The Dark Knight returns for another installment of the hit Arkham games. I absolutely fell in love with last year's Batman: Arkham City after secretly playing my brother's copy and it was hands-down the best game of the year. Never did I think that a superhero game could achieve more than as simply as a movie tie-in. The series surpassed my expectations and suffice it to say, I was excited to check out the latest game in the series. The latest video game I will be reviewing is the Arkham prequel: Batman: Arkham Origins.
The Story: Set years prior to the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum (the first game in the series), Bruce Wayne has started his adventures as the Dark Knight and began his mission toward ending the criminal control in Gotham City. Batman: Arkham Origins takes place on Christmas Eve when criminal mastermind and mob boss Black Mask issues a cash challenge to several highly-trained and powerful assassins to rid Gotham City of Batman.
Batman: Arkham Origins delves into the early days of Batman, as well as the beginnings of several notable characters and villains like (the future) Commissioner Gordon, the Penguin, Deathstroke, Bane, Barbara Gordon (the future Batgirl/Oracle), and the clownish psychopath Joker to name a few.
Where To Play: Arkham Origins is available on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.
The Good: Batman: Arkham Origins excels with its immerse storyline and open world. The success of the previous game proved that the developers could integrate its characters, the landscape and the extras together to make a cohesive story. While there was a linear plot to follow, I enjoyed all the hidden easter eggs and side-missions that deviated from the main story.
Similar to the previous installment, the main and supporting characters were the biggest draw. I enjoyed the interactions that Batman had with the likes of Joker, Anarky, The Mad Hatter and the many characters he encountered while roaming Gotham City. I grew up loving Batman (i.e. watching the movies, the cartoon TV show, games, action figures) and it was great to meet new characters while revisting the familiar ones.
The Bad: Arkham Origins only suffered from two negatives that left me questioning certain aspects. The first were the technical glitches that kept popping up during loading screens and saving. At first I wondered if there was an issue with my console, but the problems persisted when the game froze/stopped at certain points and wouldn't transition to the loading screen. While it only happened a few times, it was still enough to notice.
The final negative was the ending. Compared to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Arkham Origins presented a lackluster conclusion and boss battle to finish the game. The final scene and battle, which preceded itself after a somewhat easy fight, didn't last more than two minutes. Without giving anything away in terms of the villain and battle, I expected a much more thrilling conclusion.
The Results: 8/10!
Batman: Arkham Origins had a lot to live up to in terms of expectations. Since it's a prequel compared to a sequel, a lot of what was introduced was exposition and reintroduced many aspects to people new to the Batman universe. Characters, whether main or supporting, delivered great performances and were more than just filler of having a character on screen. The technical glitches presented a slight problem with the gameplay and the lackluster conclusion didn't payoff after what was up until that point a satisfying story. If you're a fan of Batman (or like action games), this is the game for you. It's also a great filler until the next Arkham game is released that continues the story after Arkham City.
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