Review: Batman: Arkham Origins
By Sean Booker
November 3, 2013 - 16:30
Batman: Arkham City is a great and huge game that expands on everything we loved from Arkham Asylum. Oh wait -- this is Arkham Origins? Could have fooled me! Arkham Origins is pretty much the exact same game that we saw in the previous entries. In fact, the game is so similar that it feels more like downloadable content for the last game. If you’re looking for something new in the franchise then there is no way I can recommend Origins to you but if you’re just wanting more Batman than this one definitely checks all the usual boxes.
If you’ve played either of the first Arkham games then you’re unfortunately way too familiar with the gameplay you’ll find in Origins. The game is split into the same two sections of close-quarters combat along with the stealth-like stalking areas. The gameplay is identical to before. The usual counter-heavy combat that was so good returns entirely and you’ll once again have to swing from gargoyle to gargoyle as you try to silently take down larger groups of enemies. You’ll quickly notice that a lot of the same animation sequences are even being used as you kick open air vents for the hundredth time. This is a very familiar game.
The game is also set in an open world very similar to what we saw in City. In fact, the world you play in is just as snowy and cold as the last game was and a lot of the same art assets are used again since it is still set in Gotham City. This means the color palette is even identical to the last game. It may make narrative sense to use the same location since it’s such a staple to the mythology but also adds another layer of familiarity to this cookie-cutter game. If you enjoyed the last Batman games you will still like the gameplay here, but it’s a shame that we didn’t really get much new to this franchise.
Arkham Origins does add in a couple new features though that, despite being very small sections of the game, are actually pretty fun. Batman uses a lot more of his detective skills in this game when we see him analyzing different crime scenes. During these sections you will have to scan different pieces of evidence to try and figure out the order of events. It gets really cool when you get to scroll back and forth through the assumed sequence and watch the crime take place in real time. You’ll often be tasked with trying to find out key pieces of information that can only be seen my slowly scrubbing through this ‘video footage.’ Even though you only do this about three times it’s definitely nice to see that Batman isn’t just good at fighting.
The plot has nine different assassin’s from the DC Comics universe targeting Batman and the justifications behind these villains and the mastermind controlling it all actually allows for a pretty engaging story. Despite a wealth of regurgitated content from the last games, the interesting story beats in Origins definitely helps alleviate some of the repetition. The assassin battles change the format of the combat just enough to allow for something new and interesting. They’ll act as more of one-on-one fights that are much more similar to boss battles. In these you’ll get a lot more dynamic camera angles and a lot of new fighting animations that can only happen between these two characters. These combat sections definitely act as really cool set pieces and it’s really nice to see that there was a good deal of content put into each of them.
The area of Gotham City seems to be even larger than what we saw last time. Once again it’s filled with tons of different side quests you can take part in throughout the campaign. Some of these will be as short as fighting a quick group of enemies while others will introduce more Batman villains for you to spend a greater deal of time against. It’s a big map with a lot to do in it and the new fast travel system is a very welcomed addition.
You can spend even more of your time with the new multiplayer option. It’s set up to spit the eight players into three teams. Two teams of three each represent Joker’s and Bane’s gang members that fight back and forth trying to take over control points. The third team of Batman and Robin is what makes the multiplayer unique. The heroes work to stealthily take out any gang members to inflict fear into the area. They can swing around on the structures and hide under grates like you would expect to see in the main campaign. It’s a standard multiplayer shooter with a cool twist that adds a nice, new level of strategizing.
It’s worth noting that the game also suffers from a number of awful bugs. The game stalled out and crashed on me several times while going through it. This really didn’t help the repetitive nature that this game is already bogged down by. I even encountered a moment where two different scenes started playing at the same time. I could control Batman while the audio of a cut scene that was supposed to trigger was playing. Quitting out to the main menu didn’t even stop this. Along with that there definitely some ugly looking artifacts in a lot of the pre-rendered scenes, tons of texture pop in and some of the worst looking fire I’ve seen in a game in quite some time. It’s unfortunate that the game is so buggy and comes off as seeming rushed.
Arkham Origins suffers from being far too much of the same. It’s almost identical to the gameplay we saw in the last two games and only introduces a few fleeting moments of unique content. The interesting story does help thrust you through the old content but it’s a shame that there are so many bugs pushing you back. The game does still remain fun but don’t go into it expecting anything you haven’t played before.
Rating: 6 /10
Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06