Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Harley Quinn's Revenge ending... ugh
Today was the release of "Harley Quinn's Revenge" the epilogue DLC to last year's Batman: Arkham City, which like many other Batman fans, was by far my favorite game of 2011. So, with that in mind, of course I was going to pick up anything else story related to that game, and for the most part, it's good. You get to play as Robin half the time, which is fun, and you get some more (albeit, linear) Arkham City fun... but man, that ending... Pretty f'ing bad.
Arkham City and HQR Spoilers after the jump.
So, remember the easter egg in the full game, where if you went into Joker's "office" and looked near the bottom of Harley's old nurse outfit, you'd see a positive pregnancy test? Then I believe if you beat the game on hard/newgame plus/whatever, you'd hear Harley sing a twisted version of "Hush Little Baby?"
Well, pretty early on in the HQR DLC, you see this:
Scarface, in a baby crib. I thought it was a slight little wink and a nod to the easter egg from the full game, but then I noticed something. Look on the floor around the crib, and you'll see way more pregnancy tests. Odd... but look closer...
They're all negative. There are about 20 or so tests, all with the same results. After seeing this, I thought "oh fuck, Harley's mourning isn't just about the Joker" as she could have had a miscarriage (or simply just never have been pregnant, despite what she thought). So, here I am thinking that there's another layer to Harley's story.
Flash forward, Robin saves Batman, Harley has a bunch of bombs, Robin saves cop, you as Batman disarm the bombs, fight a bunch of Joker robots, then capture Harley, who sets off a bomb anyways.
You (Batman) and Harley jump out a window before the explosion kills you, Gordon eventually finds the both of you. Batman asks Gordon if he's seen where Robin is, but Gordon gives him "I thought he was with you." You get a sinking feeling in your gut at this point, believing Harley may have just pulled off a semi "Death in the Family" moment, as she asks "how does it feel?" With your back turned to Harley, she goes to stab you, but a batarang knocks the knife out of her hand, and there's Robin. Batman says "I'm done here" and zips away...
Yep, the end. I thought "no, there's got to be something after the credits" but nope, there isn't. That's it... just "I'm done here" and roll the credits.
This was one of those premature ejaculations of video game endings, where you're just left wondering, where the next few minutes of the real ending where, trying to make sense of what just happened. There's no closure to anything. Just Harley continuing to cry, and Batman bouncing. This is no "epilogue," it's just a half hearted attempt at one.
Let's address the baby issue here. My thought on the negative tests was basically Rocksteady realized "wait, what the fuck are we going to do with a baby?" To be fair, that's a pretty alright thought to have, because I mean, what's Batman going to do in the third game, punch a toddler? Nah... But the fact that it is never addressed, is what gets me. You can't throw that easter egg out, then take it back in a dramatic fashion without ever acknowledging it. What if in Star Wars, you get a pretty big hint that Darth Vader was Luke's father, but then it was taken back and never acknowledged. Hell, Batman doesn't even say anything in passing when you come across that. If the fact that Harley lost her child or something, was the real reason she was grieving, then I wouldn't be knocking this ending so much, but to get nothing from this? Awful.
So in the end, "Harley Quinn's Revenge" is just a sad attempt at an epilogue, that falls flat on it's face with poor story execution and the bare minimum of characterization for those involved.