Batman: Arkham Origins is the third Batman title put out as part of the Arkham series. It’s the first game in the series developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal. Rocksteady Studios, the developers of the first two games, have left them big shoes to fill.So is it any good?
If you loved the first two games then you’ll probably like this one but I feel that it doesn’t match up as well with the previous titles. If you haven’t played any of the series I would definitely suggest you pick up Arkham City over Arkham Origins. Also I would probably stop reading this article as it has spoilers for City below.
Let’s start off with some of the stuff I did like about the game. I enjoyed the detective scenes more this time around as they were more involved than in the previous games. You also have more crimes to solve as you will pick up reports of homicide over the police scanner as you travel around Gotham. These are just random crimes that you can solve and track down some low level perp which provides a nice change of pace.
I also liked the way you unlocked skills, there’s a number of skill trees so you can decide if you want to focus on hiding in the shadows, being better in combat or becoming bullet proof. These are all unlocked with the traditional exp model but this time around they also added four sets of challenges called The Dark Night System. Each challenge set has a focus on a different aspect of Batman; once you start completing them you can unlock more skills related to that aspect.
Travelling around Gotham this time doesn’t seem as fun though. The map seems to be even bigger and there are certain things you can’t grapple to just because. I found that there were also some ledges that you could grapple to but couldn’t climb up for any good reason. The Riddler has also blocked off your ability to fast travel to the different sections of Gotham. This wouldn’t be so bad but the gadgets you need to solve each tower aren’t unlocked anywhere near the same time you will be in the vicinity. One that really annoyed me was where I dive bombed through a tunnel only to find a locked door. I couldn’t through this door until hours later after I had unlocked the gadget to make a raft and then the door unlocked.
The combat was also lacking as compared to the previous games. You have the same line-up of foes faced previously, henchmen, knives, shields, tasers and big guys. It seems like they thought they could make fighting stand out by increasing the number of combatants. This just makes it infuriating as you end up hitting guys with moves not meant for them and there is always someone around to break up combos. In these fights I just constantly knocked a few people down and then did a batarang ground take down and repeated that until only the equipped henchmen were left so I could take them down in peace.
The boss fights on the other hand were great with Deathstroke and the last Bane fight standing out for me. When you fight Deathstroke you have to find out what will work and what will get your arse beaten down, which is great. You really needed to know your quick fire gadgets and be on your toes. The Bane fight was a tense cat and mouse game where The Bat couldn’t afford to fight fair.
As for the plot, look to be honest at the end of Arkham City I was glad The Joker had died because I thought they had done it really well and the way he died was pretty fitting. I was looking forward to this game because it looked like they were going to focus more on some of Batman’s lesser known rogues, unfortunately that didn’t happen. As soon as the first hints about The Joker showed up I rolled my eyes knowing what was coming and sure enough The Joker ended up stealing the show. The plot line about Assassins hunting Batman feels like it drops off in the middle of the game only to be forgotten about by the end.
To be fair though they did showcase Bane a bit more than he has previous gotten before. They made him a bit more rounded out and actually showed off his intelligent side. It seems to be forgotten that Bane is very smart in addition to being jacked-up killer. Also the forging of an understanding between Commissioner Gordon and Batman was handled well with the game showing the incorruptible Gordon coming to terms with working with The Bat.
So yeah, mixed review, the game definitely has some good points but there were also a number of things that left me disappointed. It followed the formula of the previous two games but I feel like it didn’t really build upon them. If you were to ask me for a recommendation for a third person adventure game I’d be suggesting Arkham City, Assassin Creed: Black Flag and Tomb Raider before this one.