Horse armor: Mention that phrase to a fan of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or longtime Xbox 360 players, and they'll recount that useless piece of DLC. With no statistical benefits for the horse and no way to show it off online to other players of the game, the DLC was ridiculed for being a worthless cosmetic trinket. Nevertheless, it sold well enough that the practice of releasing costumes as paid DLC continues to this day. Some of the DLC makes some sense in games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or Dead Space 2, where an online component ensures so someone can see your character wearing it. Others, like the recently released skin pack for Batman: Arkham City, follow in the footsteps of Bethesda's RPG in that there's no gameplay benefit to grabbing the pack.
For those interested, the pack puts together all of the skins for the game that were released as either pre-order bonuses or bonuses for purchasing other items. The 1970s Batman skin, the only one in the pack that features blue boots and a cape-cowl combo, was a pre-order bonus at Toys "R" Us. The Dark Knight Returns skin, featuring an older and stockier hero, was available for those who purchased the Collector's Edition. The Batman Beyond skin was available via a special code from NOS energy drinks while the Batman Animated Series skin, complete with the trademark angular details, was only available to GameStop Power-Up Rewards members upon pre-ordering the game. The Earth One skin was only available to those who pre-ordered the game in New Zealand and Australia, and the Sinestro Corps skin was a PS3 exclusive to those who bought the special edition Blu-ray of The Green Lantern. The Year One skin, which has the emblem as part of the cowl-cape combo, is the only skin that wasn't released anywhere else.
The skins look rather nice, and most fit in well with the rest of the game's art style. Just about all of them would have looked fine as the default costume for Batman because of the various details that show up on each suit. The only one that looks out of place is the costume from The Animated Series. While it fits perfectly with the voice being used, the cartoon art style of the suit sharply contrasts with the dark realistic style of the environment and other characters. If you have the other DLC packs, you can make Catwoman, Nightwing and Robin follow the animated series style as well, but with nothing else changing, they also stand out in a bad way.
As stated before, the big issue with the skins is that they don't do much else for the game aside from change Batman's appearance. You don't get new abilities, and you don't receive boosts to existing abilities. It's all for looks, and unless you have friends watching you play, you're the only person admiring the new look. There's also no way to get the skins separately. Those who want all of them will find this to be somewhat of a bargain, but for those who only want one or a few of the suits, this ends up costing more than anticipated. Finally, the skins can't be used in the campaign until you beat it the first time, though a recently released code alleviates that issue.
The Batman: Arkham City skins pack is really for one type of person: the fan. Aficionados will take delight in seeing the game's hero don the various suits worn over the years in comic and television history. For that individual, the $5 fee for having a slew of extra costumes to wear is a rather small price to pay, especially since it looks like great care was taken to ensure each suit is as detailed as the original. For everyone else, there's not much incentive to pick up this pack unless it goes on sale and you already have every other piece of DLC for the game.
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