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Batman: Arkham Origins Video Game Impressions

We've had another chance to become Batman, set in the early days of Gotham. Is it everything we'd hoped it would be?

Many gamers have spent the past few days immersed in Gotham City once again with the release of Batman: Arkham Origins. As the third game in the franchise, we actually journey back to an earlier time in Batman's career. This gives players a chance to return to Gotham but before the craziness from Arkham City as well as giving us a chance to see certain characters return or cross paths with Batman for the first time.

The story focuses on the bounty placed on Batman's head by Black Mask. This causes several of Batman's biggest foes to crawl out of the woodwork on Christmas Eve. As Alfred puts it, Batman could simply stay home but Batman knows these assassins roaming the street could lead to innocents getting harmed.

As far as those innocents go, thankfully for Batman's piece of mind, there aren't a whole lot on the streets. The game promises a bigger free-roaming environment. You'll have your main mission with reminders that you really ought to visit or stop so-and-so but as you cruise around the rooftops, you'll hear about certain crimes in progress. Similar to the previous games, you mainly beat up on a bunch of street thugs. It is a way to build up your points for upgrades. And you'll have plenty of dealings with Riddler to keep you busy as well.

If you've played the previous games, you'll be able to dive right in. There is a new "Enhanced Detective Mode" where you can replay what happened at crime scenes (this is essential in some parts). A lot of the familiar weapons are at your disposal along with some new ones. You'll also have some access to the Batplane, which you'll definitely want to use to avoid having to go back and forth, the long way.

Because it's set earlier than the other games, we can justify Batman not easily mopping the floor with his opponents. The boss battles are a little unbalanced, but again, we're talking about a less experienced Batman so that must explain why some of the fights got a little frustrating, right?

You may have heard about the early encounter with Deathstroke. Yes, we're talking about Deathstroke and he should be a complete badass. There's one thing to creating a challenge and another when that challenge relies on repeated playing just to get to the next part. I'm sure there are many expert gamers that were able to defeat him on the first try, right? There is a weird balance between the different villains. Some are pretty unexpected.

The biggest problem I had was the glitches. At one point, early in the game, on the way to try to find Penguin, the game simply froze. The screen went black and all I could hear street noise. Nothing could be one except for restarting the game. Then, of course, my Xbox wouldn't start back up. There were some known issues, especially when trying to log on with your WBID. Some of these issues were fixed. But other glitches in the game ended up leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Nothing like having to replay the last bit over again because the game didn't save.

Aside from the small number of new characters and gameplay options and glitches, how is the game? The good and the bad thing is, it's Batman. You can't deny how fun it is skulking around the rooftops and waiting to drop down on your unsuspecting foes. There's that satisfaction seeing your final blow play out in slow-motion. Having enjoyed the previous games, who wouldn't want more? This might make us more accepting to any downsides.

The problem is, there's not really a lot of new aspects to the game to justify the full retail price, especially with the glitches. I would have preferred having the game delayed a tiny bit in order to iron these out. From our perspective, it's great having the Dark Knight in a video game of this caliber. There are plenty of tiny Easter Eggs that make you feel like the developers really kept us in mind. Whether it's mention of a certain company owned by green-clad archer or a poster for a certain top hat wearing magician, there are little things that really make this fun, from a comic reader's perspective. Interacting with the characters and seeing the introduction of others even makes you hunger for more.

If it wasn't for the glitches and freeze ups. Part of it is, how forgiving can Bat-fans be? WB Montreal had a strong legacy to live up to. They do nail it in many areas. There are some cool new aspects added, just not too many. The minor problems that should have been caught before the game's release leaves me a little fearful for future Batman games.

Batman: Arkham Origins can be a fun game. You get to be Batman, immersed in Gotham. You'll feel right at home if you've played the others. I can't say it's a great game but it can be a lot of fun. The story is interesting and different enough from the previous two games. Do your best to avoid spoilers, if you can. Troy Baker does a great job as Joker and Roger Craig Smith stepped into Batman's shoes nicely.

