Under new management, Batman: Arkham Origins is a fabulous looking title and the best of the series. Gotham City’s Dark Knight is back and better than ever. Rocksteady has handed the reigns of this illustrious series over to Warner Bros. Games Montreal and the result is astounding. Get ready to “BANG!” and “POW!” your way through some bad guys once again. There will be no lack of gruesome thugs to take down this time. Starting with the combat system and general mechanics, the old saying if it’s not broken don’t fix it couldn’t be more true in this case. If you have played Batman: Arkham City, you can expect this game to feel very familiar. In his latest outing, Batman has a huge bounty placed on his head. Black Mask apparently isn’t a big fan of Batman and a slew of bad guys such as Bane, Deathstroke, Copperhead, and many more want to take the Dark Knight to an even darker place. To succeed in this game, you’ll need to make sure that Batman has all his wonderful toys ready.
After wading your way through hordes of villains you’ll be rewarded with various boss fights. The boss fights in this game are quite difficult and nothing short of challenging. You’ll be forced to find your enemies’ specific weakness in order to defeat them. There are quite a bit of Quick Time Event (QTE) interwoven into the game combat. QTE requires you to press the correct buttons at the right moment in order to counter your enemies’ attacks. Although usually annoying, the quick time events in this game are a welcome addition because they raise the tension during combat and as a result provide a much more immersive gameplay experience.
There is a lot of freedom to move about in this seamless open world. This allows players to veer off the storyline into some side quests such as “Crime in Progress”, where you can sharpen your fighting skills while attempting to stop random crimes by assisting Gotham City police in rescuing police officers and saving informants. You can return to the main story at anytime by following the objective markers like in previous games of the series. Some missions are timed, so be careful not to go off on any tangent while trying to complete those. Collectable Data Packs from Enigma and VR missions are available in the cityscape.
The game also introduces a massive arsenal of weapons and gadget choices to help you succeed. Gadgets such as the Batarang and Batclaw have the ability to stun enemies and pull them toward you, respectively. Learn how and when to use your nifty gadgets so that you can more easily gain experience points to upgrade Batman’s gears and combat abilities. These points can be obtained by victory over cohorts or by completing specific puzzles. Download the Batman Arkham Origins app if you have an iPhone, iPad or Android device and beat up enough villains to unlock Waynetech points. Save up Waynetech points to purchase cooler looking batsuits such as the Liberty Files Batsuit (cost: 60 Waynetech points) or the Batman Beyond suit (cost: 460 Wayntech points). Costumes unlocked in the iOS and Androids versions of the game can also unlock the costumes in the console version (PS3 or XBox 360) and vice versa. Apparently it pays to look cool even though these suits aren’t required to beat the game.
You can cruise though Gotham City with the Batwing or use its fast-travel ability. You can travel throughout the game using stealth or direct combat. When enemies attack, they usually issue a warning icon to indicate that their attacks can be countered. Like previous games in the series, you and Batman can plan out your attacks carefully by remaining hidden on stone gargoyles placed high above your enemies. These stone gargoyles are commonly found and conveniently placed in many areas of the game. Game areas are often not readily accessible. Enigma has shut off some telecommunication towers that require you to restore online access to certain areas of the map in order to unlock them and progress further into the game.
There is nothing amazingly different in this new title. All the ground work and major designs have all been seen before in previous titles. With that being said I give high marks to the game designer for polishing up this already vastly popular and well-crafted series. There are some well-placed cut-scenes that work their way nicely into the story, keeping you engaged, along with some sweet fighting animation sequences that will leave you in awe.
However, slight docks must be taken for making the game unnecessarily difficult causing players to end up getting stuck while attempting to navigate through certain areas such as this long bridge that takes forever to cross. You’ll need to traverse it many times throughout the game in order to get from one island to another. To overcome this annoyance, simply let Batman glide beside the bridge instead.
That being said, add this title to your Christmas gift list, you wont be disappointed. Now go out and fight to keep our streets clean of the crime and villains that riddle the streets of Gotham City!