Batman: Arkham Origins Wii U Review
Batman: Arkham Origins Wii U Review
Batman: Arkham Origins is a microcosm of the 7th generation – embodying what many claim is wrong with the industry. In a market where consumers are begging for new and fresh ideas – a sequel (a prequel in this case) is not what is wanted. Nevertheless, Batman: Arkham Origins is a solid and enjoyable game – one that is thoroughly engaging albeit familiar.
You may be skeptical of Origins since Rocksteady was not at the helm of development, however, it may surprise you that Warner Bros Montreal, the developer behind origins, has done a marvelous job, if not a better Job than their elderly brother in creating an authentic batman game. To be fair to Rocksteady, WB Montreal had a strong foundation of core game design to build upon with two sublime predecessors – Asylum and City as starting points – it really is a case of all the hard work being done already. Origins is indeed a derivative of the first two games – burrowing all the mechanics sown by Rocksteady’s games. However, being terribly derivative may ultimately be a detriment. I say “may” instead of using definite terms – as it is relative to your expectations. If you are looking for another solid and enjoyable Batman game, then origins is right up your ally, however, on the other hand, if you are looking for a brand new adventure filled with new thrills and alien experience then you will be bitterly disappointed.
I am rather conflicted with Batman:Arkham Origins – the game is well crafted and is masterfully executed with many exciting set pieces, however, I could not shake the feeling of Déjà view that somehow I have already played the exact same game before. The underlying cause could indeed be that WB Montreal has recycled the same overworld and stages from Arkham City. Admittedly, I did not notice it at first, but I soon realized that the Gotham City you are thrown into in Origins is the sandbox from Rocksteady’s second Batman game – with the only difference is the wear and tear more evident in Arkham City. However, this is not where my displeasure lies. I did not like how WB Montreal recycled the same stages from Arkham City – areas such as the Boiler room, Cobblepots hideout and many were others are exact copies of rooms that are found in Arkham City. If you have played the previous game– you will essentially be repeating the exact same stealth-combat pieces again, which does come off as terribly lazy.
However, at the chance that this is your first Batman: Arkham game – you will find that Origins is pleasantly deep. Firstly, the combat follows a similar rhythmic design as the Assassins Creed franchise. Initially, it does feel superficial with only three main actions to perform; attack, counter and stun attack – however the nuances of the system shine in large battles with hordes of groups. In many cases (especially on harder difficulties) the easiest way to defeat a large group is to maintain the combo count for as long as possible; which comes down to your ability to counter at the right time, whilst being offensive with punches and the use of your inventory. Batman: Arkham Origins rewards players that display great proficiency in battles with the implementation of a leveling system. Performing long combo counts and special takedown grants player with larger experience points which once levelled up can be used to upgrade Batman’s suit and many more things.
The strongest aspect of Batman: Arkham Origins is indeed the stealth sequences. In these sequences, the game grants you the freedom to tackle a sticky situation. These sequences are all about examining your environment to carefully plan an approach to silently armed foes down. The possibilities are many, for example, you can hide in the vents and wait for the ground to approach before you spring up to choke him, or you could plant Explosive gel on a weakened wall, then wait for the fool to approach so you could detonate, or you could just hang from the sealing to perform an inverted takedown. I love these sections and in my opinion really define this game as a Batman experience. By that I mean, only during these sections do you feel like Batman – lurking in the dark like a predator- picking off villains one by one until it is only you that is left.
In all honesty, I enjoyed the campaign of Arkham Origin more than Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The pace of the campaign is perfect and the story is quite built up nicely. The highlight of the campaign is, no doubt, the boss battles. Which, unlike Asylum which was mostly Bane clones (but they did have that excellent Killer Croc battle), the boss battles in Origins are more varied and engaging. Without giving away too much – expect to have an unforgettable duel with Deathstroke and battle out against a mini army of Copperhead clones.
I know at launch – Batman: Arkham Origins was plagued with glitches and bugs. Unfortunately, even after many months of patches – I still encountered many technical issues -the most common being consistent frame rate drops when traversing through Gotham City. Irritatingly, there are some unforgiveable glitches – such as not being able to return to live gameplay after using your hacking device or getting stuck on a wall, pipe, railing or fence. It is heartbreaking that WB Montreal worked hard to make a solid game only to be spoilt by technical issues.
Rating Batman: Arkham Origins is a little difficult, but I have to be honest and fair, so therefore I must judge the game based on the experience it delivered and not on my expectations for the series. Therefore, it comes down to whether or not, I enjoyed the game? And how much I enjoyed the game? In all honesty, I believe Batman: Arkham Origins is the best game of the trilogy, however it is severely hampered by the technical shortcomings. This may not be the hero I wanted, but certainly this hero is needed.
(Images from Official Batman Arkham Origin site)