The game has its share of problems but it also has some really nice moments that will bring a smile to your face. If you've enjoyed the other two Arkham games, you will like this as well. It's not re-inventing the franchise but it doesn't really have to. It's unfortunate that there are some problems. Perhaps an update will fix some of them. Until then, you can count on return trips to Gotham to fully explore every corner. It's good. It's not great. But it's Batman. And you have some fun with this game.

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Edited by clumsyninja

While the game feels like an expansion pack of Arkham City, the feeling of Batman is great. My issue with AO is the bugs and glitches on the game, everytime you fast travel or get a long cutscene there's frame rate issues; the way to play this game is the PC (even tough is still has plenty of issues).

Troy Baker does an amazing job as the Jokey and Craig Smith falls a little behind as Batman, he sounds more as Bale than Conroy.

I wish the DLC didn't involved re- skins of Batman but hey at least we got free skins: Knightfall, Adam West, Noel, One Million, Dark Knight, etc.

The story feels better that Arkham City but weaker than Asylum. Still I rather play Batman a game that no Batman game at all.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

Too bad they didn't make this a Justice League game instead of just another Batman game rehash. Maybe pick it up some day when it hits $20.

Posted by Grey56

@g_man: One doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to ensure the shape goes 'round. Further - this game is far more expansive than its predecessors; thus immediately justifying a full priced game.

It is arguable that game fans have been spoiled via PC games for years and other erstwhile console options that offer downloadable content to further the adventure a la Borderlands.

To say glitches are an otherwise viable reason to deny how stunning a replica to the Rockstar studios incarnations is a pithy attempt at finding fault. I submit the hours of frustration I watched my wife play Skyrim - only for it to be lauded as game of the year. This was after the same studio producing it from multiple previous iterations and extensive capital to invest in play testing and R&D.

Posted by timelord

Too bad they didn't make this a Justice League game instead of just another Batman game rehash. Maybe pick it up some day when it hits $20.

I am begging to think that's how DC will do things from now on. We get 3 Batman things be they comics games or movies which make them bank. Hopefully they then use that money to invest into their other properties.

Imagine a Justice League game on the PS4 or Xbox One it would be awesome.

One more thing if you game on the PC I imagine Arkam Orgins will be $20 during the Steam Xmas sale coming up.

Posted by G-Man

@grey56: Sorry dude, it's my opinion. I'm entitled to it. I'm not looking or care for an argument. Don't seek to bash my thoughts when I stated, several times, it's a fun game. Not quite sure why you have a problem with what I wrote.

Staff
Posted by ZacCooper

The only problems with the game I have are the amount of glitches during gameplay and how easily the boss assassins were defeated by an inexperienced Batman. But my biggest problem with the game was the lack of Easter eggs and riddles within the game, which I really enjoyed finding in the previous Arkham games, so I feel although they've taken some of the fun out of this game by not including them but apart from these problems I really enjoyed playing Batman Origins. Probably should have waited until it was at a cheaper price though

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

I really enjoyed the game. I especially liked the Firefly boss fight, definitely a huge highlight for me. The only thing negative I have to say is that I was disappointed that they didn't include all the assassins into the main mission because I finished the game and still hadn't fought Deadshot. Maybe that says that I should have dealt with all the side quests earlier but it just left me feeling odd.

Posted by Zijuun

I hear this game is okay-good. IGN rates this game 7.8, so somethings bad here, XD.Though no big changes from it's prequels (good/bad thing).

Posted by AlKusanagi

The freezing ruined it for me. It happened at least a dozen times to me.

I'm also still bummed about the voices. What's the point of not having Conroy and Hamill is the new voice actors are essentially just doing their best impersonations to Conroy and Hamill? They should have taken the voices in a different direction.

Posted by War Killer

My biggest issue with the game is the glitches. Multiple times throughout the game it would glitch up and I would have to start over from my last checkpoint. Even when simply roaming through the city the game would freeze up and I have to do a hard reboot. The main plot, I felt, was very good and while it doesn't outshine the two previous games, it give us a great glimpse into Batman's early day, I feel they missed a few opportunities but also could see where they could further expand on character in a sequel to this prequel.

Overall, I feel that this game's biggest problem would once again have to be the various glitches and game crashing freezes. Hopefully a system patch will be released to correct these issues, but until then I feel that will ultimately put a hinder on this game and possibly effect people's feelings towards it.

