Batman: Arkham Origins review
The latest in the Batman: Arkham series, aptly named Arkham Origins, delivers a (I didn’t think it was possible) grittier, darker Batman, akin to say if Frank Miller had written ‘Year One’. While much of the series signature weapons, gadgets, and concepts remain, they are delivered with a polish lacking in the original ‘Asylum‘ which seems weird, since this is basically supposed to be Batman’s earlier years. However, this isn’t a bad thing.
I’m going to attempt to deliver a quick synopsis of the storyline without any spoilers, so this will be short and sweet. Basically, Black Mask puts a $50,000,000 hit out on your life, and hires a ton of assassins who are all racing to murder you. This motley crew includes Bane, Copperhead, Shiva and more. This all takes place prior to ‘Arkham Asylum’ and sets up a lot of the interactions you may have already experienced if you played the latter 2 games. Roger Craig Smith does a great job as Batman / Bruce Wayne and actually sounds like a younger version of Kevin Conroy which is nice. Troy Baker delivers an excellent performance as the Joker and other old favorites reprise their old roles, but I’ll let you find out.
The Free-Flow combat system returns, and it’s much easier to dictate where you are going, and build your combos, counter bad guys, and direct Batman along lines to specific enemies. There is, however, one fatal flaw inherent in this system: Over-commital. I like beating able to kick the ass of everyone in any given room, but it just seems like in a lot of situations, you are forced to deliver body blows, and then when presented with the option to defer an attack, you aren’t really allowed to stop some of the combos to block or counter your enemies. This can be rather frustrating when you have to fight Bane for example, along with 20 to 30 of his henchmen. Oh well, not much you can do here, but at least the game doesn’t force you to start at the beginning of the encounter. Which is extremely helpful all things considered.
Pretty much all your old favorite gadgets are available from the start, or with some minor unlocking, but I was mostly impressed with the new Remote Claw. Firstly, let me start with saying, ‘Origins’ is like a super dark Megaman in a sense: You beat enemies, and take their weapons for your own. The Remote Claw is one of these weapons. It functions much like your standard Bat Claw, with one major exception. This weapon is used primarily for either creating a tether from one anchor to another, allowing you to zip-line / tight-rope walk across rooms and gaps, and more importantly, using said tether to remotely disable up to 3 enemies. This is performed by firing the Claw at an enemy who will then be attached to a gargoyle for example, and then pulled up and out of harms way while you are in the standard Predator encounters. Needless to say, I love this thing!
A glue grenade replaces Mr. Freezes ice grenades, and multiple costumes do make their return upon beating the game, which lasts several hours. Warner Bros. studios added much more in the whole detective mode, which really makes you feel like Batman, with a lot more crime scenes and mental puzzles to solve.
While I didn’t care for the forced 3/4 perspective levels, as these kind of ruin the whole point of being an insane vigilante who really just likes to run amok taking down bad guys, these levels were short lived and only a minor part of the story. So if you guys have either played the original 2, or on the fence about this….JUST PICK UP ALL 3. No joke, all of it, is completely worth your time.
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