By Austin Norville ’15
9 out of 10
It’s Christmas Eve, eight assassins are out to kill you for the $50 million prize on your head and you must take them out before sunrise; enter “Batman Arkham Origins.”
“Batman Arkham Origins” is the third installment in the monster hit “Batman Arkham” games for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, 3ds and PS Vita. The two previous installments were developed by Rocksteady Studios and this prequel was developed by Warner Brothers Games Montreal.
Naturally, many like me were skeptical about handing over the game to a new company, but like the other games that came before, it doesn’t disappoint.
In terms of gameplay, not much has changed as you fight criminals and thugs with basic punching and countering attacks that come from behind. There is also a stun attack, allowing for faster and more powerful attacks.
Larger enemies, however, require the stun attack because they cannot be damaged with regular attacks.
The new Shock Gloves can be activated in the middle of a battle adding an interesting alternative to the traditional fighting as you become more powerful and each punch knocks the enemy to the ground. You can also quickly jump between each enemy as you take them out.
In addition, with the Shock Gloves you no longer have to stun larger enemies to begin attacking them. The shock gloves are nice to use in difficult situations, but often it takes away the challenge as defeating enemies makes the player feel like Superman rather than Batman.
The story in “Batman Arkham Origins” is incredible and top-notch as always, and the graphics are the best they have been in any of the previous Arkham games.
“Batman Arkham Origins” takes place in Gotham City on Christmas Eve, where it has been about a year since Bruce Wayne began being Batman.
Crime lord Black Mask has placed a $50 million prize for whoever can kill the Batman that night, and had invited eight assassins to Gotham to complete the job. Amongst these eight are Bane and Killer Croc, who are returning enemies that have made and appearance in the previous games.
This is an Origin story, so this will be the first time Batman will meet and fight with his most famous rivals. However, it feels more like an add-on to the previous games than an important piece to the overall story.
So it is up to the Batman to travel through Gotham city and take out each of the assassins and their subordinates to prevent them from destroying the city and harming anyone.
The city is twice as large as the previous “Batman Arkham City” game but feels surprisingly empty despite the fact there are enemies and police scattered throughout. There is not a single civilian in the streets of the city and the game offers no explanation to why this is, leaving the player to only speculate their own reasons.
However, this does not affect the experience since you will be spending most of game on rooftops and inside buildings.
The city is expansive and has several parts of Gotham other than the center section. The player can go across bridges to the other areas by gliding through the air and using the bat-claw to grapple to buildings, or use the newly incorporated fast travel with the Batwing to easily teleport to any part of the city.
The fast travel is a great addition but is buggy as I found the music would disappear completely and the fast travel took loaded longer than what was bearable.
Many tools will need to be used to access locked doors and get across lethal drops. The bat claw, which can be used to grapple onto buildings, and the explosive gel, useful for blowing up weak walls and floors, return again as key items.
A few new items such as the glue grenade, which can stop large enemies for a limited amount of time, make a raft for water and cover steam pipe leaks, are introduced.
One of the best parts of the game are its boss battles that make you feel like Batman fighting these villains in reality. Some bosses will now counter your attacks so you never feel like you dominate the fight and your tools become very useful in each fight.
Detective mode makes a return; using it allows you to view enemies from behind walls and see where they are in a room during the stealth gameplay sections. Detective mode also allows you to see whether or not an enemy is armed.
The other use of detective mode is using it to examine a crime scene and discover the event that unfolded when the crime took place. For example you can rewind your detective mode to view a helicopter crash before it hit the ground.
Playing the game I never found any major glitches and it ran incredibly smooth.
With Riddler clues to find, trophies to collect and enemies to defeat in the post-game you will be playing the game for a while after the credits roll.
The only flaws I found with the game is that it was basically “Batman Arkham City” with a different story and environment. It did nothing to revolutionize the franchise and kept it very safe.
The game is a fantastic addition to the franchise but don’t expect anything new. It is a game that satisfies those who wanted to play more after finishing Arkham City.