Following on from the phenomenal Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Arkham Origins is definitely more of the same, but this isn’t cause for complaint. The game is a prequel and doesn’t seek to revolutionize itself. It is what it is: a Batman game. Arkham Origins is, like Arkham City was to Arkham Asylum, very much the same game with interesting add-ons.
The game starts in the Batcave on Christmas Eve, where the then little-known Batman hears word of a break in at Blackgate; Black Mask has broken out eight assassins (Bane, Deathstroke, and Killer Croc among them) whose job it is to kill Batman. The Caped Crusader is in for a long night.
The game eases the player nicely into its style of play and then throws them into the fire. It’s a good storyline, made better by the constant urge to perfect your fighting, and it’s not one you’ll ever feel like walking away from. It does however take time to get going, with a start that’s maybe a little too slow.
The difficulty increases as the game progresses and it can be quite frustrating to keep making the same mistakes. Thankfully, the relationship between the villains and Batman is one that’s interesting enough, or at least aggravating enough, that you want to keep pushing on and destroy them and, crucially, not the controller in your hand.
Graphically, it’s also very similar to previous games in the series and, as such, the visuals might be described as unremarkable, yet it is still a haunting and effective comic book stylization. The game knows that it’s portraying another world and reality and because if this there’s no need for it to be ultra-realistic.
The gameplay is still fantastic and it’s easy to feel like a badass as you dispatch multiple enemies in 20 seconds of smooth, free-flowing combat. There are even more super fun gadgets here that you can earn and unlock, and all can be used to perform satisfying takedowns in some form or another.
It’s thrilling to enter a room and think of the many possible ways to clear it. It’s not all fighting though. The side missions are worth playing, and new features such as the crime scene investigation can truly make you feel like the world’s greatest detective.
If you were a fan of the earlier games, Arkham Origins should satisfy your bat urges. It’s a solid story that gives a lot of background and setup for the future events in the series. The gadgetry is excellent, the fighting is still enjoyable, and the villains are interesting antagonists. As Donald Dunne in The Blues Brothers said, “If the shit fits, wear it.”