Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure, beat ’em up, stealth
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DC fans unite! Batman is back in the third part of the Arkham trilogy with Origins. This game takes place before the outbreak at Arkham Asylum or the opening of Arkham City. We get to see the beginning of the Dark Knight’s journey to put a stop to crime that has riddled Gotham City for so long.
It’s Christmas Eve and Batman is in for a not-so-merry Christmas. He arrives to suppress a jailbreak led by Black Mask who ends up killing Police Commissioner Loeb before he can be stopped. The Caped Crusader soon discovers that Black Mask has hired eight assassins to kill him for a bounty of fifty million dollars. The villainous group consists of: Bane, Firefly, Electrocutioner, Shiva, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Copperhead and Deathstroke.
One crime scene at a time, Batman has to figure out where Black Mask is and who exactly is behind the scenes of all the chaos happening in Gotham City. The setting of Arkham Origins is at most two years into Batman’s career which is why the criminals aren’t the only problem on his hands—the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) is also after the wanted vigilante, including (then) Captain Jim Gordon! Together with the help of Jim’s daughter, Barbara Gordon, and his ever faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth, Batman must use every tool, vehicle, and technique to save his city before it falls prey to the darkest enemies it ever seen.
Batman is not your average hero, so he takes care of criminals in a not so average way. He may hang them off the roof, beat them to a pulp, break their arm, or pin them to a wall to get information. There is foul language during the story cutscenes with words like b****, a******, and several other expletives.
In regards to violence there is plenty, so expect knives, guns, and beatdowns. It depicts a very dark Gotham City in need of hope and light.
There are some female characters that are dressed provocatively and/or give sexual innuendoes, but there is no actual nudity.
If you have played Batman: Arkham Asylum or Arkham City then Origins will feel familiar. Imagine playing the direct sequel to City and that’s how the gameplay is. I personally didn’t enjoy this because there wasn’t anything new; it felt more like a very long DLC for Arkham City. If this is your first time playing a Batman Arkham game, then you’ll have fun punching faces into the pavement and using your Batarangs, Batclaw and other gadgets to get through each scenario. If it’s your first time, then you will enjoy the Free Flow combat system which allows you to start a fight wherever there are thugs and it’s also great to play in 3rd person as you can see all the movements of the Dark Knight clearly.
To upgrade your weapons, armor and skills you must level up when you get enough experience. When you complete missions, beat down gangs and master challenges you get experience points. You can choose from: Close Combat Upgrades, Invisible Protector Upgrades or Auxiliary Upgrades. Focus more on Close Combat Upgrades as those will help you out in battle while the other upgrade your moves and weaponry.
If your looking to be a completionist and get 100% of everything in the game, your going to have to kick a lot of tail in the training mode. Found in the Bat Cave, you must approach a small device and choose who to fight with. What’s neat is that you can play as Bruce without the bat suit or even as DeathStroke! Each training stage consists of beating enemies with a time limit or with restraints put on your character.There are literally hundreds of challenges so this does take up a lot of your time so unless your looking to get all the trophies, concept art and info on various characters you can skip this one.
Batman can glide around the city using his cape, which is a lot of space to traverse. He can use the grapnel gun to quickly pull himself up to a higher area and use the Grapnel Accelerator to go faster. You collect plenty of gadgets like the Shock Gloves, Smoke Pellets, the Disruptor and many more to help keep the peace.
If you’re tired of using the grapnel and need to get to the other side of the map, use the fast travel system to summon the Batwing and get there, as long as the tower installations that block the signal are disabled. Depending on the area you go to, there are different kinds of enemies. Some work for Black Mask while others work for the Joker or other criminals. Each one may have a different mask or an accent like Bane’s men, but they all essentially fight the same. There are areas like parks, sewer systems, and bridges you will traverse to see the wide ranging world of Gotham. “Crimes in Progress” is a new side-mission where you can help the GCPD take down criminals or save a hostage. You can also try out the “Most Wanted” side missions where you have to hunt down enemies that have a bounty out for Batman.
Some of these “Most Wanted” side missions are very differnt than the rest of the game, such as the 2D platform experience in the strange world of the Mad Hatter (Arkham Asylum fans can recall the Scarecrow sequences). It’s not only weird but challenging, so watch where you walk when doing that one. There’s also the hunt for Deadshot where you have to trace back his bullet trails, recent victims and finally take him down before he kills a hostage.
What I personally enjoy, being a Metal Gear fan, is that you can sneak up to enemies instead of outright starting a fight. By crouching or walking slowly, you can do a “silent takedown” and they will become unconscious. If another enemy hears or sees you, then they alert all the others and the rumble begins. This is especially true during the “stalker” scenarios where you achieve the biggest score bonuses by dispatching your enemies without being seen. Depending on what’s going on, you have to adjust to the situation: overhead statues, vents, glass panes and weakened walls are all “room” features that can be used to your advantage.
What I most enjoyed about Origins is just protecting the city as I glided around it. You feel like you are actually the guardian of Gotham City and are handling crime as it happens here and there. The voice acting is superb and it feels like you are watching a movie as you watch each character interact.
The music isn’t anything special and you barely notice it’s there. When you get into fights or dangerous areas the sound will change to reflect the situation but that’s really it.
For first time players you will truly enjoy the graphics, which is one of great things this game has going for it. Every inch of the city looks like a real place, with it’s dark alleys, rooftops, statues, lights and even steam coming from the streets. You become immersed in the visuals of Gotham City and want to explore every area just to see how it looks and what details the designers placed there.
The Dark Knight himself fights, talks and reacts just like he does in the comics. This is not a nice Batman that will sit down with you for a coffee, he’s got business to handle and not in the best moods. He does what he has to, and he holds no pretenses.
There’s no better hero that you would rather play as than Batman. He’s very real and human, and we can relate to his flaws as a person and also his willingness to bring light to a very dark place. God places His lights, those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, in darkness so they can illuminate a way to forgiveness. Batman in his own way, albeit violent, brings out all the evil that is happening in Gotham City and makes sure it’s dealt with at the root.
If you’re looking for a fun and action packed game with an engaging story, then you’ve found the right game. Batman: Arkham Origins will leave you with a desire of wanting more from a game that copied its predecessor, but delivers insight into characters we haven’t seen fleshed out in a plot before.
It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
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