Batman: Arkham Origins Reviews

  • AccidentProne78AccidentProne78114,448
    18 Nov 2013
    19 5 15
    Achievers Review of: Batman Arkham Origins

    Batman Arkham Origins was one of the games of 2013 that I was most curious in. I was really interested to see how the game following Arkham City would stand up, and a prequel at that. With Rocksteady no longer at the head of the project, there were so many things going against this game. Does the prequel do the series justice, or should we forget this installment in whole?

    Gameplay (Story, mechanics, and difficulty)

    Right off the bat, the game presents itself with a vastly different story than the previous two games in the series. With Batman being younger than his previous games, he isnt fully comfortable with the law yet, or even known by a good amount of the villains, creating a pretty unique experience. The story has Batman being hunted by 8 assassins that are after the bounty of millions placed on his head by Black Mask. The story has you trying to figure out who Black Mask is, and why he placed the bounty, mean while, fighting against the assassins that all want the bounty. Very unfortunately, at about the half way point the story shifts, to something vastly more familiar. However within the downgraded story, does come a good hand full of really great moments that do offer something different. Aside from those few moments, the story does devolve into something we have seen before, just done in a different light.

    The story has you fighting the assassins as previously mentioned, but not all of them. I think the story has you fight about five of them, the other three you have to go out of your way to find. All in all its not a bad thing, but if your are just grinding the story, then your going to miss out, and could have been added into the story to draw out the story's short length. In total, you could easily go through the game in about 5 to 6 hours. Aside from the main campaign, there isnt much to go back to. Aside from the assassin's there are a couple other villains to hunt down, and some Enigma (Riddler) packages to get. The packages themselves are pretty boring to get, and dont have the same challenge as the trophies. Completely missing are the riddles themselves which are greatly missed. There is nearly no reason to ever go back into the city once the story is done.

    The combat from the previous games is back, and generally the same. Although this time, something did feel easier about it. I was able to pull off higher chains, than the last game, and I cant reason why. Almost all the gadgets return as well, with the edition of one new item, which I have a problem with. This time around you get the Electrocutioners gloves, which adds some more bite to your punch while you fight. My main problem is that, these are extremely useful, so why would Batman not continue to use these in the future, they seem to help greatly. Aside the fighting, there is the usual gliding across the city, which would be okay if not for the fact that when grappling to a rooftop, it veers you off course either a little or alot.

    Each assassin and villain in the game is fought in a boss fight sort of sense. Each range from pretty good to pretty bad. There is even a boss fight that is just a re-skinned version of the Harley Quinn boss fight from Harley Quinn's Revenge. Other boss fights do fare a tad better, some are pretty original and challenging, like Copperhead's fight or Bane's. Other boss fights, like Anarchist's or Firefly's, are pretty bad and are either repetitive, or too easy for it's own good.

    When your not fighting or gliding, your trying to solve murders. The game does a great job at making you feel like a detective, and figuring out what happened piece by piece. Although the game has you do nothing more than just find certain areas that will further on the investigation, it feels as though you are actually doing something. When actually looking at it, the game does all the work, and you just find it.

    In the end, the game is pretty easy when you look at it. There isnt any one thing that will give you trouble. Altough some boss fights can but up a slight challenge, they are not anything too bad. Even the predator rooms seem to be easier than before, and any of the combat areas dont but up that much of a fight.

    Technical Aspect (Design, Graphics, and Bugs)

    This is a freaking pretty game, like really pretty. Everything looks really great, and the cut scenes are even better. The in game graphics are basically a barely improved version of the Arkham City engine, but that engine is really great. The cut scenes themselves are astonishing, I want a movie made in the engine they used to produce those cutscenes.

    The map layout is pretty similar to Arkham City but different enough to feel new. The main new thing is the addition of the bridge....I think, I havent played Arkham City in a while, but I dont remember the bridge at all, because gliding across the bridge takes why to long for its own good. The fact that at times, fast travel is unavailable, means that you are forced glide across the bridge, which is probably just put in there for filler.

