Batman: Arkham Origins. A Christmas Review

So it's Christmas and I don't have too much to do at the moment, so I decided to do a review of one of the recent games that came out this passed month, Batman: Arkham Origins, and it's just as many people have said about it. However, at the time it that didn't stop me out of curiosity from getting it and what it had to offer since it was made by different game developers and all.

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The plot of Arkham Origins is pretty much a straight forward story, with lots of action, drama, and a few plot twists that kept me in a state of 'awe' or left me with a 'meh' feeling. The story is set in 5 years before the events of Arkham Asylum, where you play a young but harsh and brutal Batman, who's is in his second year of his career, beating the crap out of criminals and still thought out as an urban myth to the public, who has a bounty placed on his head by the criminal warlord, Black Mask, and draws out 8 assassins from different parts of the world in to take on Batman one by one on Christmas Eve. At the same time, he must deal with the corrupt forces of GCPD while gaining the trust of James Gordon. Lastly, we have The Joker who has plans of his own who Batman must confront and stop him at all cause. So yeah, there's a lot going for Batman, which is way if I was batman I would've just stayed home. But hey, it's nothing that he can't handle, right?

It's all depends how you look at Origins as a gamer. For me, I enjoyed the story and they did an good job on the main characters, introducing the villains in a bad ass way, and created lot of dark tones and intensity. I thought that Roger Craig Smith did alright as Batman, making him darker and more aggressive. At first, I wash't too thrilled about Troy Baker as the Joker because it felt like he was trying to sound like Mark Hamill, but got into him when I process into the game and thought he kicked ass. I loved Alfred in here and it was interesting to see Batman and Gordon come into blows until they slowing show some respects.

Gameplay wise, however, is a different matter and truth be told it's nothing compared to Arkham City. In fact, it play almost exactly play Arkham City but flawed in some ways that you'd thought they just copied and pasted the game. Granted, gotham city looks bigger than before, and the building are designed differently to resemble that this take place in the past, with lot of heavy snow covering the area, christmas decorations and a large bridge in the middle of it all. The problem is that there not too many things too do here but to fly around through the city, beat up thugs with baseball bats, collecting enigma desk, and stopping turf wars, which doesn't leave you much of variety. In Arkham Asylum and City, you have to go to certain places to snapshot items, signs, characters etc. to collect references and stuff so you can identify who those characters and places which make it feel as though your part of the Bat universe, as well as getting unlock galleries and challenges. You don't do that here, It's just mostly for scenery sake, and with no intent of interaction with it, as well as no citizens to be found, it just feels sorta empty.

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I really had a hard time traveling around the city using the grapple gun because I wasn't able to hook on to a lot of the buildings, so your limited to grapple on to things unlike the first 2 games. There's this one huge building where you either have to go around, or go through the entrance underground and then back up again to get through the other side. I was so pissed at that one because I had to rush to get to a scene of a crime as soon as possible, but I had to get through THAT ONE BUILDING THAT I COULD'VE GOTTEN PASSED IN A COUPLE OF SECONDS. And OMG, that bridge, that stupid bridge. All of those wires and I can only get the ones from the bottom. Are you serious? Well, good thing I can get around Gotham via Bat wing, wish I could control it on my own rather than watching it through a loading scene, but whatever.

The fighting mechanics are pretty much the same thing, but it feels rigid and sometimes the controls don't react the way I want it too, especially the counters. I also can't knockout the Thug that's laying on the ground from a distance (like in Asylum and City) without being right next to him, which suck since everyone is coming at me. I like that they brought in a martial artist, bigger guys and Bane minions to mix things up, with other guys with shields and guns attacking you at the same time. But at one point I got so annoyed from the fight that I had to flee from them, yet they're still able to shoot at me at the buildings. I got the Electro Gauntlets, which made things easier, but gotten a habit of rely on it too often rather than my skills and other gadgets. Also, the gadgets were mostly the same and too advice, I wished they brought the sonic device where you call in the Bats as a attack or something like in One Year.

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The Evidence Scanner is back, but they set up it in a way you scan area for evidence where the information is uploaded to the bat computer and creates a sequence of how the scene of the crime took place, there for identifying both the victim and criminal which will help you solve the case. I liked the new feature, and it's quicker for Batman to get everything done in such a short amount of time, I just wish that I could have done more with it, at least for some cases where you have to get the criminal. Remember back in the bat cave where Batman had that bill board with Red Hood pictures and all that equipment in that section. Wouldn't it be awesome to get into all of that equipment and solve the case that way? I know I would.

