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PlayBack: Batman Arkham Origins

Feeling batigued.

When Arkham Asylum came along in 2009 it blew my mind. Not only was it an enthralling action game with open world trapping, Rocksteady’s last-gen debut did what many thought impossible: capturing the essence of The Dark Knight in video game form.

Needless to say, Asylum was quick to garner universal acclaim from both press and public. Even with the game still fresh in their mind, legions of gamers were left pining for a sequel and Warner Bros. were all too happy to appease them. 2011 brought with it Arkham City, leaving the confined hallways of the asylum behind for something much bigger and more refined.

Rocksteady had struck gold once more, its sequel soaring its way to the top of the Metacritic pantheon. However, once again, there remained a Batman-sized hole in player’s wishlists but this time around it would be WB’s Montreal studio who stepped up to the mark.


Best Bit

bao1

Put simply, Arkham Origins was more of the same. Though in the hands of a new developer, it carried over the series’ hardened fundamentals while adding a few tricks of its own. This of course means the excellent stealth sections, pitting Batman against a room of armed thugs. As in previous titles, players were forced to use a combination of gadgets and stealth tactics to outwit their opponents.

Similarly, Arkham’s melee combat made a return. If there’s one thing that stood out in previous game, it was this: a counter-heavy system that genuinely makes you feel like the caped crusader himself. What starts out as a basic web mechanics starts to get more complex as new enemy types are woven into the mix, including shield and knife wielders as well as martial art experts and, of course, the numerous bosses.


Worst Bit

bao2

Borrowing from such as finely-set amalgam of mechanics proved to be a double-edged sword for WB Games Montreal, though. Though still fairly solid, many fans had already taken their fill from Arkham City and were looking for something fresher. In that respect Origins fell short of the mark. Aside from a couple of revised enemy types, there was little in the way of new features bar a pair of electronic gloves capable of battering through any opponent.

The stealth and exploration segments didn’t receive much of an upgrade either, rehashing the same areas and puzzles found in Gotham just two years before. In fact the only new feature that really stood out was Origins’ crime reconstruction mechanic. By using detective vision, players could activate clues found around the city and thereby construct a fully-3D action rewind. It was clever, sure, though the implementation did little to inspire and, more to the point, it just felt like an unnecessary addition.

Something else that felt a little disappointing was the developer’s failure to fully capitalise on the game’s premise. With Blackgate blown apart and dozens of super villains on the loose, it was a shame to see some of them relegated to mere sidequests. After all, the main story was centred around assassinating Batman, yet only a few thugs stepped up to the plate before the narrative took a dive elsewhere.


With the release of Arkham Knight scheduled for next Summer, I wouldn’t try and put players off from trying Origins. As I said, it’s a solid addition to the series but just feels a little unwarranted, as if Warner. Bros. wanted some filler befor Rocksteady’s eventual return.

4 Comments
  1. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    this was a sideways move for the franchise.
    using tried and tested elements of gameplay,jiggled them around a bit(trying to add fresh ideas)and came up with origins.
    don’t get me wrong i liked it but there just wasn’t enough new stuff to say wow!
    my biggest problem was that it didn’t really flow like the other games in the respect that you can do any mission at any time which lead to a half baked disjointed story.
    Just hope that Arkham Knight can push the series forward.

    Comment posted on 17/10/2014 at 13:38.
    • rSp8
      Member
      Since: Aug 2008

      Totally agree with your comments. It just wasn’t up to the same level as Asylum or City, but you can’t quite put your finger on why. Still well worth a go though.

      Comment posted on 17/10/2014 at 14:29.
  2. Crazy_Del
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Origins was okay I enjoyed it throughout. The plot was so so and I agree about the side quest of certain villians that deserve to be in the main plot. I did love the characters in the game and the detective mode is a nice addition to the game. The combat system is what made me enjoy playing Origins aswell as the challenges. The downside is the Multiplayer as it had issues on launch and I believe it is still there although it has been a year since I never returned. Cannot wait for Arkham Knight especially with Batmobile another cool addition to the game :D

    Comment posted on 17/10/2014 at 20:13.
  3. hellfire13
    Member
    Since: Nov 2008

    I enjoyed this game but the crime reconstruction was frustrating as you couldn’t skip or you couldn’t progress even if you had the answer.

    The combat was also made a little cheap by the power gloves (or whatever they are called). The gloves took the strategy out of the combat and you could just punch through any enemy. Why would batman have left these gloves behind in Asylum and City.

    I also missed the enigma puzzles of the 1st two games.

    It’s hard to improve on perfection through so I would still definitely recommend playing through this game though.

    Comment posted on 19/10/2014 at 10:54.