Discussion The Patient Gamer - Batman: Arkham Origins - Arkham City Part Deux

GodisanAtheist

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The Batman Arkham games count themselves as some of the best superhero brawler games ever made.

Arkham Asylum was the first, a sort of "one bad night" for Batman as he quells a prison break at Arkham Asylum. Batman Arkham City was the next iteration of the series, taking the Arkham Asylum formula out from a single "metroidvania" esq location and going open world. It brought new traversal mechanics, mini-bosses, much better boss fights, and more to the old Arkham formula. Last in Rocksteady's trilogy was Arkham Knight. Initially panned due to serious performance issues on the PC, problems with the game were eventually smoothed out and it took its place as the capstone on Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy and is generally considered by many fans to be the best of the series.

Out in the cold on Christmas, all by itself, is the maligned Arkham Origins game. Developed by Warner Brother's Montreal while Rocksteady was working on Arkham Knight, the game had a rough time standing out from the crowd and did a few things that turned die hard Arkham-verse folks against it. The gameworld is a near 1:1 reproduction of Arkham City, only blanketed in snow, so nothing really new there. The traditional voice actors for Joker and Batman were replaced for "younger" versions that would better capture that the game is a prequel to the later Arkham games. The cast of villains are almost entirely d-listers that most casual Batman fans would never recognize: Firefly, Deadshot, Anarky, Copperhead, etc. Overall the game had strong "cash grab" and "annual release" vibes to it that severely blunted the excitement for the game.

As with so many things Patient Gamer though, with some time and distance, it becomes easier to appreciate a game on its own merits, without the weight of expectations and preconceptions working against it.

The TL:DR is: If you liked Arkham City, you will like Arkham Origins. The game does most things exactly the same, a few things are not as refined, and a few things are handled better.

What's the same? Basically all the core elements of the game. Traverse Arkham City, beat up rando thugs, enter "instanced" missions to take down some of the more notorious Batman villians. Collectibles from Enigma are abound, there are occasional randomly generated crimes in progress to stop, and there are plenty of "predator" encounters where you have to sneak around and quietly dispatch a room full of enemy thugs.

What's worse? City Traversal. It just feels like there are way fewer places to land a grappling hook while gliding which leads to some goofy moments where you're desperately steering the slowly gliding batman in any random direction trying to find a grapple point so you don't accidentally initiate a fight with a group of thugs on the street below.

The game will also throw entirely too many enemies at you at once. The Arkham combat system works best when dealing with groups of enemies that don't exceed 5-7 combatants, given so much of the quick gadget use is contextual (the game sort of decides who to batarang or grapple hook or sticky bomb based on roughly how close they are to the center of your field of view) and it is absolutely necessary to to use the tricks in your toolbox not to randomly lose a fight to a group of street thugs. However there are a number of fights in the game, some mandatory, where you will find yourself easily fighting 12-15 opponents at the same time and the combat system slowly breaks down at this point as it input lag and inability to pick out the most dangerous opponents from the crowd results in some frustrating hits and deaths, or the fight just grinding down into a slog.

Lastly, while the boss encounters are all relatively engaging and all serve as a sort of "tests" to see if you understand the fundamentals of the game's combat system, its not always clear exactly what you have to do at some of points (and it seems the developers knew that, because they literally just put up what moves you have to use to beat the boss after a few seconds of impotent flailing).

So what does the game do really well? The narrative. The game does a great job with characterization despite dealing with characters that have been done a hundred times before.

Batman is angrier and more violent, really pushing the boundaries of the "Batman doesn't kill" meme with the brutality of some of his takedowns. One especially juicy detective mission has him track down and fight a suspect that he knows, who has murdered two of his personal friends. Its rougher, more emotional, more raw Batman than the cool as a cucumber Batman we get in the mainline Arkham games.

The Joker is also excellent, and the game as a sort of secondary narrative of The Joker slowly becoming obsessed with Batman's insistence on not killing, convincing himself that he has finally found someone just as crazy as he is. The game also does a wonderful job showing Bane as both the physical and mental equal of Batman .

The real star of the show of course is the Electrocutioner. Dude provides easily one of the most challenging an rigorous bossfights in any game I've ever seen, and the guy really hits stuff hard at about the midpoint of the story.

To reiterate, if you liked City, you'll like Origins. The game could have easily been a meaty DLC for City, frankly.
 

DAPUNISHER

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I probably spent more time in the challenges for that one, than the story. I think it has the 100 thugs fight? Good times.
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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Newegg has the Batman Arkham collection for $7.19 for anyone missing them. https://www.newegg.com/warner-bros-batman-arkham-collection/p/N82E16832777281?Item=N82E16832777281&Tpk=N82E16832777281

Use promo code - MDSBS24222
- Somewhat bizarrely, that Arkham collection does not appear to contain Arkham Origins...

  • ITEMS INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition
  • Batman: Arkham City - Game of the Year Edition
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
23,889
6,408
146
- Somewhat bizarrely, that Arkham collection does not appear to contain Arkham Origins...

  • ITEMS INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition
  • Batman: Arkham City - Game of the Year Edition
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass
If you click compare, you can checkbox all the full games. Plus one or two of the others, but not all of the things.
 

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