With a new company — Warner Brothers Games Montreal — taking over the Batman: Arkham series after the switch from Eidos, the big question was: can Batman: Arkham Origins live up to its predecessors? Personally, I think WB Games Montreal did a splendid job in this passing on of the Arkham torch.
Arkham Origins brings back previous Batman titles’ punchy and quick combat system. The controls are simple and well-done, and I recognized a lot of the counters and finishers from the earlier games. I was pleasantly surprised by the combat in Origins, and although I got what I expected — not a huge change from previous titles — everything Batman did seemed to have a little bit more energy and gusto. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed with the Arkham series is the level of difficulty — never too easy like AC, what with the interesting puzzles and tough boss fights, but never so hard that it got too the point of me turning off the console and, well, rage-quitting. Origins lives up to this (in my opinion) perfect difficulty level, and I enjoyed using new tools and features such as reconstructing a crime scene.
A lot of people are talking about the change in the way Batman and the world around him look in Origins, many with mixed feelings about this. In my opinion, the graphics weren’t “down-graded” as some described them, more that the style of art in general was redone. In fact I thought the animations, environments, and especially character models were very well done. My only complaint was that sometimes the facial animations seemed clunky and rushed — but then again, the protagonist and antagonist in the game both wear masks, so facial animations don’t seem as important as other games, say Uncharted.
I thought the story in Arkham Origins was fairly good, with the introduction of many infamous Batman villains as “assassins” for Black Mask, trying to hunt down Batman on Christmas Eve for a fifty million dollar bounty. The beginning seemed slightly abrupt to me, and probably not quite on par with Arkham City. I think it would have been a more interesting storyline if the game was similar to Frank Miller’s: Batman Year One, with the plot starting at the very beginning of Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting career. I say this because although the game was titled Arkham: Origins, it wasn’t so much an origin story as it was a tale of Batman’s earlier career, when he didn’t have as good a relationship with the Gotham Police Force, and people still weren’t sure who or what Batman really was. On that point, I thoroughly enjoyed the younger, more angry and unpredictable Batman portrayed in Origins. Unlike in previous games that took place later in Batman’s career, I was never sure how far Batman would go when it came to violence and interrogation.
Things parents should know:
The Arkham series has been fairly kid-friendly, keeping the rating of all the Batman games to a T for Teen, the second-lowest age rating. Batman is more — well what can I say — mean in Origins, yet on the other hand their is significantly less of an overall horror or slightly creepy theme to Origins. There are some portrayals of women you might not feel comfortable letting a very young child see, for example the Penguin’s girlfriend, who wheres skimpy clothing and acts suggestively — classic mobster girlfriend. If this seems like something you’re uncomfortable with, you can skip over the scene at any time. There is very little foul language if any, and nothing extremely offensive. There is a torture scene in which the Penguin beats and zaps a rival mobster with a tazer, so if you don’t want your kid to see that kind of violence, I would recommend skipping over that scene as well.
All in all I really liked Batman: Arkham Origins, and was happily surprised by what a quality game it truly is. If you have any questions about the game feel free to ask me in the comments below, and if you enjoyed the review why not share it, or leave a like ;D.