Batman: Arkham Origins
I had the opportunity to pick up Batman: Arkham Origins for the PS3 not too long ago. It was a “new studio, new voice actors, new design, same Batman” prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. A lot of folks were skeptical, but I loves me the Batman, so I had to play it. When I heard that there was free DLC for the PS3 to wear the 1966 Adam West Batman costume, I was so excited. Adam West was my favorite Batman of all time and I planned to run through the whole damn game as my boyhood hero. After I started to play the game, I found out that you couldn’t don another costume till you had finished the game and started a new one. No problem, right? I love Batman, I loved Arkham Asylum (Arkham City didn’t do much for me, but it was a good game), and I after I heard Troy Baker as the Joker, I was certain that I’d be running around Gotham in my Adam West costume in no time for a second time. Well, I just finished the game and I think it’s safe to say… That I’ll never see the costume in action.
|“Yep. Can’t have a Batman game without this…. Again.”|
Okay, tell me the bad news first:
The game is repetitive as hell. The same 6 enemies (2 normals, 2 Titans/armor, knife guy, shield guy) block your occupy the first two rooms of a level, then the big open room with 7-8 armed guys (now with proximity mined gargoyles and snipers in the roster), 2 more rooms of the same 6 enemies, boss fight in 3 or more stages, rinse, repeat. Every mission was the same. Also there was more backtracking than the previous 2 games combined. It got boring very quickly for me.
And the enemies! Jiminy Fucking Crickets, were they cheap! As the story progressed, every other building has a sniper on top, so even traveling from mission to mission, I’d end up at the mission start with a substantial health loss before I entered the mission itself. It’s not a good sign when the minion characters in a game bring me to near controller snapping rage than an actual boss. A bunch of these assholes rushing you in the middle if a boss fight really didn’t help much either. It’s par for the course, but it’s also EVERY boss fight. I mean I actually bit my controller out of frustration at one point. Like physically bit the thing…. With teeth…
Speaking of bosses, it’s possible to get 100% story completion without even encountering 2 of the bosses mentioned in the intro. Does not seem right, seeing as one of them figured prominently in one of the trailers. It felt like half way through, the writers forgot that they had 8 assassins lose in the city and decided to concentrate on 6 of them.
The graphics weren’t even in the same ballpark of the previous 2 games either. When you swing the camera around to look at Batman head on, he looks more like that German arm wrestling champ than a superhero seeing as how his right arm is HUGE compared to his left. Texture pop in ran rampant as well as a myriad of slowdowns and environment glitches. One of the charging enemies put Batman into the wall, and I had to restart from the checkpoint because I couldn’t get him out. From a technical aspect, this game needed a bit more work before everybody stopped giving a damn about the 360/PS3 generation of gaming.
Did you like anything about the game?
This is a tough review. I really wanted to like this game. It breaks my heart that I can’t say many positive things about it. Troy Baker was a phenomenal Joker, rivaling Mark Hamill himself. There were also some truly stand out parts, especially the fight with Firefly. It felt like a Batman game, rife with free flow combat and a ton of gadgets. The sole new mechanic were the crime scene reconstruction scenarios that were really cool and inventive. Reconstructing the scene and buffering through the virtual events to find more pieces to the puzzle was a really satisfying mechanic. Sadly, that’s where my affection for the game stops.
Like I said before, I tried really hard to like this game. I played it till the end, hoping that something awesome would happen, but sadly, Batman couldn’t even save his own game from becoming a blemish on an otherwise great franchise. Great voice acting, new Crime Scene mechanic, and a few standout parts aside, it’s overshadowed by an underdeveloped and slow plot, cheap villains, technical glitches, and mind numbing repetition.
Batman: Arkham Origins gets 2 roses in Crime Alley out of 5.