Batman Arkham Origins Review- Going Through the Motions

Batman_Arkham_Origins

Arkham Asylum gave us the first superb Batman game. Arkham City increased the scale and scope of Asylum. Besides its story, Arkham Origins does little to carry the series forward. It is a prequel, but it’s a prequel without much heart. Batman Arkham Origins isn’t really an origin story for Batman, but an origin story for Arkham Asylum itself. Which is a good thing because Batman’s origin story has been told millions of times before. Instead, Origins sets the stage for Arkham Asylum while establishing Batman’s relationship with his foes, allies and Gotham. The story’s concept is set up with Black Mask putting a bounty on Batman’s head, and eight assassins try to kill him for the reward. Batman then has to fend off his pursuers but the story takes an interesting twist halfway through. I won’t spoil the twist, but it caught me off guard and I was welcoming of the slight change of the direction. The story is the standing bright spot in the game, even though the story still has its dull moments.

Graphically, Batman Arkham Origins looks fine overall, but it suffers from frame-rate and texture issues when entering new areas or when gliding through Gotham. It is a minor annoyance that usually doesn’t get too bad, but this late into the generation, these graphical problems are even more obvious. In the audio department, every voice actor does a more than decent job voicing their respective roles but Troy Baker takes the Joker to the next level. I honestly didn’t think  anyone could live up to Mark Hamill’s Joker but Troy matches him, bringing the psychopathic villain to life.

+The story goes in an interesting direction

+Troy Baker’s Joker

-Frame-rate drops

-Texture issues

Story/Presentation: 7.75/10

Visuals: 7.75/10

Audio: 8/10

Once again, the Joker steals the show

Once again, the Joker steals the show

The free flow combat of previous Arkham games make a return, but it is a shallow comeback. Countering enemy attacks were made harder due to the shortening of the window of time you have to actually counter. While playing, I felt like Batman wasn’t responding to my counter inputs and failed to strike an opponent after pressing the attack button even though the enemy was right across from him. You are scored after every battle and get penalized for dropping a combo or getting hit. Getting reprimanded for a mistake you couldn’t avoid is beyond frustrating. The camera doesn’t help the combat one bit either. I’d sometimes lose sight of an enemy and then get struck from behind from a foe I thought was knocked out. Predator sequences didn’t play out any better for me. Enemies would spot me even though I’m on a balcony above them on a regular basis for an unexplained reason. While sneaking around trying to take down foes quietly, enemies would usually abruptly turn around right at the moment I’d get behind them, messing up my perfect predator bonus. These small annoyances added up over time and became an unnecessary grievance. Then, the small issues became bigger ones as a glitch towards the end of the game rendered Batman completely immobilized. I couldn’t move my caped crusader and enemies just circled him; but they didn’t attack. They walked around him repeatedly without attacking… I was forced to restart.

enemies

The Bat has many enemies to deal with, but only a few of them bring any diversity to the fight

Navigating the city of Gotham is another big part of Arkham formula, and sadly it has a similar issue as the combat. Batman would only grapnel onto certain objects/buildings, even though the building would seem like you could grapple onto it. In previous Arkham games, it seemed like you could grapnel and go anywhere but Arkham Origins made it feel like you could only go to limited areas.  Thank goodness for the new fast travel system, otherwise traveling over the map would become even more of a chore. Another growing pain I experienced with Batman wad that he would often do a dodge roll instead of opening the door directly in front of him; when i say often, i mean that it happened 40% of the time. Origins lacked the polish and treatment that it’s predecessors received. The city of Gotham doesn’t have the small Easter eggs and references to Batman that made previous worlds a blast to explore. Some side quests are lifeless search and destroy missions that don’t bring anything interesting to the table. Besides detective mode and the Batwing, new gadgets are just re-skins of previous tools (The glue grenade is essentially the ice grenade from Arkham City). Origins tells a good story, but the lackluster gameplay sours the experience greatly.

+Detective scenes

-Traveling through the lifeless Gotham city

-Irritating gameplay

-Frequent bugs and glitches

Gameplay: 5.75/10

Lasting Appeal: 6.25/10

Overall 6.5/10

Try this game if you liked:

Batman Arkham City

Tomb Raider

Far Cry 3

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