Speaking of the Bat cave, it was fun talking to Alfred to see what things he had to say, I didn't bother too much going through the training area, I wasn't too happy with some of the selections of the bat suits so I stuck with the Noel Suit because going out in the snow felt like that Batman: Noel story. Back at Gotham, I managed to collect all of Enigma's Desk for some time, but they were mostly easy to get with no intent on making it a challenge, sure maybe a couple of them were and you'd have to destroy the controls at those Towers, but Arkham City really set the bar and made you have to work for them, plus you get back at The Riddle, unlike in Origins where he just...disappears. The Side Missions were mediocre at best, some were just recycled version of what we went through in the other two games (I'm looking at you Mad Hatter) but I was forced to complete the left overs since I beat most of the game.

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Now for the boss battle:

  • Killer Croc: Liked his new design, looks more monstrous feel than in before. The enjoyed the fight, but I expected more. He wasn't even after Batman as an assassin but more like a hired thug. It probably would've been better if we were someplace where Croc can attack me from the river.
  • The Executioner: Believe it or not I've never heard of him before playing Origins, but thought that they could've at least given him something that would pose a challenge to Batman rather than making him as a pathetic character. For example, Batman's gadgets and equipment are mostly electronic right? Maybe Executioner could've mess around with Bat's equipment forcing Batman to end the fight quickly, but that's just something I thought of, didn't mind him being killed off, though LOL
  • Deathstroke: Thought he was awesome here and kept me on my toes at first before I was able to figure out his attacks and counters, which took a while to defeat. Still, the fight was short lived and would have loved to fight him again at some point in the game. Also, I know it's a different version of him, but I wise the game developers stop making him an avenge mercenary since I know in the comics he was able to handle Batman with ease.
  • Deadshot: I like the introduction of how Batman was able to figure out that Deadshot was the one who took out the helicopter. The fight, however, was a big let down. It's the same thing when Cat Woman fought Two Face in Arkham City, only with powerful guns and talks A LOT. And on a side mission no less than the main story. You know what could've been better? Batman approaches the building where Deadshot is located but shoots at Batman from a far distance, using obstacles to make a barrage of ricochets everywhere at him and target containers that explodes, giving Bat's a hard time. Maybe even shooting at cops so an a exhausted Batman can save them, and must use stealth around the city to get to Deadshot. Just wishful thinking.
  • Copperhead: Thought she did ok in this fight with the hallucinations scenes and all, but needs to be more of a challenge. Chase me around the building with those claws like in a horror movie or something, I don't know. P.S. Batman would've been dead if Alfred didn't help out with the antidote.
  • Shiva: Despite that it was exciting to see her attack Batman out of nowhere and getting a chance to face her for the first time in a game, I didn't like the how the side mission played out. Why did Shiva went through the trouble of telling Bat's to save a cop, only for her to kill another cop, but then tells Bats to fight her at some tower where he needs to prove himself to Shiva? It would have be much similar if she sent out her ninjas to do the job for her, have Batman investigate the murders, fight the ninjas, then tell him where she was located to 'test his abilities' and 'that your methods of protecting Gotham is meaningless' - get me a break.
  • FireFly: This got me engaged into the game because they mix things around with the mechanics of the fight. I love how you have to grapple on to him as he's flying around the bridge, and then destroy his jet pack.
  • Bane: Bane dominates here and really gave me a hard time in a three fights, so much so that it took me hours to beat him. I'm glad they put a lot of effort into his characterization and abilities since I think he could've been the main villain.
  • Black mask was such a disappointment because The Joker came in and took his thunder, once again making him the main guy after Batman because they have a connection, and destined to do this forever blah blah blah. I don't think Black Mask would offer much as a villain anyways, which is why they threw in Joker they regret killing him off in Arkham city but it would have been nice to not see him just once.
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To some it up, Origins has a great story, but it's just the same gameplay as before, does nothing to offer anything new or expand itself to make it better from the other two. Sure, there's multiplayer and the DLC maps but that's not why I bought Origins. Then there's the poor use of some of the assassins, which was disappointing. I guess that's why fans were hesitant when they switch to a different team of developers, but at least this game will keep me occupied until they make a better game in the future.

3.5 out of 5.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.