    The game is broken up into different segments when you look at it, very similar to Arkham City. You visit each area where the head of that area is, and you go down down corridors, fight baddies, and do a predator area or two. Altough each area is ascetically different but in the end very much the same. Each area is decorated with varied Christmas decorations in honor of the holiday. They are nice little additions when you explore each area, even though you can find repeated designs everywhere.

    Plenty of times I had a hard time figuring out what to do. There are many times where the game is not clear at all what it is that it wants you to do. I found myself wandering around until there was something that looked right. Most of the other times, the game is blatantly clear as to what it wants you to do. It will have Batman repeat lines over and over just to make sure you know what to do. It holds your hand way to much at times, and not too much at others.

    The character design is pretty usual. Batman looks like Batman, Bane looks like Bane, and so on. The Joker character model is pretty usual aside from one thing. At all times, the Joker model constantly looks angry as compared to past games. I had this pointed out to me, and I couldnt help but notice it. Its not a big flaw, but its just a really unusual choice in design.

    All around there is pretty awesome voice acting. Even though almost no one is back from previous installments, everyone does a really good job. I was a huge fan of most of the Joker's lines this time around, even most of Batman's lines as well.

    The game runs pretty smooth, and I didnt run into any glitches I can remember. Most of the AI responds and acts properly. At some points, the frame rate did dip down, but not often enough for it to be a problem.

    Achievements

    Overall, this is a bad game for achievements grinders. The campaign itself only lends about seven achievements, to an end result of only about 200. The others are a mix of collecting, upgrading, combos, and multiplayer feats. Nothing is completely hard to get, but it will take a good amount of time to fully max out the game.

    Fun Factor

    If you are at all a fan of the previous game, you will like this game. That combat is smooth and fun enough to keep you coming back to the challenge areas, while the predator areas are a tad lacking this time around. The collectibles here are no where as fun to collect as previous games, but can take some time if thats your thing. I had no chance to try the multiplayer, so I cant imput any opinion there. In the end, the short campaign will fully keep your attention, and I had a good time playing through it.

    Overall

    This is clearly the weakest of the three Arkham games. The game isnt that hard, and the story isnt that great. However, what made the last games great, makes this game pretty good. The combat is still fun, and the addition of the detective scenes are a nice addition. In the end, there isnt enough here to justify the 60 dollar price tag.

    + Fast and Fun Combat
    + Beautiful Graphics
    + Some Great Boss Fights

    - Half of a Familiar Story
    - Mix of Clarity
    - Short Campaign
    3.5
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    AccidentProne78Not to sound arrogant, or entitled, but if you like the review, check out my others if you want. Hopefully, I be writing more in the future.
    Thanks for all the feedback guys, it's greatly appreciated.
    Posted by AccidentProne78 on 25 Nov 13 at 19:29
    BaneDainGreat review sir though I must disagree about the story as someone who has never read or watched anything Batman I found this games Story, writing, and most of all character development was oodles better than the previous two though I agree with the game being the weakest of the three due to the less smooth gameplay and the OPness of Bats at times.

    Its just that in the Joker in the last two games was crazy and I always expected him to be crazy but in this installment when you get the small section where you play as him I understood his character a million times more. He seemed less like a person trying to simply beat batman (Like in the last two games) and more like someone trying to connect or understand Batman (in a sociopathic kind of way) they also made Bane more of a villain in this one while in the last two games reading his Bio and relating that to how he acted made him seem more like a victim of circumstance. Even Harley seems better written in this one.
    Posted by BaneDain on 14 Dec 13 at 00:31
    AccidentProne78Thanks for the feedback man, its much apprciated. My main gripe is that I really wish they would have stayed away from the Joker in this game to hopefully distance itself from the other two, and also it was really hard to stay spoiler free in the review so I am sorry that I couldnt go into detail about the Joker in this one, but thank you.
    Posted by AccidentProne78 on 22 Dec 13 at 01:06
  • AztecOmarAztecOmar280,285
    08 Nov 2013
    31 23 12
    Though it’s easy to stow away in the darkest recesses of our memories, it was not all that long ago that superhero games were almost entirely abysmal across the board. The preceding generation was littered with the detritus of scores of woeful to play, cheap to produce co-marketed garbage. Even the start of this generation looked dire from the outset, with Sega’s truly horrifying Iron Man game released on the unsuspecting masses. Luckily, Warner Bros took it upon themselves to put the time and effort into producing a truly top-notch experience with Batman: Arkham Asylum, reminding the superhero faithful that at least there was a glimmer of hope that truly great superhero games could be made regularly over the horizon. As this generation comes to a close with Arkham Origins, however, it is difficult not to feel the familiar dark pall beset the land once again.

