Hands-On First Impressions With BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
At Fan Expo Canada 2013, WB Games brought five consoles running the San Diego Comic-Con/E3 demo of Batman: Arkham Origins and we were there to try it out, so quickly check out what impression the game left on us last weekend!
Batman: Arkham Origins is the third game coming out in the Arkham franchise, however, it’s worth nothing that this particular game isn’t made by Rocksteady, but instead Warner Bros. Games Montreal. However, that is the most irrelevant detail because you really wouldn’t be able to tell, as Arkham Origins tops its predecessor’s in the same way that Rocksteady did with Arkham City. Arkham Origins feels and looks like a Rocksteady game but it also has significant changes not only cosmetically, but behind the hood of the game as well.
The playable demo at Fan Expo Canada was the one you guys have seen at San Diego Comic-Con and more, featuring a side-mission or two and the cut scene with Bane and The Joker. Getting to that cut scene is the fun part as you could take 5 minutes or explore around for side-missions and take about 30 minutes. I’ve seen it countless times on the internet and to be honest, I thought to myself that it only slightly looked different than the previous games. The creative team talked about how much they changed up the game, and visually, it wasn’t showing. Upon arriving to Fan Expo, I quickly rushed to the South Building as fast as I could and stood in a lineup for Batman: Arkham Origins. Unlike the other demos, there were five consoles setup running the game as Warner Bros obviously anticipated the hype. I waited, patiently until my time came to play.
The demo starts out with a cut scene similar to the one in the trailer featuring Copperhead. After that, you begin Batman atop of a building with a dialogue signaling to jump off, much like the first demo for Arkham City. Now, I’m sure you’ve all seen what the demo has in store so I won’t describe it too much. After this cut scene, I immediately dove down and saw a group of normal thugs and I was feeling a little hungry for some knuckle sandwiches. Overall, I took what I already knew from the Arkham series and applied it to this game’s combat, as the controls are extremely similar. On the PS3, it’s still square to punch, it’s still triangle to counter and it’s still cross to jump. The fundamentals aren’t different which, in my opinion, is best for this game to use recognizable gameplay. This first fight with about 10 thugs is what made me fall in love with Arkham Origins. Why? Simply because not only are there new animations signifying that this Batman is more young and hardened, but more so due to the fact that something in the game engine is different and better than anything Rocksteady used. Eric Holmes noted that it’s a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3, so go talk to him about that for more details one day. Regardless, this one battle was incredibly fast paced, exciting and fun. It had me rushing to block, rushing to evade and it was a struggle (in a good way) to keep a hit-combo going. I believe this demo is a couple months old, so I’m incredibly looking forward to what the WBGM do with the finished product, but this game definitely has the emphasis on a younger Batman. Now, honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference in the Predator combat missions. The only difference I’ve seen is the use of the ‘Remote Claw’ which isn’t quite that fun considering it’s somewhat broken, but hopefully there is a lot more to do in the final product once upgrades and gadgets are unlocked through progression.
All-in-all, Arkham Origins is an extremely promising tenure into the depths of Batman’s early mythology and this demo gave me hope that it’ll take its place beside Rocksteady’s Arkham games as some of the best licensed video games of all-time.
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