Of course, Arkham Origins was a game not without its faults. And as you'll know from all of the reviews which have been out since October, there are a good few! Firstly, the game broke the pattern in the series by being the first installment not to take a huge leap (or – in fact – any leap) in gameplay.
Also, despite the fact that the story is well conceived and loyal to the Batman mythos, the stakes here were much lower than in both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The only thing at risk in this story was Batman’s life, but as fans of the series we already know that Batman inevitably survives to go on to stabilise the asylum and then later save Arkham City. This made any risk feel somewhat transparent. With the passing of the Arkham torch from Rocksteady to Warner Bros. Game Montreal, it appeared that the latter studio wasn’t as good at getting to grips with the traditional Arkham gameplay style. The controls for both combat and exploration were much less responsive which any experienced Arkham fan will notice, meaning that the game’s difficulty is enhanced as Batman reacts more slowly and can be hit more easily. If this was a design choice in an effort to make Batman more vulnerable as a naive crime-fighter then it was a poor one, as it makes the game both frustrating and unenjoyable. The game was sluggish throughout. The combat system suffered as a consequence of this, which – in an Arkham game – of all the things ought to be a priority to protect. The studio failed at this.
So – all in all?
Arkham Origins was actually an okay game, and compared to any Batman game which came before Arkham Asylum it is definitely a piece of art. But it falls short when compared to the others in the series. This is the result of the franchise changing hands no doubt. It comes as no surprise that Rocksteady chose to abandon the series after Arkham City as, with the current gen technology, any major leaps in the series would only be cosmetic at best. Thankfully they have made a return to the franchise since, with the emergence of Arkham Knight. That said, there are other ways in which Warner Bros. Games could have spiced things up in Arkham Origins, such as the customisable in-game batsuit I suggested, or even the opportunity to unlock more areas of Gotham as you progressed through the campaign.
What we are left with however, although a good attempt to continue to series, is a gaming experience which leaves much to be desired. Everything looks good, but there’s definite substance missing here which – for me as a fan of this esteemed series – is maddening.
Was it worth playing?
Should we have waited until it was about twenty quid cheaper?