Batman: Arkham Origins is the third title of the Batman trilogy, following up Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. It’s an open-world adventure game that places you in the shoes of the richest, most badass dude-in-a-flying-rat-costume that we all know and love. While not significantly different than its predecessor, a younger version of Batman is here with all of his wonderful toys at our disposal.
Now when I say younger, I don’t mean an acne-riddled teen or beer-drinking frat boy. Instead, it’s the early stages of the Dark Knight’s career and he’s been dealing out his nightly vigilante justice for a few months. It’s not a true origin story as the commercial or title suggests (see video above). I’m guessing they didn’t want to become another video game version of Batman: Begins (which was about as horrible as Christian Bale’s Batman Voice). Instead, it serves as a prequel to the entire series by introducing the beginning stages of Gordon and Batman’s relationship, and how the Joker and Batman rivalry came to be.
The combo system that has defined this franchise is still present and is as fluid as ever. The highlight of this game is feeling like you are Batman, skillfully taking down hordes of thugs with a mix of stylish martial arts, high-end gadgets, and brute force. When you’re not partaking in a good ‘ol fashioned brawl, there are “predator” encounters where you stalk thugs from high vantage points and dark corners with your ninja-like capabilities. It provides a nice break from the larger group battles and is just as satisfying. Fights and encounters get harder as the game progresses, but your skills and available gadgets will also expand with more experience. Each instance of a brawl or predator encounter is graded based on a variety of factors like your highest combo, number of gadgets used, and/or how many times you were spotted. The better the grade, the more experience points earned.
When you’re tired of doing missions, you can spend countless hours patrolling the city: break up crimes in-progress, solve various murder cases, interrupt nefarious plots, or search for hidden data packs courtesy of The Riddler. You can also visit the Bat Cave and partake in some challenges to hone your skills and climb the leaderboards.
A competitive multiplayer has been introduced, where 8 players are split into 3 teams: Batman & Robin, Joker’s goons, and Bane’s army. The bad guy teams aim to eliminate each other to gain control, while the dynamic duo attempt to take out criminals from both sides. I haven’t had much time with the new play mode, but it felt hastily put together. While the concept has potential, the criminals feel weak and the heroes even weaker. A co-op mode for Batman and Robin, in an open-world environment, is what I’d rather see.
Verdict – Full Price
Although the game feels a little predictable and doesn’t do much to give us anything new (with the exception of multiplayer mode), it’s still a fun game to play with its free-flow combat and predator mechanics. For any fan of the series, it’s a worthwhile buy to finish out the trilogy.