Warning: Minor Spoilage Ahead
So I’ve spent a good chunk of my time this weekend, well when I wasn’t working, devoting myself to the latest Batman game, Arkham Origins. For those of you not familiar with the series, Arkham Origins is the third game but it’s a prequel to the previous two, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Arkham Origins takes us back to the early days of Batman, even to the point where a DLC is dedicated to him training as Bruce Wayne in his early travels. The game was put together by WB Games, WB Games Montreal, and Splash Damage. Rocksteady who was involved in the last two games was not involved in the project, something that worried fans of the series. And on top of that classic voice actors, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, would not be reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker. Arkham Origins had some big shoes to fill, so did they do it? At close to 20% of the game, I have to say yes, yes they did.
I was worried how the game mechanics would end up without Rocksteady, but let me tell you this, they may have improved. From what I have played in both the story and challenge modes things seem a little smoother and combos are a tad bit easier to pull off. Now this does not mean that the AI for the fights has been dumbed down either. In fact there are points in the game where I think the level handicap is a bit off. For instance, the new “Crime in Progress” game mode will draw you into these fights that are near impossible, one of my few dislikes of the game. Graphically the game is beautiful, the game is set on Christmas Eve and with the snow I feel like I’m in the world of Batman Returns and Tim Burton has created this city around me. I also like the look of Batman in this one, he’s a little less “Long Halloween” looking than he has been in the last couple games. Roger Craig Smith voices Batman/Bruce Wayne in Origins. His gruff, almost Christian Bale at times, interpretation is decent enough but it doesn’t compare to Kevin Conroy. Troy Baker on the other hand knocks it out of the park as the Joker, I’ve only encountered him once so far and it is very close to Hamill’s!
Some great characters show up in this game, some new, some from the previous games. The “Most Wanted” game mode gives you missions to stop different criminals from Batman’s rogue gallery from terrorizing Gotham City, all the while you are on the main mission. Also don’t forget on top of these classic villains we have the 8 assassins that Black Mask hired to hunt down the Batman. A reward of $50,000,000 has everyone on the hunt for you! Unfortunately the designers decided that some of these assassins should also be part of the Most Wanted mode and I don’t really like that they did this. With nine unlockable villain missions, I feel that they could have used other classic rogues and just saved the assassins for boss fights. Not to knock the boss fights, they are excellent and every time you square off with an assassin it is a totally different experience, just wait till you fight Deathstroke…good luck.
What I love most about Origins is the open feeling I get when I play the game. The first installment, Arkham Asylum, is a classic and one of my favorite games of all time, but it was very claustrophobic. I know that this was the point of the game, but I really wanted to take Batman to the streets and rooftops of Gotham. We got this with the sequel Arkham City, well kinda. This time around you are still in a prison but its a portioned off part of the city, again a great experience but it still was a little contained. So far with Origins I don’t feel that at all, in fact this is the way a Batman game should play. I go to the Batcave, I train, I go to the city to fight crime, repeat. I am Batman. Not just on a linear mission, but the ability to take to the streets from the Batcave really adds to the entire experience. Also being able to access the Challenge Mode from the cave is a nice touch as well. I can’t really write too much more without going into major spoilers but I do really recommend this game and from the reviews out there it finishes strong, I’ll write a whole review when I finish. There is some great DLC on the way so if you get a chance to pick up the Season’s Pass, do so. With a ton of skins for multiplayer (something I will touch on in my full review), 2 exclusive Batman skins, the Bruce Wayne story “Initiation“, and an all new story on the way, what are you waiting for?! Get out there and pick up your copy today! See you in Gotham Towelites!
Stay tooned 😛