Posted by deadpool25mm

@raggedscarecrow: I Finished the story and everything on the map [all cameras and enigma data (not 100% though some are in the buildings)] and still havent faced shiva.., I think I need to be max lvl for that, not sure.

I realy enjoyed the game, but I think they should put Joker as a side quest, he is starting to get boring, or make 2 main quests and you can follow them both.
**SPOILER** If you finished story then its not:
They did what Ironman 3 did.. promised mandrin and put someone else..(Black Mask/Joker) which was realy disapointing.

Yeah some glitches here and there, but not that bad, they will fix it.

Edited by RaggedScarecrow

@raggedscarecrow:

I Finished the story and everything on the map [all cameras and enigma data (not 100% though some are in the buildings)] and still havent faced shiva.., I think I need to be max lvl for that, not sure.

I just sort of stumbled onto her mission. I don't really remember how, just that I heard a baby crying, followed the sound and was then attacked randomly. I don't think level had anything to do with it, but I'm not sure.

Posted by G-Man

@zijuun said:

I hear this game is okay-good. IGN rates this game 7.8, so somethings bad here, XD.

You know I didn't give this a score, right? And even the very end, I wrote:

It's good. It's not great. But it's Batman. And you have some fun with this game.

What's the confusion?

Also, if you're looking for other opinions (which is always a good idea), don't just rely on one site. Currently there's 27 opinions here:

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/batman-arkham-origins/critic-reviews

Staff
Posted by CheeseSticks

@deadpool25mm: Just outside the bank, continue forward, there's a baby crying and it's the start of Shiva side quest.

Posted by dreamfall31

Yeah...I kinda had a feeling it would just be okay. I think I'm going to wait and see what Rocksteady's secret project is next year. Arkhamn Origins is definately a next year $20 buy.

Posted by Zijuun

@g_man: I know, I was just saying my opinion of the game. Nothing of which that had to do with the article. And thanks for the link. And I said IGN rates this game.

Edited by iceslick

@g_man: It seems to me that people don't like your reviews even if you don't add a score. So, I guess there's no way to satisfy people. I think you a good job on this review and it basically sums up all the ups and downs without giving a downbeat score.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

I'm loving this game. And I know I'm in the minority, but I am preferring Craig Smith over Kevin Conroy as Batman.

Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

Nice. I feel it was the Dark Knight Rises to the Arkham series lol.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I still have to play Arkham City :( Well gonna try to get it from ebay for $2-$5

Posted by zachkastner

Troy Baker really felt like a young Mark Hamill at times. Something about the inflection and timing just rang true, Craig Smith on the other hand just came off lifeless and just plain flat. I couldn't stand just hearing him monologue after about two hours in.

I understand he's a younger, more rage-filled Bruce..but there was no sign of anything other than soulless yelling or stable monotony. Kevin Conroy and Bruce Greenwood invoke a subtle charisma into their Batmen. To a lesser extend, even so did Ben Mackenzie from Year One.

Oh, and having Baker on Black Mask was brilliant. He makes a wonderful Sionis! It's crazy how rooted his voice already is inside Gotham. Two-Face, Robin in Arkham City, Nightwing in Injustice, and now Black Mask & Joker in Origins. Props to that range!

Posted by Kuyamu
Edited by Sleepbutnodream15

I haven't bought it, but I watched a LOT of gameplay. I was kinda disappointed in some of the boss fights. The Deathstroke fight looked really great, but comic book fans know that a young Batman shouldn't be able to take him down. I didn't really have a problem with that though. And I was hoping for a rematch with him later in the game. He was advertised the most out of all the bosses too, so his early entrance and exit kinda bummed me out. With Bane, I was hoping the fight would be more visually fun to watch. Especially with the last battle, it was just Bane charging at Bats and no real 'fighting' going on. The first match kinda did a good job with that though. I was REALLY disappointed with the Lady Shiva fight. Arguably, she's supposed to be the greatest fighter in the DCU, but she fought alongside her ninjas in the match and still lost. This was another thing I saw that bothered me. Every time they needed to add more to a boss fight, they just threw a bunch of random thugs at Batman.

Still, I'll probably wait for the version with all the DLC already on it to come out, and then I'll wait for that version's price to drop.