    Batman: Arkham Origins, developed by Warner Bros Montreal, is set as a prequel to the events of the Arkham series to date. Following a mass breakout organised by Black Mask from Blackgate prison, Batman learns of an octet of assassins, competing for a $50 million bounty for his demise. The game presents itself as an old-school, linear experience with Batman chasing down each bounty hunter and removing their threat of terrorism from Gotham. Instead, however, the game quickly relegates this to being the sub-plot, choosing to once again focus on the relationship between Batman and his newest rival, the Joker. It is disappointing as a fan to see the introduction of a number of new, novel characters that are almost completely sidelined in favour of the same cast as we’ve seen from the last two games. Whilst The Joker and Bane are interesting characters, Shiva and Deathstroke added a unique wrinkle to the moody, caped crusader that was disposed of far too quickly. It smacks of lack of confidence in the product and speaks volumes of the efforts made to introduce new and exciting changes to the series.

    It is hard not to notice how eerily similar Arkham Origins lies to its predecessors. The map is repurposed from Arkham City, albeit with a new zone added in for good measure. The Enigma challenges that have flooded the map are Riddler Trophy quests in all but name only. The combat, soundtrack, gadgets and mission structure are all left basically untouched, besides from menial adjustments to gameplay. Though the game still plays well, it is impossible to laud the creativity or effort of a game that feels as identical to its predecessor. It’s bizarre to see this outside of a sports game, and entirely unwelcome.

    The gameplay is almost picture-perfectly identical with its forefathers, roughly divided into three separate stages: exploration, free-flow melee fighting and stealthy, predator sections. Exploring Gotham City in Arkham Origins is handled, once again, very similarly to how it was handled in Arkham City. Batman can glide, run and grapnel his way around the city streets and rooftops, swooping down from overhead to take out a local thug on the street. The city is divided into two distinct areas of land, divided by the lengthy Gotham Bridge. The size of the map can be quite cumbersome; however a quick-travel system has been implemented to help alleviate the burden of travelling. Stationed around the map are a number of Enigma-controlled radio towers, that once liberated, provide a free-travel location. It’s a novel way of tying gameplay to a shortcut mechanic and was a welcome addition to traversal.

    Combat is the same as ever, relying on swift counters and intelligent use of items to defeat foes as quickly and intelligently as possible. Successfully completing a chain of strikes without missing an enemy or being hit builds a combo meter that can be cashed in early for an instant knockout, or stretched further to enter free-flow mode, where time slows down and Batman’s strikes are more powerful. The combat has always been the Arkham series’ crowning glory, at it remains unbesmirched here. The introduction of more gadgets for use in combat helps ensure variation, however, the best addition is the experience system and how it pertains to combat. Varying fighting styles and combos, using more items and not getting hit increases an experience multiplier displayed after every combat scenario, pushing the player to fight better every time. Furthermore, three challenge trees pertaining to different gameplay mechanics are open at any one time, asking for combos of a certain length, or the use of a particular takedown mechanic in combat. Though it’s a rather rudimentary interpretation utilised in this game, it is easy to see how it could be used better in the future.

