I still remember screaming kids that want their balloons back to their slippery hands each time I swing to another area of New York City. I also remember trying to complete many challenges or just cheat to get awesome new outfits for my superhero. Yes, I am speaking about Spider-Man games from the last two generations when PS1 and PS2 were still alive. No other games gave their respective superheroes justice until a certain developer chose a certain character to make a certain game series. That's right! Rocksteady revolutionized superhero games by creating Batman Arkham Asylum which is one of my favorite games of this current generation. Beating up gullible inmates to bloody pulp was just satisfying to see and do, the villains were just brilliant, and the biggest reason is that the protagonist the one and only: Batman, The Dark Knight.
Rocksteady has created another game that confirmed Batman Arkham games would be an official franchise which was just another masterpiece. Batman Arkham City. Finally we have a bigger map to explore as the Arkham City got brutally demolished by the inmates inside of it, and Hugo Strange was in control. Batman Arkham City also had more villains which were great too, but there were some who were missing though. I can tell you that one of the most notable ones from Arkham Asylum didn't exactly appear in Arkham City. Anyway, another game from the talented developers that gave us hope for superhero games. Now, that isn't really the case here.
Warner Bros Montreal, instead of Rocksteady, has developed the prequel of the Arkham series, Batman Arkham Origins. This is the game that had Batman in his beginning years, and they weren't pretty indeed. The villains are also not in their greatest primes yet but they were feared by many criminals and citizens but not Batman and the corrupted GCPD. Captain (Commissioner) Gordon was one of the few who fought the injustice for good reasons but sadly he was in charge of the rotten cops of Gotham City in the Christmas Eve, the same day Black Mask had put a big bounty on Batman's head. It was a long night indeed.
Just like its predecessors, Batman Arkham Origins is a superhero action/adventure game which still retained the Freeflow combat which made Batman Arkham series unique. The game took many reference from Batman comics as it should. I would love to mention one of them but it would be a spoiler in my part so if you are a fan of Batman comics, you will notice the similarities at certain parts of the game. Being made by different developers didn't really change the core gameplay mechanics but there are some gadgets that would contradict with the plot if you played Batman Arkham City but it is just a video game so the laws of logic don't apply here.
You are playing as Batman in his first years of being a vigilante and is not yet called The Dark Knight and was just an urban legend among the citizens and the criminals of Gotham City. Black Mask, a rich crime lord, put a large bounty on Batman's head and hired eight experienced assassins to kill Batman at the Christmas Eve, and that includes Bane and Deathstroke. Batman has one long night to stop the assassins' from killing him and terrorizing Gotham City, and stop Black Mask's operations. Batman didn't know that it was going to be that easy though since there were "complications". Being in his first years means that he wasn't really experienced and was bound to do few mistakes in the night.
The overall story was good thanks to Batman's inexperience and some villains. The corrupted cops were also an interesting element in the conflict between Batman and the eight assassins. The story isn't full of crystals though since there were certain moments that you would think that the certain character should have done this instead of the other character who did this. Batman also had different opinions and tactics in this game and the others, especially with his relation with Captain Gordon which was off in a rocky start.
The side stories are really interesting too like from Arkham City but I was disappointed by the Riddler in this game. There weren't much riddles and there were just puzzles and hacking the relays which the only advantage is for fast-travel. I hope that in the next game The Riddler would be more interesting and important in the terms of the story, not just a side-character which was a minor annoyance in the previous games too.
If you played any game from Batman Arkham series then you are right in home with this one. The Freeflow combat system doesn't bring anything new and innovative other than few new counters against few new enemy types which is disappointing but at the same time it was kind of expected from the new developers. There were also some new gadgets. Two of them were good additions in the game and others were just nothing special. A great example is the glue grenade. Glue grenade was created just to replace Freeze grenade to avoid complications with the story, and concussion grenade wasn't that special. Remote Claw and Shock Gloves on the other hand were great gadgets. Remote Claw was really useful during some predator encounters when you just attach a gas canister to an unfortunate thug to knock him out instantly and confuse others and get all nervous. Shock Gloves are just satisfying to use to knock out many thugs like puppets in less than a minute and feel like a bad-ass. You wouldn't enjoy this gadget if you don't like over powered gadgets though since Shock Gloves are extremely over powered in combat.
Detective Mode brought a new feature for investigating crime scenes. I should say that it was executed well but not well enough. The game was hand holding you with some guidance for evidences and didn't bring the freedom of choice with the clues and evidences as there are no option or secondary ones. The main ones are not hard to find as the game like mentioned in the other sentence was just hand holding you at the whole time. Batman is the greatest detective but this problem didn't make me feel that I am the greatest detective like I did with Ridder's riddles in Arkham Asylum.
The boss fights are the one thing I could say that has been done better than the previous games though. I remember that two of them needed some tactics and thinking similar to Mr. Freeze boss fight, while others are fun and challenging for your careful observation of the villain's attacks like Bane. If you are going to play in the hardest difficulty, then prepare of the adrenaline fill up in your hands as you concentrate on when to counter and when to attack. I say that Warner Bros Montreal did a great job on that portion of the game
The map also isn't that big unfortunately. Old Gotham City is basically Arkham City with a ship while New Gotham City is small comparing to Old Gotham City. I was kind of disappointed with this one as I am one of the fans who would like to explore the whole Gotham City someday. Maybe in next-gen then, and this time from Rocksteady, I just hope.
The graphics in Batman Arkham Origins were an improvement as you explore around Old and New Gotham City. Old Gotham City is extremely similar to Arkham City since Arkham City is Old Gotham City but it was nice to see it not ruined and destroyed by the thugs in the game. The buildings and areas looked nice but not jaw dropping along with New Gotham City. The thugs look different from the previous games but I still feel that they are show with the same graphical fidelity as Arkham City which isn't really a big improvement. I can say that Batman's armor looked great in the game though, along with some villains new looks like The Joker. The snow was normal, not a huge difference from Mr Freeze's area but it is all around Gotham City this time since it is the Christmas Eve and I currently didn't see anyone who hates snow.
That is the tricky part since there are different voice actors for both Batman and The Joker. Roger Craig Smith, the one who voiced Ezio Auditore, did a good job as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He isn't Kevin Conroy but he wasn't bad at all, and in fact I liked it. Troy Baker on the other hand surprised me as I didn't find any difference between him and Mark Hamill's Joker. I don't know how but Troy Baker just stole the spotlight from Roger thanks to his talent as the Joker. I can definitely see a great future for Troy Baker's voice acting career.
The soundtrack was really great too in the good parts like the prologue. It didn't have the memorable main theme comparing to Arkham City but the other tracks from the soundtrack were really pleasant to hear and get you excited for some fight scenes.
The sound effects didn't have a huge difference though. I still hear the good old nostalgic knock out, and bone crunching sound effects. Along with the guns, and some gadgets sounds like the Batarang. Don't expect new stuff from the sound effects other than the sound track and voice acting if you are an audiophile.
I am not covering this section since I didn't play the online portion, and I didn't really care about it either. I can't play it though since I rented the game. You should check a different review if you want to know about the online portion.
This is a good Batman game, but not a great one like Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. I kind of expected it to be a total disappointment but Warner Bros Montreal played it cool. I would say if you are a total Batman collector then you could pick this game up but if you are a Batman enthusiastic and a critic then just give it a rent or wait for a discount.
I am now waiting for Rocksteady's game. Please don't disappoint me!