Edited by spinningbirdcake

Seems like a good enough game. The only problem is I watched the quicklook on giantbomb and saw the Deathstroke fight. If that's the only fight with him I'm pretty sure much of my motivation to play the game goes out the window.

Edited by Ninjablade09

I'm enjoying it, probably my favorite game besides the glitches and bugs. I really wish they kept the "I'm Batman" line after Deathstroke says "What are you?" would have been hilarious, and bada** at the same time.

Posted by RisingBean

Liking it so far.

Posted by Cyborg6971

I have to wait till halloween to get this game so BOO. Are these glitches and crashes happening on just the 360 or all across the board. I preordered it on ps3.

Edited by Pokeysteve

While the game feels like an expansion pack of Arkham City, the feeling of Batman is great. My issue with AO is the bugs and glitches on the game, everytime you fast travel or get a long cutscene there's frame rate issues; the way to play this game is the PC (even tough is still has plenty of issues).

Troy Baker does an amazing job as the Jokey and Craig Smith falls a little behind as Batman, he sounds more as Bale than Conroy.

I wish the DLC didn't involved re- skins of Batman but hey at least we got free skins: Knightfall, Adam West, Noel, One Million, Dark Knight, etc.

The story feels better that Arkham City but weaker than Asylum. Still I rather play Batman a game that no Batman game at all.

I actually agree with this pretty solidly. The two things I differ on is I thought this had the best story of the three followed by Asylum. City was meh but the most fun. The second thing is I really like the skins haha. City had great skins and I won't be getting all of them for this. Where do you get the Adam West one? Didn't see that.

Posted by StMichalofWilson
Posted by Yokergeist

I pretty much agree with all that.

Posted by Loki2u

G-man....I'm not sure what you meant about the deathstroke fight. I'm thinking I'm not catching the sarasm....but can you elaborate?

Cheers!

Posted by starscream22

The combat is still great but I expected more. The game feels empty most of the time and I felt like I got stuck on the littlest objects while trying to flee. Also, Deathstroke is a final boss kind of guy. All in all the game is still a lot of fun, can get frustrating, but I really wish Rock Steady developed this one.

Posted by nappystr8

This review seems pretty consistent with the overall reviews the game has been getting. Seems like I was right to be cautious about it. Definitely want to play it when the cost goes down, but glad I didn't jump on board just yet. With any luck all these glitches will be ironed out by then. Also, maybe for the first time I'll wait until the pack comes out with all the DLC included.

Posted by THEOCITYLEGEND
Posted by MuyJingo

G_Man, if the game hadn't had glitches or crashed for you, would you consider it great, or at least on par with previous installments?

Posted by CitizenJP

Beat this game yesterday. It was pretty awesome.

Edited by csl316

I'll play it eventually. The others were great, and it's been long enough that I could deal with more of the same.

Posted by Grey56

@g_man said:

@grey56: Sorry dude, it's my opinion. I'm entitled to it. I'm not looking or care for an argument. Don't seek to bash my thoughts when I stated, several times, it's a fun game. Not quite sure why you have a problem with what I wrote.

Don't apologize for having an opinion, sir. It's noteworthy that you take the time and invest thought into bringing us this analysis - much appreciated at that.

However, describing my retort as bashing is a bit abrasive. Like yourself, others are entitled to their opinion; and this is a public forum after all whereupon we gather to discuss and disseminate those views. Peer review is an essential component of any robust finding.

Lastly, understand that my statements are not aimed at being personally offensive nor contentious for the sake of it. I would hate for anyone to imagine this was a case of throwing rocks at abandoned buildings. I have read your reviews and at least a dozen others and presented the same sentiments accordingly.

Thank you though for your time and effort in bringing us all further contributions to the community.

Posted by ZZoMBiE13

I would love it if the team at Rocksteady could do a game about Slade. Playing as Deathstroke in the combat challenges is a blast and the character seems super popular here lately. I bet he could carry his own title.