    The stealthy, predator sections make their return in Arkham Origins, though with admittedly little fanfare. Batman, traditionally, would enter a tightly-designed room stuffed with guards and would be tasked with taking them out stealthily in any manner that befit the player. In the past it was glaringly obvious when the player had set foot into these stealth-based sections, however in Arkham Origins they are metered out so meekly that it can be difficult to know that it has happened until the first target has been taken down. There is an overabundance of ways to take down foes available almost immediately, and the room design varies so little that it can be very easy to re-use the same pattern in every encounter. Perhaps it is just the mechanic going slightly stale, but it was difficult to look at what was once an incredibly novel experience with the same lustre anymore.

    It must also be stated that Arkham Origins is far from the most polished game ever produced. The boss fights feel clunky and rudimentary, taking far too long, relying on pattern recognition and not giving appropriate feedback to complete them. An early fight against Deathstroke could well be the single worst boss encounter I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing. Attacks would be countered seemingly at random, with a weapon later in the fight that could take a quarter of Batman’s health away in a hit. The only way to beat it was to cheese the system, exploiting the fight mechanics in an incredibly slow, laborious way that was the exact opposite of fun. Furthermore, textures load abysmally slowly, and there was more than one occasion of Batman falling through the terrain he was walking upon. The worst thing, however, is the appalling rate at which the game crashes completely. Playing the 360 version resulted in twelve crashes in a single day. Twelve! It is completely inexcusable, with potentially the notorious Fallout: New Vegas being the only game ever to crash on me more that Arkham Origins did. Warner Bros have issued a statement advising that a stability patch is to be available soon, but the damage is already done - my playthough was already marred by the misery it provided.

    At its core, Arkham Origins feels rough, rushed and, perhaps most damning of all, unnecessary. It adds little to the experience and squanders what good opportunities it has to expand the plot in favour of aping what has already been presented. Though the core gameplay tenets remain strong on the backs of its predecessors, almost nothing worth noting is added to the experience. There is enjoyment to be derived from this game, but players entering looking for the revolutionary experience Arkham Asylum initially provided will leave disappointed.
    2.0
  • Master KraneMaster Krane142,988
    26 Nov 2013
    10 8 5
    I have always thoroughly completed games before reviewing them, but in this case I've had to make an exception. Arkham Origins was released in a near unplayable state, that has me questioning whether the product even went through beta testing at all.

    During play I experienced a crash roughly every 45 minutes, sometimes I was able to go back to the dashboard but more than once the system completely locked up and I was forced to turn off the xbox by the mains. Audio is very glitchy, with sound effects and dialogue tracks simply cutting out, seemingly at random; during once of these occasions I restarted the console and began a fresh save, and the error was still present. There are multiple bugs that can completely halt progression through the game, and saves become corrupted and unusable without warning. There is nothing the user can do to prevent this as the game only employs an auto save, if you run into a problem you have to start over. There are a myriad of more minor issues such as graphical faults, things not unlocking when they should and so forth (I have personally encountered the issues listed here, but there seem to be many more affecting other players too). The game is receiving it's third patch soon and most of these issues still have not been addressed, including Save corruption (the patch notes indicate this will be "reduced" rather than truly fixed). While gamers are increasingly getting used to launch issues, this game has been out for over a month now and is still deeply broken with no end in sight.

    These technical issues are particularly inexcusable when much of the code has clearly been recycled from Arkham City (which I highly recommend). The game itself is very similar to it's predecessor, but worse both in story and overall game design; for instance the map is larger but feels sparse and lifeless, gone are the little flourishes like Bruce visiting Crime Alley (it's still there but nothing happens). The camera also seems more problematic this time around, which hinders combat. But the game itself would have still made for a reasonably enjoyable experience, if not for the atrocious state it was released in. Presentation wise the game is solid, it's very slightly prettier than City, and the pre-rendered cut-scenes (when they work) are well done and a nice addition. The score is strong and blends together elements of the previous games with touches from Hans Zimmer's Dark Knight Rises soundtrack, and maybe just a shade of Batman Returns (although this may just be the shared Christmas influence). Regarding voice-work, while Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill have been jettisoned, their replacements do an admirable job filling those impossible shoes.

