Batman: Arkham Origins is the latest incarnation of the popular Batman video gaming franchise and the task for developing the game was given to newly appointed Warner Bros Montreal. Much like its predecessors Arkham City and Arkham Asylum produced by UK based Rocksteady Games; the premise for Arkham Origins is much the same as previous titles.
Anyone who has had the fortune to play the two previous Batman titles will recognize that this game again is set in the vast sprawling metropolis of Gotham City which is dark and yet as beautiful as ever. Using the Unreal Engine, the developer’s graphic wise have produced a well chiselled body with regards to Batman and even the Gotham bad guys wouldn’t look out of place down the gym.
The brand new storyline is set during Christmas Eve and centres on Batman’s head being offered up as a fifty million dollar bounty by the gruesome villain the Black Mask. Batman is pitted against various members of the Gotham underworld, including assassins and even the corrupt police department. Who are heavy in pursuit of Batman hoping to claim this reward and will even ignore the citywide curfew because of a snowstorm to meet that end.
Included are two new foes to do battle with, firstly Martial Arts Expert who can deflect many of Batman’s special moves. And Enforcer a steroid filled brute who can only be attacked once stunned with flicks from Batman’s cape. There are the usual side missions pitting Batman against Enigma’s (aka The Riddler’s) puzzles to unlock a multitude of data packs around the city. And various overtaken radar towers will need to be hacked, so that the Bat Wing Jet can move freely throughout the city of Gotham.
Navigation through the vast Gotham City is done with a combination of Batman’s cape and the ever useful Bat Claw with a new remote claw feature that shoots a line of cable between two buildings, which provides much easier access to the high regions of the city. When it comes to combat the usual one button attack is still as eminent as ever, where a combination and build up of punches and counters is the recognized norm for dispatching a horde of baddies in a trouble free fashion. The welcome addition of the remote claw feature and the Electro-Shock Gloves, are even more ways to aid Batman during difficult situations.
With regards to game play there are some glowing similarities to the Batman: Arkham City title with the usual problems to solve using the Batman character, which makes good use of the ever present Batman Detective Vision that is now hooked up to the Bat Computer to produce 3D reconstruction of the city’s crime scenes. Everything that Batman completes in the game earns XP points, which can be used in the two tech trees to unlock various new abilities, armor and upgrades to the various Batman gadgets. Actually playing the game doesn’t come without a few problems either, there are a couple of bugs and glitches in the game that causes the game play to crash frequently, and can sometimes prevent Batman interacting with characters that need interrogating.
The actual setup of the multiplayer in this Batman Origins version of the game is another significant change in direction. Players can take on the roles of gang members from either the Bane’s cult or any one of the Joker’s goons, where players shoot out with each other to capture territory. Another two players can also take on the role of Batman and Robin, whose mission is to thwart the baddies using various energy draining attacks.
Batman: Arkham Origins is a fair attempt at an already established series of Batman games. And the guys at Warner Bros Montreal have produced a game that will keep diehard fans and owners of the previous games entertained for hours. But for the rest maybe taking a look at the previous Arkham Asylum or Arkham City is the first port of call for anyone new to playing this franchise of video games.