Way before the Caped Crusader was the nightmare in every criminals mind; he was a mystery and a rumor on the lips of the underworld. For one night, the Black Mask has hired eight assassins to find this mythical man in a Bat costume and take him out. Anyone else would just stay in the house to a bloody death, but Batman wants to catch Black Mask and stop the assassins from destroying the city. This would all be in a day’s work for a seasoned Batman, but an up and coming version of the Dark Knight could be in for a learning experience.
It is time for Batman to meet some of his most dangerous villains for the first time. At least I think it’s for the first time, I can’t really tell. Other than Alfred reminding us, that Batman is new to this with the occasional boo-hoo festival. Batman seems confident and knowledgeable of all of the villains except The Joker. Each encounter with a Villain feels like an experience that Batman has been through before. It’s like he’s already become the Bat that the criminal world fears, and that’s not what I was expecting from a game called “Origins.”
The concept of Origins sounds great on paper, but the actual delivery could use a bit of work. Ultimately, this is the same game as Arkham City and Asylum. The very moment that player’s enter the world as Batman and moves through Blackgate for the first time it reeks of instant Déjà vu. Once he is free to roam the world, it’s just like being back in Arkham City. An all too familiar feeling instantly leads to disappointment in a game I want to love.
Batman has tons of villains to conquer in a similar fashion to the other games. Enter a building to take down a bunch of goons, have an encounter with a major villain, triumph and repeat the process. Even the fighting system is virtually the same from the previous title, and Batman shares familiar gadgets that he probably should not even have this early in his career. If you cannot tell that I’m disappointed in this game’s need to be like the previous titles, then I don’t think I’m making my point clear enough.
Batman should have spent his time learning from these new encounters, and the constant engagements with new villains should have taken a toll on him physically and mentally. He should not have detective mode and focus more on instinct and the sounds of his enemies. What about a more acrobatic combat style that caters to his youthful inexperience? Allow him to make gutsy life-threatening decisions in order to defeat tough tacticians like Deathstroke. It’s weird that I feel like I’m playing the same Batman from years in the future when he’s just starting his journey.
Regardless of my personal faults with the game, it does something that I believe all Batman titles should focus on from now on. The new investigation system is something to appreciate, even if it’s leagues ahead in technology for our current Batman. The Caped Crusader will enter a crime scene and begin scanning for evidence. The more evidence discovered, the higher the chance at recreating the scene of the crime and discovering exactly what happened.
The real treat to discovering the mastermind behind the villainous deed, is tracking down the suspect and dishing out Batman’s special brand of justice. It’s probably the best part of the game, and I’d love to see a Batman game with a pure focus of investigating, tracking, and solving crimes both random and elaborate.
The free-flow fighting system is still fast, responsive, and fun. There are a few new techniques and gadgets that Batman can use during combat, and it’s a breeze to utilize them all to send enemies flying from a flurry of punches and kicks. It’s a bit easier to win in fights due to the new talent system allowing quicker takedowns, and higher damage when the combo meter is at above a certain number sequence. It’s the same thing you’ve done before, but it’s still a great combat system.
Batman titles have always looked great, and Arkham Origins is no different. The younger versions of Batman, Alfred, and the many villains are acceptable representations of the iconic characters. The city is alive with the glow of neon lights and atmospheric weather effects. It may be extremely familiar to Arkham City players, but it has not suffered from the shift to Origins. The voice acting is wonderful as well, with excellent delivery from Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Troy Baker, Nolan North, and so many more. Sure, there are some technical issues here and there, but for the most part, the world of Origins is pristine.
Multiplayer is straightforward, and almost a complete copy of Splinter Cell’s: Spies vs. Mercenaries mode. The Joker and Bane gangs try to slaughter each other and thin their teams down to nothing, while Batman and Robin sneak about the map sowing intimidation through their ranks. Bane and The Joker can join in on the combat after a certain time has passed, and dish out an enormous amount of damage to the Heroes and both teams. I am not going to lie and say it was more than a passing fancy to me, but it is a good distraction if you are hungering for some Player vs. Player action.
Even through all my disappointment, I am still enjoying Arkham Origins. It may be a mashed up version Arkham City and Asylum, but it has all of the likeable features that made those games hot sellers. You may be asking yourself if it is worthy of a price tag of $60? I’d like to say that this game would have fared better as an expansion pack for $20. It has a lot of new content, but most of it is similar to the other titles in the series.
It’s obvious as you continue through the game, that nearly all of the situations in the previous titles, inspired most of the levels in Origins. An example is the all too familiar fight scene with Deathstroke, which is near identical to the fight with Solomon Grundy in Arkham City. It looks lazy on the developer’s part, since two years have passed and no significant improvements made it into the series. Arkham Origins receives three stars out of five from Geek Citadel. This Origin about the Dark Knight’s most famous villains turns out to be the same experience as if he has known them for years.