    I strongly suggest skipping this installment, unless you're a die-hard Batman fan, in which case I recommend you wait as long as possible until the game is patched into a playable state. It's worth noting that the game is set on Christmas Eve, so it's probably a game you will want to play during the season - unfortunately I doubt it will be decent shape until long into the New Year, if ever.

    Addendum, dlc. From what I've heard there are also issues with the DLC, in any case the season pass for this game seems to be particularly poor value for money given that it is predominantly made up of skin packs.
    1.0
  • togethawiistandtogethawiistand464,914
    23 Feb 2015 26 Mar 2015
    10 9 5
    Okay, so since we already have 3 overall reviews I decided to do one specially for those who haven't played this game yet and are looking for opinions about its pros and cons. About the cons, mostly, since the good is more of the same and nothing so unusual.

    I finished the multiplayer first and the campaign just today. The first can bore you pretty fast and I can't see most people continuing to play it online once the related achievos are unlocked. The campaign is okay and too much like Arkham City. The graphics are fairly good as well as the voice acting.

    THE PROBLEMS

    I think it's important to point out and let other people know what are the problems that make this game less enjoyable, so I'll go straight to the point:

    1- Although this title pretends to be a prequel to the other 2 Batman games, many facts are out of order for those who know something about the comic books. It's a big mix of stories, slightly based on their original and official versions. For example, Bane and Joker are back... again... (this could be a critic on its own, because the developers seem uncapable of doing a Batman game leaving either of them out), and are introduced on this same period of time. I wish they had stuck a little more to the comics when they decided to make a game about Batman's first years as a hero. Bane came way later and shouldn't be here. Batman and Gordon barely know each other, so how could Batman have heard of Bane before? Also, both these villains that I mentioned are obcessed with Batman, but the explanation for why is far too vague to my taste. Some people know that they are not just mercenaries, so it's not about the bounty. Yeah, you can guess that they are trying to prove themselves and their points, but what are they? The little explanation given feels so shallow that the developers themselves tried to add something extra to fulfill that gap. In Joker's case you play and watch some nightmarish visions full of sentences of abstract meaning. Never a concise reason. Near the end of the game Joker tries one last time to "corrupt" Batman's resolve regarding never taking a life, but all conclusions about Joker's motives must come from yourself. You can try to justify the lack of a sense on his insanity, but to me this is clearly the price one pays for having too much story to stuff in in a movie or game. They don't have enough time to explain things deeper. The same goes with Bane. I really wish they had let him out of this story, but then I guess they feared not having some big opponent for Batman to fight. And since we're talking about this, their fights (boss fight) was too repetitive, move wise and in frequency.

    2- Gotham is a lot bigger than in the previous game (the word of order on the market nowadays is to get bigger with every title, right?) and that isn't a bad thing in itself, but I found myself having a bit more of a hard time finding good spots to attach/grapple around to navigate the city than in Arkham City. It's not something major, but I feel it's still worth mentioning, since it was downgraded since the last experience. Also, sometimes instead of lauching you onwards when using the grapnel gun boost, the auto aim attachs to a ledge to the side, deviating your trajectory and camera, sending you to another direction. Finally, the devs probably realized that the city had too big of a map for us to keep coming and going just by grappling, so they made a fast travel system and justified it with a Batwing cutscene. Not a bad idea, except that by using this system some people experienced the next issue.

    3- I haven't bought the DLCs for this game yet but I believe that Arkham Asylum will continue to be my favorite Batman game so far, one of the reasons being that it had no unnecessary extra buyable content with achievements. But the problem that I'll point out happened anyway. At the middle of the story, all of the sudden, a message came to my screen saying that my DLC was corrupted and the game was returning me to the main screen. I freaked out. I play connected to the LIVE, so I had already the available patches and updates previously released for this game (in which they supposedely fixed the particular issue) and, as I've said, I have absolutely NONE of the extra DLCs downloaded nor installed. Not even the free suits that they give you if you register in their website (thanks, but no thanks). So, it pretty much was saying that the game save corrupted itself and justifying it with a lie. By the way, I had already installed the game on my xbox's hard drive when that happened, so that had nothing to do with I playing from the disk. Luckly, I went to the dashboard, made a copy of my saved progress to the cloud and cleaned my console's cache, reloaded the game and it worked. Then I decided to look it over on the internet and saw that many more people had had this problem. From then on I stopped using the fast travel system, just in case, since a few people reported not being able to recover from that. I didn't want to loose my progress, which included a fair amount of collectibles and many achievements inside achievements challenges that I had already done.

