The Batman: Arkham games have all been really solid games, each one getting better than the last. So, when we got the opportunity to review Batman: Arkham Origins on the PC platform, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, going so far as to sleep depriving myself on vacation to get started on it. I finally completed my task and have presented the review for your enjoyment. Is the latest installment in the franchise worthy of the Arkham namesake? Read on!
Batman: Arkham Origins is the latest installment in the blockbuster Batman: Arkham videogame franchise. Developed by WB Games Montréal, the game features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, the first two critically-acclaimed games of the franchise. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, the game showcases a young and unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crime fighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight.
- The Arkham Story Begins: Batman: Arkham Origins features a pivotal tale set on Christmas Eve where Batman is hunted by eight of the deadliest assassins from the DC Comics Universe. Players become an early-career Batman as he encounters for the first time many of the characters that shape his future.
- Enhanced Detective Mode: Think like Batman with an all-new Case File system that allows players to analyze seemingly impossible-to-solve crime reconstructions in real time. Combining Batman’s cowl sensors with the Batcomputer, players can digitally recreate crimes and study detailed simulation of the act as it happened.
- Gotham City will learn to fear Batman: Take back the sprawling streets of Gotham years before its transformation into Arkham City. Glide above or battle your way through new and ever more dangerous districts in the quest for justice. Prevent crimes in progress, take down gangs of violent new criminals and explore deadly new locations, from the impoverished streets to the penthouses of Gotham’s wealthy.
- Gotham’s Most Wanted: The city streets are filled with more than just Black Mask’s assassins. Locate and take down Gotham’s most violent and dangerous criminals to earn unique upgrades.
- Lethal New Enemies: Fight new foes such as the Armored Enforcer, the Martial Artist and more – each of which challenge players to approach Batman’s FreeFlow Combat scenarios in different ways. Classic FreeFlow combat is expanded with every new opponent – and with Batman’s abilities to engage them.
- New Gadgets: Utilize Batman’s signature gadgets or take advantage of powerful new additions such as the Remote Claw, the Concussion Detonator and more. Use the Remote Claw to create new routes by deploying strategic tightropes or directly attack enemies by stringing them up from vantage points. Ready the Concussion Detonator to stun and disorient groups of opponents in close combat.
- New and Familiar Characters: Experience a fresh take on iconic Batman characters including Black Mask, Penguin, Deathstroke, Bane, Deadshot, Anarky, Captain Gordon, The Joker, Copperhead, Firefly and others yet to be revealed.
- New Online Mode: Play online with friends and foes in 3v3v2 gameplay that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with third-person shooter mechanics. Hunt as Batman or Robin against the most challenging opponents yet – friends and other gamers online – or take a walk on the dark side as a Super-Villain Elite and be part of The Joker or Bane’s gang. Gamers playing as a Super-Villain Elite will also have a chance to seize control of either The Joker or Bane for a limited amount of time.
First off I could see a temptation to try to play these games in timeline order and jump to Batman: Arkham Origins as the first game. That would be a huge mistake. Each of the games is good but each one has also topped the previous one, so playing this game then going back and playing the previous ones would be a disappointment. Play them in order of release and you will have just as good of a story experience with a better gaming experience.
With that being said, just about every aspect with the exception of the storytelling has improved with the latest game. The storytelling is just as good but was hard to beat to begin with, so that’s not saying much. Not giving anything away, this is a solid origin story that takes you back to Batman warming up to his new suit and the police and villains alike realizing “the bat” might be more than just an urban legend. One of the ways Batman gets this point across is in the sandbox style environment of the city, which allows you to stop random crimes or take on extra henchman simply to get word about the gliding crusader being anywhere and everywhere. During these battles, you will find yourself often being attacked from multiple sides. You learn different techniques on how to handle this throughout gameplay and these can be added seamlessly into the fighting style with very little practice. Even if you are a little awkward on the keys Batman moves smoothly and polished throughout the fights. Smooth and polished really is the best way to describe to the entire gameplay experience – everything looks purposeful and actions have grace.
Another reason to play these games in order is the gadgets in this game are the best. In theory they should be worse, just as his detective skills should be. The detective skills look like something out of a sci-fi movie and are absolutely awesome and when it comes to his new gadgets I have just two words: Remote Claw. It is insanely useful and versatile, solves all kinds of puzzles and just looks really cool when used. I fell in love with it immediately and spent a considerable amount of time just trying to figure out something new to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, the Concussion Detonator is a lot of fun and useful but the Remote Claw steals the show.
The villains… You really can’t talk about a Batman game without mentioning the villains. Batman: Arkham Origins gives a great diversity of the villains so that it isn’t just about Batman and one character, you really couldn’t hope to get much more in the way of villains in a single game. In multiplayer, you even have a chance to get control of the Joker or Bane for a while. Storyline-wise, fitting in so many villains was probably quite a challenge but Origins pulls it off well.
Batman: Arkham Origins is a terrific game – better than the one before it just as Arkham City was better than the one before that. I hope that more of these games come along, I can’t get enough of the Arkham series because even if it isn’t better than this one, it is so well done that I just want more.