Also thank to @g_man for taking the time to write up his thoughts. I always enjoy reading your work! :)

Posted by mkukie68

I love this game but it's crashing way too much! I heard its because of the first patch that was on the game but I don't want to delete it and possibly mess things up. So I'm hoping the next patch will resolve the issue. 6/10 with glitches 9/10 without

Posted by G-Man

Also, I apologize for sacrificing Friday's podcast in order to stay home and play this. Someone had to do it, right?

Staff
Posted by War Killer

@mkukie68 said:

I love this game but it's crashing way too much! I heard its because of the first patch that was on the game but I don't want to delete it and possibly mess things up. So I'm hoping the next patch will resolve the issue. 6/10 with glitches 9/10 without

There was a first patch? O_o I'm playing on the Xbox and I wasn't even aware a patch had been released yet.

Posted by mkukie68

@war_killer: just that very first day patch /update that happened when u first load the game. Like with most games. Some people removed that update and stopped having my issue but I'm worried about messing up my saved data

Edited by Shallbecomeabattoo

A friend of mine has thrown the towel in the ring, because of the Deathstroke fight, and I beat him on the first try, with only one or two counters messed up. I really think this fight shows the difference between people who play regularly and people who only play one or two games a year. I really found nothing to be so hard about that. I think Bane is a much harder fight, as soon as they drop 10 goons into the mix as well.

Besides that, I really loved the game. Finished the story last night and will finish up the sidequests the next days. Story and character design wise, its my favorite out of the trilogy.

Only thing I was really let down by is Troy Baker. He just does a Mark Hamill impression and no matter how good he may do that, its still highly unoriginal and boring. I wished he would've done his own thing. Roger Craig Smith is aces as Batman, however. Like him more than Conroy.

Posted by WaveMotionCannon

Good not great as others have said, I've enjoyed playing so far. The glitches are a pain and it seems like some of the finishing animations are off too. All in all, I'm having fun playing AO and I'm glad I Gamefly'd it instead of dropping the 60$ on it.

Posted by ComicStooge

I agree with this review wholeheartedly.

Online
Posted by KingAres109

Well I havent played It yet.But I did look at it on youtube.Well only 3 boss fights:Killer Croc,Copperhead and Slade.And DS fight was the worst,and most boring.It took zero skills beating him.Copperhead gives you more problems than he does Lol..And on top of that,when you buy Slade dlc and play with him,he doesnt even kill.I'm truly disappointed:(..And I was all set to buy the game and all dlcs.Smh...

Edited by Trevel8182

I was largely disappointed with Black Mask's limited appearance, as I would of loved to see this small villain have such a massive role but Black Mask turns out as a pussy and once again Joker is the main freaking villain. The assassins such as Deathstroke were denied a good opportunity in the game. I just don't understand why they had 8 assassins in the game when they could only service 4 of them. But on the other hand, seeing Joker and Batman meet for the first time, and having their relationship explode on the spot was thrilling. I didn't get what I wanted but all in all I enjoyed the game.

Would love to hear Tony on a spoilercast somewhere.

Posted by KRYPTON

Great review/impression, gonna pick this up!

Posted by LCazT1996

@timelord said:

@captainhoopla said:

Too bad they didn't make this a Justice League game instead of just another Batman game rehash. Maybe pick it up some day when it hits $20.

I am begging to think that's how DC will do things from now on. We get 3 Batman things be they comics games or movies which make them bank. Hopefully they then use that money to invest into their other properties.

Imagine a Justice League game on the PS4 or Xbox One it would be awesome.

I have yet to play Origins (I'm really looking forward to it though) but I'd like to comment on the Justice League game idea... In order to do a game like the Batman: Arkham franchise, featuring characters with powers and in a free-roam setting would probably be much harder than doing someone like Batman. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see it and they'd probably do an AWESOME job at it. But I just feel like trying to do someone like Green Lantern or Superman would be very limited due to the amount of powers/things they can do with their powers. And you also have to think: What kind of street-level threat that can have goons and stuff (who can actually do some damage to the main character) is there for those characters?

I suppose for someone like GL they could do something like adapt the War of Light (or even just the Sinestro Corps War). Superman could be Luthor I guess. But even so, I get the feeling it would be very hard to accomplish.

Now, I know nothing about making video games. So maybe I'm way off and they could make it easy-peasy. (Never saying that again) But I get the feeling its way easier said than done.

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