Batmaniac Reviews BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
Finally, the highly anticipated prequel to the most successful comic book video game franchise in history has been released -- but does it live up to its predecessors? Hit the jump to find out what Batmaniac made of the game.
So the anticipated prequel to the most successful comic book video game franchise in history is finally here, and its a great game! However, there are some issues that are stopping it from being perfect, and while these issues are mainly down to lack of polish, some of them are game breaking enough to knock its score down from being a perfect game.
I'll start with the story, which is simply great. The game doesn't suffer from the absence of Paul Dini, and it does a perfect job of being a prequel to this great series. While I wont spoil it for anybody who hasn't played or completed the main story, I will say it does give you an insight into how a lot came to be in the Arkhamverse, making it an awesome prequel.
The story starts of with Batman going after Black Mask, who has hired 8 assassins on Christmas Eve to kill Batman. Fairly on in the game, the plot starts to twist, and familiar faces start to show up. The plot twist is great and takes you on a different journey that you originally thought you was heading into, with other faces playing a more prominent role than you may have originally expected.
For a comic fan, you'll start to notice certain plots have been taken from the comics and merged into this one plot to make an original story, while still honoring the source. By the end of the main story, I felt a sense that this was indeed a prequel, especially when one of the final scenes was so reminiscent of one of the first acts in Arkham Asylum.
Some characters play a lesser role than some may have expected, and while it doesn't hurt the story, fans hoping for Deathstroke to play an important role in the story may be disappointed. However, the game does have an after credit scene involving Deathstroke, teasing future DLC's for players to further explore the character beyond challenge mode.
The game mechanics are pretty much the same to Arkham City, with the classic combat and stealth systems making a return. The game however feels slightly harder, especially in combat, with the thugs not hesitating as much to swing their fists Batman's way, which can a lot of times break your combo if you aren't paying close attention. The boss fights this time around also seem to be more fun, and while they aren't complex, they seem to be a lot more fun than the boss fights in the previous titles in the series.
Stealth is as good as its always been, with a few new gadgets making stealth that extra bit fun. The new remote claw can be amusing, hanging enemies to gargoyles in a true Batman fashion. One gadget I was disappointed with is the shock gloves, which felt a bit out of place for a Batman game.
Multiplayer is a new feature that has been added to Arkham Origins, which wasn't even touched upon in previous titles. Multiplayer puts you in a 3v3v2 game with players either playing as Bane's team, Jokers team or Batman & Robin. Multiplayer features its own leveling system separate from the single player of the game. Its reminiscent of the Multiplayer Spies vs Mercs from Splinter Cell and while its nothing ground breaking, it can be a lot of fun.
The new added features to detective mode are great, and while it does hold your hand through the process, it does add to the emphasis that Batman is indeed a detective. A feature that ties greatly with the new detective mode is the new Case Files System, which has you running around Gotham solving separate crimes from the main story. I found myself not using the fast travel system much, and only using to return to the Batcave. While the fast travel system can be useful to get from one area of the map to the other quickly, I found it took some of the experience of playing as Batman away since it isn't player controlled.
The new crime in progress feature is okay, and while its a step up from the political prisoner feature in Arkham City, it can become repetitive at times and you find yourself contemplating to ignore them if you are already heading to an objective. The good thing about the crime in progress is they are randomly generated, and can be done at any and multiple times. Enigma Sticks, or should I say Riddler Trophies make a return to the game, so any fans wanting to collect the collectables like Arkham City again will not be disappointed.
The map is great to look at, and while they may not be many citizens around at all, gamers have to take into account the game is set on Christmas Eve. The Christmas setting works brilliantly for the neo-noir Gotham City that is lit up by neon lights. Some fans were concerned with the map being a rehash of Arkham City and while one of the islands is the island used in Arkham City, I found myself spending quite a bit of time pointing out the landmarks from Arkham City since the map does indeed feel like its set in a younger Gotham than the one we saw in Arkham City.
However, players may find themselves feeling restricted when it comes to grappling on certain ledges, and there are some restrictions similar to the wall in Arkahm City. Anyhow, the map is twice the size and it doesn't stop exploring Gotham in a true Batman fashion from being any less fun. It can just sometimes seem a bit tedious to know you can't grapple onto every building in the game.
The voice work in the game is great, with Roger Craig Smith & Troy Baker doing a great job as Batman & Joker which got me immersed into the characters enough, I didn't find myself missing Conroy or Hamill one bit. The costume design for the characters this time around is another great feature to the game, with main costume used by Batman being my favorite of the series thus far.
With all the great things in Arkham Origins, there are of course some bad. The glitches and bugs seem to be the most predominant problem with the game, which I believe falls down to the new developers. While all games have glitches and bugs, this game has far too many. The game suffers from feeling a lot less polished than its predecessors, and the result is more than a few game breaking issues.
WB Montreal seemed to have nailed everything Rocksteady did when it came to the game, but they have failed in polishing the game up which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself with the game, until I ran into a bug. At first, I only ran into FPS issues and a few issues that just required me to restart the game. It was only later on I ran into major game breaking bugs that prevented me from getting to that 100% completion.
Hopefully these issues will be fixed with a patch, but I can't help but feel disappointed that the developers didn't pay as much attention to the game as Rocksteady did. I would personally rather see the series return to Rocksteady, so these array of bugs can be avoided on future titles. WB Montreal have done a good job, but everything great about the game was made great by what Rocksteady had already laid out, with a few exceptions like visual design and some small extra features.
Arkham Origins is a great game, with all the fan favorite features from its predecessors returning and new added features to make the game a fun Batman experience, but it suffers from the lack of polish. In conclusion, I'd score it 8/10. Its great fun, but game breaking bugs stop it from being a perfect game.
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