Next up in my little game review series, the third instalment in Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise, Batman Arkham Origins. Before I start, lets just get the elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, this is the least popular of the four games released to date. Yes, it is my least favourite too. But the Arkham games are kind of like pizza. There are no bad ones. So even though this game may get the lowest reviews and least number of replays among fans, its still a brilliant game.
This one is prequel, set before the events of the two previous instalments. Way before. We meet a younger, less experienced Batman, who has already thoroughly annoyed the Gotham City Police Department and made sufficient waves among the local criminal community to end up with a hefty price on his head. And soooo many villains, super and otherwise are incredibly keen to collect.
The gameplay is similar, along with the familiar notion of main story mode as well as side quests to work through. This one will keep you busy for a while. The map comprises all of Gotham City (well, almost), which of course necessitated the first fast travel option in the Arkham game series. Alas, fans were not gifted with Bruce’s sexy Batmobile. But we did get the Batwing. Sadly, no, we don’t actually get to “fly” it. It acts more like a transporter for moving between two map sections. Not quite what we were screaming for when it leaked that the map would be enormous, but the Batwing does let you get around quite swiftly and avoids having to run and glide everywhere. This was fun in Arkham City, but truthfully, would have become tedious on a map the size of Origins.
I feel like I’ve given you too much bad news so far which I’ve of course tried to sugar coat because I do love this game. Origins has a darker and grittier feel to it than the previous two games. Batman is still very much finding his feet as the hero Gotham needs and there are some really tough boss fights to contend with, making it feel challenging and rewarding. Fret not though fellow Batfans. Our beloved Bruce is still awesome as hell when he dons that cape and cowl.
Gadgets of course are a necessity for our Caped Crusader and this game introduces something we’ve not seen before; shock gloves. I’ll spare you the spoiler details but trust me when I say, they come in very handy.
General gameplay and fighting aside, Origins has a really good story to it. We get to meet characters as their younger selves, gaining more insight into who they are and how they evolved into what they eventually became. I loved this element of the game, along with the rare moments of vulnerability shown by Bruce, particularly in several very touching scenes with Alfred. Yes folks, our favourite butler actually makes an appearance in this game.
Overall Origins is a solid game that broke slightly away from the traditional Arkham formula to give us something fresh by delving into the past. And I for one, am glad they did. The story is great, the combat is fun and the villains are awesomely evil and challenging. If you’re a Batfan like me, give this one a go.