8 Nov 2013

Media - Batman Arkham Year Two

Well folks. I picked up Batman: Arkham Origin on the wife's orders and boy-o-boy was I excited.

Batman- Arkham Origins - TV Spot by itsartmag

The story is simple. Batman has yet to be confirmed outright but he has been working in the city of Gotham for 2 years. It's Dec 24th and Black Mask has put a large one night bounty on Bruce Wayne's head. Many fearsome assassins have come out of the woodwork to earn the large payday. Being the 24th of December, the love of a white Christmas the city is also snowed in via a small snow storm. I say small because I live in Ottawa and we get plenty of snow. The citizens are home warm and hidding from all the promised violence.

Bane - More normal looking then the Spider-face version
Looking awesome creepy
Story aside the last game in the cycle, Batman: Arkham City is one of my favorite games of the passing 7th generation on home gaming consoles. Batman: Arkham Asylum was brilliant very hard to beat but the folks at Rocksteady did themselves in with the sequel. When I found out WB Montreal was working the series for the third game I was wondering how to do you beat the first game Arkham Asylum and who would want to try and even come close to the awesome that is Arkham City? Was this game dead in the water before launch?


First off they kept the fight magic and added even more. Batman in the last two games fought dudes. Some of the dudes had knives, shields, armour, stun wands. Each of these dudes rounded out the list of generic dudes that Batman beatdown with ease. The free flow combat of the game is brilliant as seen by the vid below.

Yeah that was somewhere near madness.

In Arkham Origin Batman gets a few more enemy types. A larger dude similar to the armour dude but instead he charges at you. A ninja dude who jumps around and cuts you up, also she is a gurl. Last is the martial arts dude who counters your moves and you need to counter their counter... Doesn't sound like much. Well just three new folks to beat up in this game is plenty. They are well balanced and its one step up from the last game.

The fast travel system of calling the Batwing in to pick you up is well done and well earned once you clear the radio tower of the Riddler's jamming in the area and gain access to the Batwing in that district. I liked seeing the many landmarks from the last game appear in this game. The gadgets are pretty neat and ...

I lost my saved game. There seems to be a few bugs in the game and that happens. Loosing all my save files is a little rough since I want to go back into my game. Since the crash of my save data I've stopped playing and switched to a life on the high seas... Sid Meier's Pirates... or Assassin's Creed 4... don't matter.

I am looking forward to getting back into the game and playing through until the end. The game is smooth and slick. The story is not bad and the new detective mode is pretty well done and should have been in the last game. What I am not looking forward to is the weak Riddler hidden data caches that seem much more simpler then the last two games trophy hunt. Also the Anarky Symbols that litter the city to be scanned are childs play and even insulting after the brilliant Riddler '?' puzzles in the last two games.

This is what we need to scan in this game.
A simple symbol painted on the wall.

In the older games you had to line up the crook of the '?' with the period of the '?'. I spent hours looking for one half of each '?' in order to scan the image and collect the rewards. Arkham Origin has a simple Anarky Tag that requires no work on the part of the player other than simple observance. Lame. I spent hours collecting each of the bloody trophies and the fucking symbols. It was the most rewarding part of the last two games beyond hunting down jerks from the ceiling.

WB Montreal is working to keep a great game great and while also working there own magic into the series. The new detective modes, fast travel and enemy types seemed missing in the last game and they did it right. Yet the simple things were tackled while the harder and already done puzzles were dumbed down. WB Montreal was smart enough to not mess with the rest of the game and kept that perfect predator feeling and awesome beat down ability that made the series popular today.

Batman: Arkham Origins earns a 4. It's good, better than most games. Made with great quality and care. You'll feel like Batman. It may not raise the bar of the past two iterations but it at least kept up the standard. If anything play the series chronologically (Arkham Origin 1st, Arkham Asylum 2nd, and Arkham City last) and enjoy the efforts of all the folks that made the best Batman video games in character's history.