Iggy’s World: Batman Arkham Origins
Can you believe the month of Arkham is nearly over, the official debut of Arkham Knight is days away at this point. Before you have an Omega, there must be an Alpha. With Rocksteady focusing on Arkham Knight, development for Origins was given to WB Montreal, who were responsible for the Wii U port of Arkham City. Which lead me to questioning the quality of this game, sure they have the blueprint for greatness but can WB replicate the magic from previous installments.
With Origins being right in the title, it’s fitting that this game actually takes places with a Year One scenario for The Dark Knight. While I wasn’t a fan to revisit a young Batman (that’s a hang up on me, not the writing staff) I did enjoy the incorporation of new villains to mix. Yes some old classics come back, but there was enough new characters within the Arkham universe for Batman to tangle with which. The plot for Origins doesn’t have the twist and turns that made Arkham City memorable, but it did have the fundamentals for a entertaining Batman story. A mystery that ends up becoming larger in scope.
The only aspect I had a problem with the story was the inclusion of The Joker as the main foil for Batman once again. I just comes off as incredibly lazy to just throw in the Joker in here just because it’s the origin to Arkham. You have villains that haven’t been featured before to throw at Batman, but instead they went with something that we’ve seen over and over again. Yes Troy Baker delivers the creepiest Joker yet and I loved his performance but seeing the Joker took the wind out of my sails on an otherwise enjoyable story. Complementing Troy Baker as the new Joker, is Roger Craig Smith as Batman and for the most part he captures the gruff tone of Batman. He doesn’t try to mimic Kevin Conroy, but from my ears he seems to have leaned on his Chris Redfield voice. It’s not distracting but it just confirms that Chris Redfield would make a great Batman.
If you loved Arkham City then you’re gonna love the core gameplay of Origins. This is sadly the biggest disappointment is how few changes are made to combat (with the exception of one aspect) and stealth. It’s more of the same, which you can chalk up to a “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality. Just don’t play Origins immediately after City, you might have enter a case of burnout. I did enjoy the new electric gauntlets that Batman gains near the end of the game, as it charges as you chain combos to fill up the meter. In a sense, it’s a “fuck you I win button” as it ignores shields, and automatically delivers super combos to heavier enemies. I can’t deny how much fun it was to implement when facing hordes of enemies. Even the Riddler challenges and looking for data packs in this case just felt even more cumbersome. Despite the electric gauntlets I couldn’t help but be bored as the game progressed.
One aspect that didn’t lack in Origins was the boss battles, and I’ll make the bold proclamation that I enjoyed Origins bosses more than the previous two. While they are formulaic in their own right, I had a blast playing them as each offered a different challenge. The highlight being the final battle against Bane as it combines using stealth to defeat Bane in his overdosed venom form. At least in this instance WB Montreal didn’t decide to rehash past boss battles, which made the game more enjoyable from my perspective.
While Arkham City was just the right amount of size, but I felt that Origins was to damn big. Yes you can fast travel (after you’ve unlocked it that it) however when you’re completing sidequests and you have to go on the other side of the map. You can tell it’s to big when the game will either freeze or the framerate drops as you enter a another area. It’s obvious that this game was rushed before proper polishing needed to be done. Cut scenes stuttered as the previous mentions of terrible framerate and freezing did suck me out of this immersive world that was built before them.
Batman Arkham Origins is not a terrible game by any means. It’s an extremely flawed game with technical issues, but it still manages to deliver a solid Batman experience, even if though the basis stems from Arkham City. That will conclude my contribution for Arkham Month, next up will be Mr.Dragon as he the Arkham series goes mobile and of course the dramatic conclusion with Arkham Knight.
Batman Arkham Origins earns a 6/10