By Sam Coles:
The Batman Arkham series showed that not all licenced games are bad when they’re handled with care when the first game came out all the way back in 2009. Rocksteady studios took a back seat with the third and last instalment on the 7th generation of consoles. Arkham Origins got some negative attention and to be honest I don’t understand why? By all means it’s far from perfect but I enjoyed the experience of playing a younger and more aggressive Batman, with the introduction of the Joker.
Arkham Origins takes place during Christmas in Gotham where you play as a young Bruce Wayne who has only been Batman for two years at this point. It’s not long until Blackgate prison is in chaos with Black Mask breaking out while he causes a riot, Batman goes to investigate and at this point you have to remember the police are not friendly with Bats because he is still seen as a criminal. Black Mask gets away and Batman has defeated the cannibalistic psycho Kill Croc and he then returns to the Bat Cave to find out that he has a $50 million bounty on his head and the world’s most deadly assassins are there to claim it. Batman will be going up against the likes of Deathstroke, Firefly and Dead Shot. The story is intriguing enough to keep you playing through and voice acting is top notch especially Troy Baker as the Joker as Mark Hamil or Kevin Conroy did not for their roles in this game.
If you’ve played Arkham City then you’ll be right at home with this game as the controls and gameplay are very similar, but familiarity isn’t necessarily bad as it sprinkles in some new features to keep it fresh. You’ll travel in the small open world of Gotham completing missions and side quests that can be crimes in progress or Riddler challenges. Unlike previous games you have most of your arsenal at the start as there are more new gadgets for you to unlock like the line grapple, glue grenade and shock gloves. Shock gloves give you an edge in combat as they can knock enemies to ground with one hit stunning them for a bit and it can also knock enemies down who are using riot shields or if they are armoured.
Combat is as tight it will ever be with the fast flowing action as you see Batman bounce around the room which will make you question if he is a man and not a super mutant. You have your standard attacks with counters, but the difficulty does increase as you get further into the game as they introduce different enemy types such as armoured, ninja types you have counter twice and brutes it keeps it engaging and on your toes.
Graphically this is the best looking game out of the 7th generation Arkham games because in the previous two games some of the character models looked a bit weird because Bruce Wayne looked like a Ken doll animated. The character models look human in this game with great animations during cutscenes, there is a lot of polish and effort in this game. The snowy tundra of Gotham looks beautiful with the environment reflecting off screen and making you feel the cold as you glide across the city with your cape.
There are few bugs that I encountered in this game when I played through it such as when I was about to fight Firefly I had to take down some goons first you know standard stuff, but when I was there about the to fight them with them surrounding me I couldn’t attack them they were taunting me but I couldn’t do anything. I had some clipping issues as well when fighting in tight spaces but these didn’t happen too often to sour my experience.
Batman: Arkham Origins is a good game which a lot of people seem to be disappointed with but I rather enjoyed it. Is it perfect? No it’s not but it’s an enjoyable experience which has a good story. You can pick this up for cheap on Xbox 360 and PS3 these days and I would recommend picking this up.