Arguably, the greatest superhero game of all time has been the recent Batman series. With the dark views of Gotham and wonderful storylines paired with easy fluid controls, it is no wonder the demand for a sequel to the previous two games is so high.
Enter Batman Arkham Origins.In the “sequel”, we are presented with essentially a prequel along the Dark Knight lines. The Arkham Origins storyline follows the Black Mask putting a 50 million dollar bounty on Batman’s head. The bounty draws some familiar foes as participants in to the hunt for Batman including Bane, Deathstroke, Firefly and others. Along the way a new,more demented Joker makes his appearance known as the battle for Gotham elevates to an entirely different level.
The storyline itself is actually pretty good. I enjoy the new Batman and the introduction to many of the villains we have seen Batman fight in the comics, including some of the lesser known villains such as Copperhead and Calendar Man and Gotham is every bit as dark as we have come to expect. The one thing new is the inclusion of battling the police who still deem Batman a vigilante as Gordon develops a trust for him. Rather than seeking out and defeating Riddler trophies, you are after blackmail specialist, Enigma’s files.
Unfortunately, other than that there is very little that is new in Batman Arkham Origins. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it does seem as if the developers took the “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” route with this game. The fight mechanics are the same as the previous two, with occasional timed reaction fight and leveled skills tree to develop the Bat’s abilities. The foes fight almost identically as the previous installments with same weapons, battle mechanics and approaches. There is almost nothing new with the fight mechanics and again while that is nothing to be ashamed of, this is again a lazy approach by the developers.
The boss fights, however, are very fun and can be challenging. I enjoyed the Deathstroke fight probably the most out of all of my boss battles. They are not repetitive and each one requires its own approach to defeating them.
The inclusion of the Penguin, Enigma and Anarchy side quests are enjoyable to an extent but unless you are an achievement junkie, these will just be things that you do along the way but not really seek out to do it. These are intertwining stories that add to the game but do not really make the game. If you were familiar with the comics you will already see where their stories go.
The graphics are exactly the same as the previous two installments. The audio and voice acting is of the same caliber that it has always been. The inclusion of the Batcave is a nice feature but not the focus of the game. The game is supposed to offer online play but unfortunately on the PC I could not access this regardless of how hard I tried. So I cannot in good faith review the online portion of the game.
At the end of the day, Batman Arkam Origins feels more like the DLC to a great game than a completely different installment to a wonderful series. I am conflicted on the score to give. In the end, the gameplay and storyline are wonderful and earn a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. However, the originality and advancement of the game are a 1 out 5. Nothing has really changed but nothing has gotten worse in a great franchise. If you are a fan out the first two games, you will love this one just do not go in to the game expecting anything new or out of this world.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5