At the last minute I decided to buy Arkham Origins Friday, mainly because a couple friends were doing the same. This makes the first Arkham game I’ve bought as it came out, and the first brand new, triple A title I’ve bought this year.
Then I started reading the reviews, which have been mostly negative. It’s a weird system, I know, where an eight is a failure for a major title, but it is nevertheless the world we live in. I think eight is an appropriate rating, but the tone of the reviews, at least so far, has not been.
So I’m going to be pretty upbeat about this (except for one thing).
First, if you like the Arkham games, this is a win. The combat is still great, the world is big and expansive with plenty to do, the characters are spot on and the voice acting is great, even without Conroy and Hamill.
How does it expand things? Mostly through story. So far I haven’t gotten a ton of new gadgets to speak of and the mechanics are mostly the same. But I didn’t play Arkham Asylum for the gadgets and rarely incorporated them into combat. The ones you do; the batarang, explosive gel, batclaw, they’re all still here, but it’s the story that makes it. From the very beginning I was drawn into a Gotham who thinks of Batman as an urban legend, criminals who are just now being educated as to why Batman isn’t someone to mess with, a Batman who is still learning the ins and outs of being a superhero and dealing with supervillains.
The only thing I don’t like, and it’s a crying shame, is the lack of lore. In Asylum, Riddler puzzles were everywhere and spoke to the love of the Batman universe. Every snapshot unlocked character profiles and tidbits of info, the interview reels demonstrated the fantastic voice acting and incredible insanity of the Dark Knight’s rogue gallery, and you could really feel the love. The second one had a good bit of this too, though it removed the interview reels and added the Arkham City nights posts (though I would have preferred both). This one has none of that. There are still things to collect, and maybe the extortion files will be interesting once I get to them, but I miss the easter eggs hidden everywhere. Bane’s bear, Harley’s pregnancy test, Scarface, Ras’ toetag, all the little details you didn’t even know were there until you found the friggin’ Riddler maps. That may just be me missing them though.
I’ll have a full review once I get done, but so far I’m feeling positive.