Review-E-Mania > Batman Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins proves beyond a shadow of doubt that RockSteady Games is an incredibly tough act to follow. Not to pour pressure onto WB Montreal – Lord knows the studio had enough to deal with when they were assigned the Arkham series – but Arkham Origins fails to meet the sky-high standards established by the British developer that helmed both Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Asylum. The fact that Arkham Origins has been constructed using a lot of the same assets of its predecessors can’t help but throw its shortcomings into sharper relief.
At first I thought the combat was unchanged, but the more I played, the more aware I became that it was actually worse. The controls and animations are the same, but the tempo is all wrong. Rocksteady’s original system was influenced by rhythm action games, the enemies attacking almost to a beat. But in Origins, their attack patterns are more sporadic, which has destroyed that precise, rhythmic flow. It’s like a bad cover version of a great song, by a band that keeps inexplicably slowing down and speeding up. It’s recognisable, but it’s not quite right.
A new feature I do like is the Devil May Cry-inspired rating system. After each fight, the amount of XP you’re awarded is dictated by your performance. If you used a lot of variety, mixing gadgets and combos, you’ll earn more, and get a better overall rating. The same system applies to predator challenges, where you’re rewarded for using the environment in interesting ways.
Alongside the main story missions, the rooftops of Gotham are filled with collectibles and side-missions. The Riddler’s back – except here he’s called Enigma – and he’s stored data packs around Gotham’s map and protected them with an array of puzzles. He’s also taken control of several radar towers, which Batman has to enter and hack if he hopes to use the Bat Wing jet to fast-travel through the city.
If you have never played the Batman Arkham games, you are missing out on one of modern gaming’s greatest franchises. Batman: Arkham Origins is the third game in the series, but as the name implies, it’s a prequel. As such, one can reasonably start with this new game and not be lost. That being said, the first two games are certainly worth playing and are cheaper starting points – especially if you happened to grab the recent Humble WB Games Bundle.
So if you really want great action,you should play this game.