Batman: Arkham Origins (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & PC)

Developer(s) – Warner Bros. Games Montreal

Publisher(s) – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Director(s) – Eric Holmes & Benoit Richer

Producer – Ben Mattes

With the developmental duties changing hands between Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Montreal, Arkham Origins went on to receive fairly positive acclaim from most publications, with the exception of Destructoid, who gave the game a mere 3.5/10. Whilst I personally didn’t think it was anywhere near as bad to warrant that kind of a score, it’s still much below par compared to both Arkham City and Arkham Knight; but in my opinion, not Arkham Asylum.

Graphics – 8/10

The visuals, from a technological standpoint, offer among the best that were ever made possible on seventh generation consoles. The textural details of the characters, especially The Joker, are nothing short of flawless. However, from a conceptual point of view, a case can be made for the developers simply recycling many elements from Arkham City, and adding them to this game. Aside from the additional islands there are in the game, the rest is essentially a carbon copy of the previous game; only the atmosphere is much different.

Gameplay – 9.5/10

Playing out more or less identically to Arkham City, players have the option of completing a story mode with the addition of a great many side quests thrown in for good measure. The Riddler side quest makes a return, and there was also DLC made available for the game containing a side quests revolving around the villain Mr. Freeze. Completing the main story holds around as much depth in gameplay as Arkham City; though the boss fights are a little underwhelming in comparison to the likes of Ra’s Al Ghul, Clayface and Solomon Grundy.

Controls – 10/10

Arkham Origins runs on the same engine, and has the same control scheme as the previous two Batman Arkham games, and so not only are there any problems with the game’s controls, but they also underwent some minor tweaks to make the entire thing play out a lot more smoothly. It’s one of a few things that I was glad to see the different developers get right, and not make any unnecessary complications with, which could have been quite disastrous.

Lifespan – 7/10

Coming in at about 40-45 hours, Arkham Origins lasts about as long as Arkham City, which whilst is more than satisfactory, seemed a little bit underwhelming to me, as the in-game world was slightly expanded upon its predecessor. I was adamant that there was room for more side quests, or maybe even more assassins than the 8 in the game who are after Batman.

Storyline – 7.5/10

The story revolves around a largely unrefined Batman, who is being pursued and hunted by eight of Gotham City’s fiercest criminals. It’s Batman’s job to put an end to the ensuing havoc before these villains can cause any harm to him, but above else, Gotham. The story is much more straightforward than any of the other games in the Arkham series, but the best element of it, in my opinion, was watching how The Joker comes to take such an interest in Batman, and how he would eventually become fixated on him throughout the rest of their sinister cat and mouse relationship. The other villains also have some depth in personality, but underwhelming compared to what had already been seen within this sub-series so far, or even what was to come.

Originality – 5/10

The worse thing about this game was how much of a template to the overall Batman Arkham formula the developers took advantage of. The map, minus the smaller locations added, is largely recycled and the story was considerably less inspiring than in the other instalments. I was personally somewhat underwhelmed by this game, since I though that it may have been what I’d always imagined a game in the series had the potential to be. But since the map was only fractionally bigger, it didn’t seem like the Gotham I always saw beyond the in-game worlds in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

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Overall, however, despite its limitations and lack of innovation within the series, Batman: Arkham Origins is still an enjoyable game, and does a good job of giving fans of the games more of what they like. It was more an adequate appetiser for gamers before the release of Arkham Knight, and certainly one of the better games of 2013; in my opinion, even better than Arkham Asylum based on its gameplay alone.

Score

47/60

7.5/10 (Good)  

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