    4- Last but not least, the thing that pissed me off the most, the most important thing that they screwed up in my opinion, was the responsiveness of Batman's commands when fighting. It's off, it's late, it's slow. If they are close, the enemies are faster than you no matter how on time you press the button, which, by the way, sometimes responds and many times does not. You know that you pressed the button, you know it happened on time, but Batman didn't execute the move. That's very frustrating. So you will eventually be hit and somebody will break your combo at some point, unless you're super careful and keep a great distance all the time (but then you might not have a good area view). This is something annoying that you have to put up with throughout the game. Now I can see and appreciate how Batman was fast and loose in Arkham City, compared to the way it became slow and stuck in Origins. Maybe they did that in order to "fix" the combo flow and scoring system and bring it closer to how hard it was in Asylum, I don't know, but it's awful. In "FOCUS" mode is even worse to keep control of your guy, so maybe they named it that because you REALLY need focus to not loose control of him. Besides the delay in the heroes' response and how faster than you the enemies can be sometimes, even in normal difficulty, the camera view and the edges/walls made the experience worse. It was annoying having to fight Shiva without being hit, because the angle of view was so bad all the time and then the stairs by the door of the Wonder City elevator would sometimes stuck/hold me, making me vulnerable and loosing my combo. Same thing happened against Deathstroke. This time the room wasn't small, it was bigger than a MMA cage, but still the fight would be dragged to the corners and the camera position was just another thing I had to fight with at the same time. So, if you can pull those two achievements off, congratulations. I mean it.

    I could still point out about some other BS, like the multiple times that the game freezes on you during loading times and cutscenes, or some unskippable scenes (image having to watch the same dialogues 3 times if you don't feel like it), the stupid achievement requirements like the one envolving Alfred, or the "sixth sense" of the AI enemies in Predator encounters, the way that they sometimes seem to feel your presence and act differently from the usual, specially if you have your Dectetive Vision on, and how much that doesn't make sense, since, theoretically they are not seeing you back. Or yet, about the increasing number of collectibles (I've read somebody cheer that "At least they made us collect just 1 Riddler trophy this time!" C'mon! What's the difference between 250 trophies or 270 of some stuff else? Answer: 20 more of something to collect! No matter what you call it). But none of these bothered me as much as everything else that I mentioned.

    All in all, this game made me appreciate its antecessor a bit more. And THAT can be a bad sign. Luckly I only have to play it twice more: New Game Plus and New Game Plus Plus I Am The Night mode. Really? Couldn't there be just one New Game Plus? And all of the remaining overwhelming quantity of challenges. You see, they did it again. If you bought and played the expendable DLCs of Arkham City, you know what I'm talking about. Having to play the same thing under different names and the same maps over and over, with 4 different characters, was beyond tedious. And here they go again. This time you don't have only 3 kinds of challenges to earn medals - Combat, Predator and Campaign (which was just a bundle of the same Combat and Predator stuff) - but ranked challenges, campaign challenges, custom challenges and training challenges. I feel overchallenged, having to prove my skill multiple times in the same sheet.

    If after reading all this you still want to give a go for this game, be my guest. You're warned.

    I don't know if I'll play the next Batman that they have on the making, but as a guy that liked the Dark Knight since childhood, I wanted to experience all of the instances that they made for the 360 to this point and now that I have I know by myself which one I liked better and why. All I can do to other people is advise. Cheers! toast
    2.0