By David Demarco, Editor
“Batman: Arkham Origins”, the third installment of the :Batman: Arkham” series was one of the most hyped games of 2013. With Warner Bros. Games Montreal taking over the game development after Rocksteady Studios, it was well-documented they would be faced with the pressure of making the next big step in the series. While a fantastic game was presented, it failed to separate itself and reach its almost unrealistic expectations.
The game serves as a prequel to the series, taking place years before the events of “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” On Christmas Eve Batman is hunted by eight of the world’s deadliest assassins after Black Mask places a pricey bounty on him. Batman attempts to track down Black Mask while encountering the deadly assassins, the Gotham City Police Department and several other familiar villains of the series.
Like “Batman: Arkham City,” you are able to control Batman freely through Gotham City using his grapple and gliding ability of his cape. Like previous games, the focus is based around the combat and stealth, aided by the use of Batman’s gadgets and physical ability. The free-flow combat system remains untouched, allowing you to rack up wild combos on a group of enemies with the use of a variety of attacks and gadgets. An added bonus this time through is the Batcave becomes accessible along with the Batcomputer and training console. The Batwing, Batman’s infamous aircraft, has been worked into the game allowing players to be dropped off from the Batcave to various parts of Gotham City. The new “Crime in progress” feature gives alerts when nearby crimes are taking place to allow the player to intervene and gain reputation with the GCPD.
“Batman: Arkham Origins” is the first installment for the series to an attempt an online multi-player mode. The lack of activity demonstrates how the new feature failed to catch on after having to wait over 10 minutes to start each game while waiting for the required number of players to join. Eight total players are divided into three teams. Two sets of three man teams led by Bane and Joker battle the duo of Batman and Robin when they are dropped into squished arenas without a clear objective other than brawling. The fast moving combat makes it far too difficult for constant interaction. Multi-player was a flop, but luckily for Warner Bros, fans never seemed too excited at the idea anyway.
Anyone that has played any of the previous two games will notice it is essentially an expansion of its predecessors. “Batman: Arkham Origins” failed to branch off and become a game of its own. Veterans of the series will feel let down by the lack of surprises and the few cosmetic updates. Apart from the few additions to gadgets, the game resembles perhaps too much from the original two. Batman’s traveling ability and free-flow combat style were an obvious keep, but the only original piece is the story and the fact that Batman, for whatever reason, is a bit more vocal.
“Batman: Arkham Origins” is a fun and action-packed game that almost anybody will enjoy. While it failed to be innovative and bring miles of new content like its predecessors, it’s still a fantastic continuation of the “Batman: Arkham” series with a thrilling storyline.