provide a bit extra exploration.
Finally, The Mad Hatter appears again to try and brainwash Batman, causing the Dark Knight to hallucinate another delusional dreamland. The Mad Hatter is more of a combat arena and not so much the obstacle course that The Mad Hatter stages were in Arkham City and Arkham Origins. Still, it was nice to get some more material with Mad Hatter, voiced once again by the great Peter MacNicol.
In terms of actual content, the missions probably will not require much longer than about 90 minutes to two hours of new gameplay time. So, it’s not a very robust expansion. However, the missions are more in-depth and offer more additional dialogue and cut scenes than the Arkham Episodes, which were mostly a letdown. The Arkham Episodes were not much more than a few Challenge Maps strung together with some new dialogue.
In addition to the new cut scenes and areas to explore, the Season of Infamy DLC provides addition to the GCPD building. As Batman completes the new side quests, there is a new evidence room with more collectibles and gadgets from Batman’s adventures. Also, when Batman captures more villains and thugs, there is a new holding room. This is actually one of the more ingenious and creative elements of Arkham Knight. As Batman takes down and apprehends various thugs, they are locked away in GCPD. You essentially track your progress with how the jail cells fill up. Throughout the game, Batman can chat with these thugs in their cells, revealing some additional story tidbits. This is maintained with Season of Infamy. However, there is an extra holding cell area for the new subjects, and Batman can converse with them after they are captured.
On its own, Season of Infamy might not be worth the $9.99 price tag. Even the $39.99 price tag for the Batman Arkham Knight was quite steep. However, I purchased the Season Pass for a discounted price of $28, and Season of Infamy was included. So, for the amount of additional Batmobile skins, alternate Batsuits, Challenge Maps, Arkham Episodes, plus Season of Infamy and Batgirl: A Matter of Family, the Season Pass is not that bad of a deal. If you can exploit the discounted Season Pass price, I would recommend that in order to play Season of Infamy. Otherwise, it might be better to wait for an all-in-one or Game of the Year edition for Batman Arkham Knight.
Regardless, as a huge fan of the Batman mythos and the Arkham franchise, I enjoyed what Season of Infamy brings to the table in terms of its story elements. In some ways, I like how well the side missions were executed in comparison to parts of the main story for Arkham Knight. More than anything, the conclusion to the Mr. Freeze story is very well done. And there is an appropriate, almost odd, sense of finality to one of the options for the Ra’s al Ghul mission.