PS3 Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

Does the Dark Knight Rise or fall in this prequel?

With Rocksteady giving the Arkham mantle to WB Games Montreal, some figured that the Batman games of Asylum and City would lose its way due to a new team at the helm. I’m a big fan of the Arkham series and was anticipating the back story to the previous games, but what would the end result be?
The story takes place when Batman is younger and is a target for 8 different assassins for a prize total of $50 million, courtesy of villain Black Mask. For those who have played the past games, don’t expect anything different in terms of controls or gadgets. Detective Mode still plays a large part in highlighting enemies and seeing hidden areas for collectables and hiding from foes. Combat remains largely the same as before, while boss battles are a mixed bag.

Gotham City is accessible for the first time in the Arkham series, but it does throw in a lot of the areas from Arkham City as well…so prepare for a bit of déjà vu. As expected, the city is littered with collectables and the odd side mission to do and I was able to do the majority of them thanks to Bradygames Signature Series guide which was really handy, but the rest of Gotham itself is bland in comparison to the Arkham City areas. It sadly just doesn’t feel as good to play or travel around as before, which is a real shame.
For the first time, Arkham fans are “treated” to online multiplayer, I use the term loosely as it only comes with 4 maps and one mode…Invisible Predator. It’s for up to 8 players and there are not a whole lot of players online so starting matches takes ages. I ended up waiting 10 minutes for 8 players, only for 6 of them to drop when the game launched and was playing 1v1 for the entire match. It also seemed incredibly silly that I could dodge pretty much all his attacks by rolling and dropping smoke pellets.

In terms of presentation, Origins seems to take a step back from City and looks bland and dated in comparison. It’s still a nice looking game though despite some odd bugs that are meant to be getting patched soon, it’s not bad overall. Voice acting is pretty good, although losing the main voice actors for Batman and Joker is a bit of a blow, hopefully they’ll reprise the roles in the next game.

The Verdict

Batman: Arkham Origins lacks the passion of Rocksteady’s past games and feels average in comparison. Having said that, an average Batman game is still damn good compared to the other games out at the moment. Multiplayer is a mess, but the campaign is memorable and well worth checking out despite not being in the same league as Asylum or City.