Batman Arkham Origins is a good Batman game, but a terrible Batman: Arkham game. Strip away all of the trappings and you have a game that is trying desperately to copy and ride on the coat tails of one of the best entries in the Batman: Arkham games: (and in my eyes one of the best comic book video games ever made) Batman: Arkham City. The game is set on Christmas Eve five years before the events in Arkham Asylum. Batman has only been active for two years and has already upset the criminal element in the city. In response to this, Black Mask puts a bounty on Batman’s head attracting the attention of nine assassins. Batman must survive the night and stop the reign of terror that the assassins have decided to unleash on Gotham to lure him out and kill him. This sounds like a simple premise, but the game quickly decides to go “all out” and doesn’t try to do anything different with the established Arkham formula. The story shines when Corey May (Assassin’s Creed) and the other writers get creative and focus on the game. But when they decide to try and explain things that occur in future games….well they break canon…..seriously….Arkham Origins diminishes if not outright contradicts the story in Arkham Asylum on so many levels. The dialogue is good, and there is a progression to the game, but the game also sloppily sidelines many of the main players in the game and either confine them to cameos (the Penguin), side missions (Deadshot, Shiva, and others), or outright forgets about them until the end of the game (Firefly). The game also attempts to depict the first time many of these characters interact with Batman and each other. Some work (Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon) some don’t (the Joker, Bane, and others). The game shoe horns the Joker into the game and does absolutely nothing with him of significance. Bane is clearly inspired by his depiction in The Dark Knight Rises, which isn’t bad, but is so uncreative to me. And what is done with the character in the game is outright pathetic, pandering petulant writing. There are some emotional beats that just don’t stick. If the game would have tried to stay within its means and tell an authentic Batman story first instead of trying desperately to tie everything into the Arkhamverse then maybe the game would be more enjoyable. The side missions are okay, but there are too many objectives in them and not enough satisfying payoffs (the Enigma mission is best to be skipped…the end result simply isn’t worth it).There is also a scene that hints at a future game not necessarily involving Batman that will probably never see the light of day. The voice acting is okay. Nolan North returns as the Penguin. Roger Craig Smith (Ezio Auditore) voices Bruce Wayne/Batman and does a good job. He’s no Kevin Conroy, but he’s not bad. Many veteran voice actors fill out the cast rather well. Troy Baker delivers an uninspired, kind of pathetic, impression of Mark Hamill’s Joker. Sorry, Baker did nothing with this role and as I suggested….the Joker was not needed in the film. Now I would have thoroughly enjoyed the game if the Red Hood (the Joker before his fall into the chemicals) was in the game and you witness his fall into the chemicals and the ending of the game hints at the Joker to come. The game didn’t use that distance to hint and set up these relationships that emerged in future games. No, it just hit the ground running and sloppily tried to explain parts of the Arkham universe that didn’t necessarily need to be explained. The graphics are very dated to 2013. There is a bland dullness to textures and the environment that lacks that gothic unique design that Rocksteady put into their games. I will praise the Christmas setting and what is done with it aesthetically, musically and otherwise. But like most of the game, it is very uninspired in regard to graphics and design. Character designs are kind of dull and are taken from other things besides the art department being creative. Batman’s costume is a hodgepodge of various influences from the Nolan Batman films to the New 52 costume. I don’t have an issue with it….but seriously…..be creative. Cutscene graphics are good, however I experienced a lot of lag and desynchronized sound both when I played the hard copy of this game and when I played it on Playstation Now (it was actually better to play the game on Playstation Now, and I know the difference between buffering or lagging connection to the content on Playstation Now and lagging sound that is in the game itself). I do remember that this game was/is plagued with bugs so there is that to acknowledge. Lastly, the gameplay is so dull and routine that it’s both frustrating and familiar. Batman is too agile for his antics and its difficult to see this Batman doing the things he does and seeing Batman being more contained in Arkham Asylum. The gadgets and abilities that Batman does in this game seem to contradict with the other entries in the franchise and once again, it seems like a retooled, repurposed, unimaginative version of Arkham City.Ultimately Arkham Origins is a competent game, but it is so offbrand and outright insulting to the Arkham series that it diminishes the fantastic games that Rocksteady made. I know that this game is considered to be canon….but I just ignore it.
«I could make it better»
«Game over at last!»