Highly-anticipated prequel game “
Batman: Arkham Origins” was released Friday, and while critics are giving the game pretty good reviews it’
s clear that the new, earlier incarnation of the Bat is not better than either of the previous two titles in the franchise.
That’s not a huge shock. The third instalment of “Arkham” comes not from Rocksteady — which developed the first two “Game of the Year” winners “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” — but rather from from Warner Bros. Montreal, the studio’s two-year-old video game startup.
Here’s what people are saying:
It doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessors, “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City.”
“Some of the proceedings reek of formulaic thinking, though. Oh, look, it’s another sequence where Batman’s stumbling around hallucinating because he’s been drugged. Oh, look, more guilt-ridden visions. Oh, look, Batman being terse and dismissive of allies. It doesn’t matter that this is a prequel and that these moments may be chronologically justifiable. They may meant to be homage but feel like required assignments on a Batman 101 syllabus.”
“Arkham Origins is a deeply predictable game. It gives you exactly what you’d expect in another Arkham game, without doing anything to push the series forward. In the absence of new elements, the tried-and-true free-flow combat and predator mechanics feel routine rather than inspired.”
“Origins is impressive in many ways, and successfully emulates the previous games, but it has a slightly lesser lever of polish and quality feel. Rather than innovate and push the series, you can’t help but feel that the overriding design decisions here were to play it safe, and not upset the status quo, and the game does suffer for it.”
A new tool, a more in depth crime-scene investigation case file system, to delve deeper into the psyche of Batman’s detective comes up short.
“I had high hopes that this would make investigating crime scenes an involving process that would test my intellect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. You scan evidence to reconstruct the events of a crime and have to scrub back and forth through the reconstruction to track down more evidence to scan. There’s some CSI: Gotham City entertainment value in watching the pieces of the reconstructed crime come together, but your role in the process is minimal.”
The first game of the trilogy to try out multiplayer, it’s a smart idea that isn’t wisely executed …
” …The eight-player mode feels like a first draft. Most of the time you’re playing a mediocre third-person shooter in which your three-man team competes for territory control points with a rival gang.given the unremarkable shooting mechanics, the multiplayer mode is a novelty that I wouldn’t expect to get more than a few sessions out of.”
The Joker is as great as ever.
Every single review we read, praised Troy Baker’s version of the Joker. For those familiar, Mark Hamill has voiced the animated clown prince of crime since “Batman: The Animated Series” and in the previous two “Arkham” titles. Baker — known for his work on “Bioshock: Infinite” — steps in with a near flawless rendition.
The bosses are better — or more challenging at least.
Remember how disappointingly easy Bane was to beat in “Arkham City”? He won’t be as simple to beat this time around. Deathstroke has repeatedly been thrown around as the most difficult of villains to disable.
“Boss battles are one significant area where Origins feels like it’s better than its predecessors. The Bane showdowns — yeah, there’s more than one — are less of a goad-charge-dodge-attack endurance affair than in previous games. You feel like you’re actually fighting and out-thinking the ‘roided-out mercenary rather than reacting to his brute force.”
The map is much larger, but that doesn’t seem to mean much when the game still feels awfully limited.
IGN and Gamespot point out that even though there’s a bigger open world for the Bat to explore, it feels recycled and doesn’t seem utilized to its full potential.
The New York Times, though barely critical of the actual gameplay, makes a great point about the game that other game sites glazed over: We
never get to know more about battered, broken Bruce Waynethan a long-time fan already knows.
“Arkham Origins never makes us understand why the trust-fund orphan Bruce Wayne became Batman, how this seemed like a reasonable decision. Sure, the game explains what happened, in ritual genuflections at the altar of his parents’ murder on the city streets. But we never feel his motivation, viscerally, thrillingly, the way we feel the flight of the Bat in the night.”
Consensus: If you’re a fan of the Bat, you’ll enjoy it.
Don’t expect to love the game better than either of Rocksteady’s previous titles. As Warner Bros. Montreal’s first original adult game title in its arsenal (they’ve put out a Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo game along with a LEGO game) it sounds like they’re playing it safe, taking cues from Rocksteady rather than trying to one up them, which is fine — if Warner Bros. strayed too far from the game’s roots, there would have been a lot of backlash. However, at the end of the day, the game will be remembered as good, not great and that will hold it back from another “Game of the Year” title.
Check out a trailer for the game:
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