You are Bruce Wayne, a playboy millionaire by day and a kick ass vigilante known as the Batman by night. But your quest in stopping crime has got the attention of the infamous Black Mask, an underworld boss of the largest organized crime syndicate in Gotham city. Your constant disruption to his plans has forced him to place a bounty of $50 million on your head, for whoever kills you by the end of Christmas Eve (Bad guys have wishes too you know).
But the Batman in Arkham Origins is at its rawest. He is in his second year as the caped crusader and has almost no experience dealing with professional assassins such as Deathstroke, one of the 8 assassins who are after the bounty.
The plot seems rather simple but it is the storytelling that keeps you glued as the story unfolds. It is very engaging to watch Batman trying desperately to save Gotham (and himself) while following his one rule: no killing. It is in Arkham Origins that Batman makes acquaintance with some of the most memorable villains which will pave way to eternal rivalry, including the clown prince of crime – the joker.
Using the unreal engine 3, the graphics are a marked improvement since the last instalment, Batman Arkham City. There are a lot of particle and lightning effects that give a very solemn feel to the game. Better yet, it does not require a beast like machine to run the game. A decent graphic card should play the game in medium and low settings and still look good.
The game is played from a third person perspective, giving a nice view of Batman’s inhuman trapezius. Batman is a fighting game where you dish out ruthless combos and lightning fast counter attacks with the simple click of the appropriate buttons. For all those new to the series: the combat mechanics of the game is divided into two types – the overt combat mode, where you can show off Batman’s martial art skills, and there is the covert predator mode, where you have to use every gadget in Batman’s utility belt to take out armed thugs, stealthily. The veterans will know exactly how it works because…it is exactly the same mechanics as before. There is nothing new in the game combat mechanism which will make you jump up from your seats.
What Arkham Origins does have however is a bigger map. But bigger does not necessarily mean better. You can zip from roof top to roof top for miles and not meet a single soul, except for some occasional goons spawning randomly. The world map also has a fast travel point that you unlock by completing certain side quests. This proves handy as the map is very large.
The new gadgets are nothing very fascinating. The remote claw is useful to slam two targets together, the concussion grenade can prove useful while dealing with a tightly packed mob, the glue bomb is just a generic copy of the Freeze bomb from Arkham City and the shock gloves proves to be some sort of kill switch that can knock out normal goons in an instant and stun shielded ones.
While the combat and gadgets fail to deliver, the detective aspect of the game has seen a major overhaul. Unlike in the previous games Batman can now use his superior technology to virtually reconstruct the crime scene and deduce what might have happened.
Of course, what is a batman without his batcave? A homeless bat! Forgive my attempt on humour, but yes there is a batcave in the game and its fully interactive. You can reach it via the fast travel system in the map and there are quite a number of things you can do. For example you get your special equipments from the workshop. There is also a training arena where you can practise against new foes such as the martial artist, a new addition to the Batman’s enemy roster. These goons are just as good as batman and can counter Batman’s attacks. If not careful these guys can be an utter nuisance and become the reason for numerous game over screens. There is also Bruce Wayne’s loyal family butler, Alfred, who will make occasional sarcastic remarks which will make even the most serious of Batmans out there to crack a smile. Alfred also serves as a moral beacon for Bruce and it’s nice to see the world famous butler get a little more face time.
There is also a competitive multiplayer that requires a lot of players to play to be honest. I have not tried the multiplayer due to my horrendous network so I am not the best to judge this aspect of the game really.
For newcomers to the Batman series, this game will be a real treat. It has all that a newbie would want in a Batman game: gadgets, villains, stealth and Batman! But for all the battle hardened Veterans, this game provide nothing new. It still is a great game at its own right but it lacks innovation and its uninspired combat system will get very tiring.
The Good: Nice, visually stimulating graphics. Intriguing storytelling. Excellent voice acting. The joker.
The Bad: No departure from the original games. Occasional glitches and navigation issues. Unchallenging boss fights.
Available for: Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, PS Vita
By Ambiso Tawsik ([email protected])