Warner Bros. Interactive and Rocksteady Games created two outstanding titles with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City – arguably one of the best games of the generation. When Warner Bros. announced Batman: Arkham Origins would not be developed by Rocksteady Games many took a step back and began to wonder whether another development studio had the talent to craft a Batman game worthy of the Arkham brand.
With the Bat-Signal high in the sky, one developer answered the call. One developer was willing to endure the pressure and undertake the monumental task of making a successor to Arkham City.
Enter Warner Bros. Montreal – their previous works include Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition for Wii U.
Batman: Arkham Origins tells the story of a Batman who is still in his infancy having put on the mask a couple of years prior. Gotham City is infested with corruption and run by criminals with armies of thugs. Though the Batman is still a relatively new pest bugging about Gotham, his presence has been noted, and a $50 million bounty has been issued for his extermination.
With many interested and in quest of that cash prize, players gradually meet important Batman characters for the first time – be it ally or foe. This is an interesting approach to storytelling as you experience the growth of Bruce Wayne as Batman and meet key characters before their rise to greater power. The events and relationships forged in Origins give new meaning to the events that transpire in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
It wouldn’t be a Batman: Arkham game without unexpected storyline twists or surprises and Arkham Origins has memorable scenarios that players won’t see coming. Arkham Origins does a terrific job explaining and telling the starting point of Batman – a character consumed with anger, arrogance and impulsive thoughts – who undergoes growth on a personal and moral level in his rise to the prominence of Gotham’s Dark Knight.
Some may find that the story is lacking when compared to Arkham City. Be that as it may, Origins is a thrill ride that has a lot of high points complete with larger-than-life boss encounters and fights. Seriously, the boss battles are extraordinarily awesome.
The city of Gotham is massive in Arkham Origins, and it is packed with side-missions, collectibles, and activities to do outside of the main game. Such activities include solving Engima’s riddles, disarming bombs, or lending a helping hand to the Gotham police force by stopping a crime in progress or detaining an escaped convict.
Although there is plenty to do, many of the side-missions feel too comparable to activities done in the previous two Arkham games. For example, you can elect to destroy containers of Venom in Origins.
Granted, Arkham Origins does share similarities to Arkham City in many ways one must give credit where credit is due as the game does introduce new enemy types and gameplay concepts. Evidence sleuthing has always been a dynamic part of the Arkham series, but Origins takes it to the next level.
Players can now search a crime scene for key evidence and gain greater understanding of the events that transpired as you simulate the crime in real-time. It adds a sense of discovery when solving crimes as you search the environment for additional evidence.
Albeit the combat of Origins remains generally unchanged, new enemy types pose a high threat and require more calculated thought when entering battle. Certain enemies wear body armor, making them invulnerable to standard attacks. Players must first stun the enemy and then pound them with a quick succession of punches.
Similarly, there are more challenging foes to be found in the game that will counter your attacks and necessitate your full focus while in battle.
Batman: Arkham Origins had a lot to live up to succeeding Arkham City. Though Arkham Origins doesn’t stray far from the path set by Arkham City, the development team has made a respectable Batman game. Batman: Arkham Origins is a great game that can stand side-by-side Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
- Amazing gameplay
- Fluid combat
- Awesome boss battles
- Too similar to Arkham City
- Some recycled side-missions and ideas
(Editor’s Note: A copy of Batman: Arkham Origins for Xbox 360 was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Batman: Arkham Origins is available for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U.)