Published on October 29th, 2013 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Batman: Arkham Origins
Release date: 25th October 2013
Available on: XBox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC
Summary: The Dark Knight glides out of the shadows in the latest, third-person beat-’em-up. It follows the same style and formula as the previous games: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, with a world that’s almost doubled in size.
Concept: Set as a prequel to the previous games, Batman is supposedly younger and sharper than before (but seems no different whatsoever). Master of crime, The Black Mask, has put a $50-million bounty on your head which draws the attention of eight world-class assassin’s, and it’s right on Christmas Eve too (bummer). This idea works well, but it’s not written with the same flare that engrossed us previously. Some of the villains swapped creepiness with silliness, losing the essence of the story.
Graphics: We’re looking at a game that appears very familiar, but without the extra polish we’ve seen before. For example; the bigger city lacks the same level of interesting sights, collectibles and colourfully-lit destinations in the distance. It also seems to be quite devoid of life in general, as civilians aren’t around much at all, while enemy goons appear only occasionally in small groups, waiting to be pounced-on and pummeled.
Gameplay: Once again, Batman will use a mix of combat, stealth, detective work and gadgets to get in and out of trouble. Combat uses beefy biff moves and cool counters to perfection, making you feel like a badass. Adding some thinking to the game, Detective Vision now allows you to scan clues of a crime scene to recreate a “ghost” of the incident, and eventually calculate the source, unlocking more story and locations. Exploration can be covered quickly by calling for the Batwing, which is basically a small, non-interactive cutscene that works like quick-travel.
Sound: Dramatic music escalates at key boss fights in the game, but remains eerily quiet while gliding around. Yet there’s a good variety of tunes that blends in well with the level of drama before you. Both Batman and The Joker have new voice actors, and both do a great job carrying over the roles in a silky-smooth transition.
Multiplayer: Online play has been included for the first time in the series, and it’s mostly just a very average third-person shooter, as you take on the role of a gun-wielding goon. The best mode involves shooting the enemy while evading take-downs from Batman and Robin themselves.
Awesomeness: As a whole, this game is largely as good as it’s ever been. Despite being an entirely different game, the premise is so similar, it feels like some kind of clone attempt (where the clone has a droopy eye-lid).
Final Word: We feel this is a tiny step back from a strong series, ‘cos we can’t shake the feeling that this entry is running too safely on the current formula, nor does it quite meet the standard of the games before it. But these minor miscues detract little from the franchise. Play this if you’re after more of the same goodness, but avoid it if you’re for hunting for the next level exciting bat-things.
Score out of 5 Bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing