Community Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

Batman: Arkham Origins seems to be one of those strange ones. Of course it won't review as well as previous entries into the series. It's been developed by a different studio. It has the word 'Origins' in the title. Already it bears the 'spin-off' stench. It has the whiff of 'b-team' about it. But is that fair or even accurate in any way?

As people engaged in gaming culture on a day to day basis we tend to focus on these 'behind the scenes' snippets of information and we often allow them to colour our opinion of a game before it's even released. In hindsight Assassin's Creed II: Brotherhood might be the best Assassin's Creed game ever made but it didn't review as well as Assassin's Creed II and most likely won't be remembered as fondly either. Sometimes certain games don't get a fair shake.

Is Batman: Arkham Origins one of those games?

I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews. Some claim it's the best Arkham game yet: a game that refines and perfects the foundation set in previous iterations. Others have been a bit more harsh: nothing new, a mish-mash story that doesn't deliver.

It's a weird balance. When a new studio takes over duties on a big successful series it's a big risk to take any chances but at the same time if no attempts to progress the game are made, gamers and the media will still be critical. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

But after spending a weekend with the game, what are your thoughts? Does it match up to previous games in the series? Let us know in the comments below.


    I like it. Its buggy but its greate. So far I'm only 20% in so can't really say that much about it. So far so good

    I managed to finish it on Sunday, so clearly I liked it (that said, I've 100%ed the main world stuff in both Asylum and City, so there wasn't much doubt that I'd at least finish it). There's a few decent additions to combat, though the annoyances of knife-dude and shock-dude are still there. Traversal is as fun as ever, which isn't really surprising. But the story kind of drags on at the end, and the whole thing just feels like a whole lot of filler.

    Also, glitchier than I remember the previous 2 being (though I have switched from 360 to PC), particularly in regards to flying animationy stuff, and I managed to break the main missions at one point, and I had to use a walkthrough because my objective markers disappeared.

    Overall, it gets an above average, even if it is still the weakest entry in the series.

      The joy of the knife-armour and shock-armour jerks!

      Having played Asylum on PS3, City on 360 and then Asylum and City on PC, I don't remember either version being buggier on PC than on console. That was well after the release though, so maybe Rocksteady just patched it up.

      The knife stuff is incredibly annoying because it requires you to immediately invert what you're normally doing. Plus I still can't figure out how to do the takedown move on them :( Ruins the fun of the combat really.

      They appear far too early in the game too.

        The cheap tactic is to just dodge over the top of them.

        The only way the knife counter takedown tends to work for me nearly 100% of the time is instead of just holding back and the counter button, hold back and tap the counter button before each swing.

        Personally after a lot of playing on City and Asylum, I got used to the knives and shocks. What I found most annoying always was that you can't counter once a strike has been initiated, since I played on Hard, sometimes the enemy starts attacking after I clicked strike. And... then I kind of got used to it and start fighting at a pace.

      bro can u plz send me ur savefile ???? i really want it badly... plz just mail me savefile at [email protected]

    I've only put about 2 hours in so far, but I'm having a hell of a lot of fun so I'm happy I got it.

    You should always attempt to take steps towards progress. The people who complain about change still have their previous game to go back to if they didn't like it that much, as well as having an opportunity to love something even more from the changes.
    If you don't change anything then some people will feel like they wasted a hundred bucks on replaying an already bought game and won't know if they can like something even more.
    Also doesn't help that there are game breaking glitches in there as well.

    Another thing, I always found the 'ice platforms' a little hard to believe, but merely replacing it with glue? Come on.

    I love it. Once the frame rate problem is patched, it should be on par with Arkham City imo.

    I really like how they've gone with less popular villains

    I'm trying to get through City.... Advanced augmented reality training.... FUUUUUUuuuuu

    I remember why I quit last time.

    EDIT: For the record Asylum is one of my all time fav's.... But the reality training and 10 buzzillion riddler puzzles in City killed me.

    Last edited 28/10/13 2:41 pm

      Yeah, that was a pain. It wasn't compulsory unless you wanted 100% though, or am I remembering that incorrectly?

        Yeah it was only for the completionists. There was the basic AR training though to get the Grapnel boost, which was pretty much essential for some side-missions that required you to move around the city in a hurry.

        That advanced training... I remember taking countless attempts when playing on PS3 when the game was released. But playing again last weekend on PC, I got them all in three attempts or less, maybe the higher frame-rate/response time helps?

          I was thinking the mouse helped (I originally bailed on the 360 version)... But then I got to the flying through tunnel bits and arghhghghg.... I actually failed millimetres from the last loop 3 times straight.

          And yeah it's for the completionists... which I'm not... but seem to be selectively drawn to certain things... i.e. AC3 with those objectives if I failed one and saw it red marked in the top corner that just shitted me. Just like these Augment Trainings are marked on the map. Goading me the evil motherf.........

          Last edited 28/10/13 4:36 pm

    Only about 15% through the gave according to my save file, but so far I'm really enjoying it. It's obviously not the leap that City was from Asylum. It's really more of the same, but as I absolutely loved City I won't be complaining! And so far the new enemy types/gadgets work pretty well to build on the overall experience. Story seems good so far, and the voice acting is top-notch.

    Also, I got the Collector's Edition and the Batman/Joker statue is so awesome.

    PC version is fairly glitchy. Some stuff eg the radio towers can't be completed right now due to a bug and stuff. They neutered the counters in combat and each fight feels like it takes forever when in the previous games it would be over a lot faster as a result. They also changed some animations so that you can't counter during them which is really annoying because you usually don't have control over what animations Batman goes into. I also feel like the predator stuff is a lot harder than it was, but I might just be out of practice. There's not enough of those so far and the decision to introduce stuff that jams your detective vision which is critical for doing those carefully is really irritating.

    Feel-wise, it seems like they've changed out a fair bit of the feel of the previous Arkham games - which felt like the Batman Animated Series come to life - in favor of bringing in some of the Christopher Nolan Batman film stuff. Batman channels Christian Bale a fair bit when he's trying to be intimidating and stuff. It's a subtle thing but it makes a difference.

    It feels like they've built it assuming you'd play it straight after Arkham City since you've got a whole lot of the gadgets and it doesn't ease you into the systems the way that the previous two games did.

    It's still an okay game, it hits a lot more than it misses. A lot of the problems the game has in terms of core gameplay are things the previous games had as well. They haven't really added anything to the formula, but haven't taken anything away either. If you skipped it you probably wouldn't regret it, but if you liked the previous games you're also not going to regret playing it either.

    Basically it's more of the same. To do an Assassin's Creed comparison, it feels more like ACII: Revelations to City's ACII: Brotherhood.

      It seems the console version equally has it's bugs - Mate just bought brand new xbox360 with Arkham Origins bundle and it has frozen a few times so far.

      It has crashed a few times for me, my biggest gripe is manevering around the city doesnt seem as fluid as city. There doesnt seem to be as many places to grapple so alot of time is spent gliding, which after a while feels like you have been gliding forever to go nowhere.

    Someone else (unfortunately I can't remember their name to give credit) summed up the current reactions to Origins quite nicely already.

    Before game was released: "WB Games won't even come close to what Rocksteady have done with the previous games. This game will suck!"

    After game is released: "WB Games have done exactly what Rocksteady have done with the previous games. This game sucks!"

    Made me laugh but it's true. Having said that though, I am enjoying the game so far with about 16% completed so far according to the game.

      Except they didn't. They imitated, which is problematic in that people don't usually just want carbon copies, but that's the full issue here. Their imitation is of lesser quality. So they didn't do 'exactly' what Rocksteady did. Anybody that was great at AC combat can feel the difference in AO combat, its sluggishness, the small changes that make it less addicting and less fun. The Riddler puzzles are repetitive, less complex and less threatening. The characterization here is off, the assassins are abundant but shallow. The plot is thrown away a third into the game. It's imitation, and it shows, like fool's gold.

    Has it been released on Wii-U yet. I heard it was slightly delayed.

      November the 6th apparently, so a week from wednesday.

    I'm enjoying it but definitely feel like it's the weakest of the series.

    But I was a huge fan of the way Asylum took place entirely in one location and how it really felt like one long dangerous encounter. City and Origins feel too broken up and, uh, gamey I guess is the word albeit a poor one, with its structure.

    Biggest problem I have with Origins combat is the camera. You're always right at a edge of the screen and far too many times have I had my combo broken by someone I couldn't see.

    Really enjoying it so far - biggest 'gripe' is the quick fire splosion gel during combat... always set this off while trying to do quick fire batarangs :( I also had the game grind to an unplayable framerate after the intro mission (when you first step out into the open) - im talking under 10 frames a sec. Have a feeling it was something to do with background download of DLC, I'd paused it but was still effecting things i think. So far hasn't happened since :)

    Its a fun game, but I'm just not liking Gotham City as the setting. Its really stale and boring. Yes all the innocent civilians are locked up in their house and their are thugs everywhere, but I would have like to have seen thugs maybe rioting in the streets, trashing cars, even stealing cars and driving them around, but they just stand there.

    There are times when you get called to a local incident on the radio, so you go to check it out and all I see is a bunch of thugs standing there doing nothing.

    I would have also like to have seen all the assassins in the main story instead of half of them as side missions. I mean they had the trailer where you fight Deathstroke and Deadshot interrupts it. It would have been so good to have fought 2 assassins in the one boss fight, but they only gave that as a supposed teaser, even Deadshot's sidequest battle felt like a simple hostage situation encounter from Asylum.

    Things I did enjoy are:
    - The story, which tells Batman and even Captain Gordon that the villains are going to get a lot worse and more psychotic.
    - The added benefit of shock gloves to compensate for the overwhelming number of enemies you have to fight
    - The kung fu enemies
    - the glue grenade upgrade to stick multiple enemies to the ground.

    As others have said, I think it's the weakest in the series, but it's still a pretty fun game.

    I'm only about 10% into it though, because I started playing on easy and I only realized yesterday that NG+ doesn't unlock unless you complete the game on at least normal difficulty, so I had to delete my file and start again.

    My friend said the main story mode was really short. I think he said he clocked the storyline and nothing else and was only 21% complete! That and also it is pretty much the same at Arkham City. I still will get, but not for a while.

    I love it. The reviews are silly. It is more City but refined and Batman has this cool retro tech vibe of his early days.
    The character designs rock too.
    Playing on PC in eyefinity with only a few small bugs.

    Has anyone tried the multi yet? Wasn't that going to have a bunch of new and interesting stuff?

      I tried, best I could get was an empty lobby by myself.

    I think perhaps the biggest problem a lot of us have with the game is something we've all been commenting on for the past 6-12 months: its too similar.

    A new story is great, but its just too damn similar to Arkham City. A bigger map and a new story isnt enough to keep the gameplay interesting. There was a big leap from Asylum to City but nothing from City to Origins. Even if they spent a couple of extra months reworking the combat animations and tweaking the detective mode for puzzles it would have made a world of difference.

    I rank it up there with Arkham City. The story is top notch, the combat is as glorious as ever and the new voice actors do a great job.

    The only thing to strike it down is the glitches and the lack of Riddler puzzle clues (where a bit of clue text would appear on the screen and you would have to hunt down the item or line up the question mark images - I really enjoyed them in the previous games.)

    Arkham Asylum is still my favourite though. I just preferred the condensed map.

      Except the combat isn't as glorious as ever. It's actually worse and less addictive.

    Combat wise, I didn't have a problem with it. It lasts a decent amount of time as well. The story starts of very strong... but toward the end it honestly felt like it ran out of steam and meandered a bit, going in directions that felt a little off. It's almost as if they had one story line, then halfway through making the game decided to go in a totally different direction with it.

    Still, I think it's worth your time if you like the Batman games. It isn't revolutionary - it won't give you the same feeling that Arkham city gave you. It also lacks some polish (it can get pretty buggy at times), but it's solidly decent. It's not the disaster that some say it is.... but it ain't gonna win any GOTY awards, and for a good reason. It feels like a slightly worse Arkham city. Still good... but a step down.

    I think I am in the minority here....But I thought Asylum was the perfect Batman game and could not stand City because of the 'almost' freedom Batman had in that game (I hated not being able to see the rest of Gotham), and the obnoxious placement of Riddler puzzles every two metres. I have played a fair bit of Origins now and feel it is the game I thought City was going to be; I am absolutely loving it. I welcome the new enemies and amount of knife wielding thugs as it makes the combat far more interesting. I 100% Asylum and could not even finish City, I will be getting 100% on Origins as well.

    I'm finding it hard not to have all the bugs tarnish my opinion of it, sadly. So far, I've had locking up about a third of the time when attempting to load my save file due to syncing with WBID, freezes during normal play, cutscenes stuttering, falling through buildings and floors, Batman skipping dialogue after a fight and attempting to use an invisible cryptographer that didn't actually work (granted, this was pretty funny), enemies stuck halfway into floors, and enemies frozen in place that can't be attacked during a required combat section. And I'm actually lucky, as a friend of mine got hit with the dreaded save file corruption 10 hours into their playthrough. It makes me wonder what that day-one patch actually fixed...

    If Origins was a better game than it's predecessors, I'd probably be more forgiving, but it's only as good or worse in nearly every instance. There are sections of the city accessible in Arkham City but severely decreased in size in Origins due to deciding that you can't grapple there anymore (with no indication other than not giving you the grapple option, instead of something physically blocking your way), it handles grappling in a poorer way than the previous games in general (why can I grapple to this roof, but not this identical-looking roof that's a bit taller?), there's a severe lack of stealth sections when compared to combat (even more so than Arkham City), the actual city itself is poorly designed (for example, separating the two parts of the city by a long bridge that's time-consuming to cross is extremely silly, and makes the simple act of swinging through the city a chore at times), Origins version of Batman is a lot less likeable personality-wise (although this could be down to me not liking having parts of BatBale bleed into his current persona), etc.

    To it's credit, the game does do a couple of things better. The detective mode has been greatly expanded and feels a bit more hands-on, and they've attempted to add a bit more variety to the boss fights over Asylum and City (to varying degrees of success). Graphically the main character models look more detailed (although some of the designs aren't as nice as the earlier games, in my opinion), but less important textures are much lower-res than before as a trade-off. The storytelling is darker than the previous games, although your mileage may vary depending on whether you feel the series actually needs it. Finally, the way the game handles the season pass and its content is fantastic. If you've bought the pass and new content is available that you haven't downloaded yet, it will give you a prompt in-game (rather than going straight to the Xbox download prompt) telling you what it is and asking if you wish to download it as soon as you move past the start screen. It's a really elegant solution that I'd like to see more games implementing.

    Overall the game is decent, but it's easily the weakest in the series in my opinion (even if it didn't feature the multitude of bugs). It's still worth a play if you're a fan of the series, but I'd suggest waiting until they've patched out at least some of the major bugs before you do (like the freezes and save file corruption issues).

    It's my favourite one in the series so far. The combat is near perfect, the huge city is fun to glide around in, the story is fantastic and the boss fights are extremely fun. The bugs are a problem but they will fix that. Also the multiplayer is being underrated. It's like spies vs mercs except with an extra team and dc characters. It's a lot of fun

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the graphics yet. This game is nice. Things like when you move through smoke it creates some turbulence that follows you, surveying the scene after a fight and seeing every move you made in the snow, subtle reflections off of concrete, light shafts through smoke. There are some real nice effects here and I say that having just played Arkham City at the weekend, I really wasn't expecting a lot more graphically from this game. I should mention I'm playing on PC...

    Having played 90% of the story, and about 35% of the game total I have to say that I am enjoying it, but if I wasn't as big of a Batman fan as I am I wouldn't be enjoying it as much as I am. It's one for the fans of Batman more so that the the Batman Games.

    The game does have a lot of baggage to carry coming in. It's a prequel, meaning that we are seeing Batman before he's really become The Dark Night. This is made clear early on in the game when your first interrogation doesn't go as smoothly as it could, and Batman says so; he's still filling out the cape and cowl. Most of his gadgets are still there, and you can see instances where gear he obtains over the course of the game may become the gadgets we seen in Asylum and City. It's a fine line between nerfing Batman to serve the story, but still giving him an assortment of gear to serve gameplay. The only aspect that annoyed me was the Grapnel Boost; in City it's introduced as a prototype bit of tech not yet tested, but here we have it in Origins... I'm a stickler for continuity, it's a curse! Overall Batman is presented well and it's believable that he's a younger version of the character we've become used to in the other games. Even the voice, a gruffer more aggressive performance, fits with the idea that this is a young Batman prone to overdoing it a bit. The Batman from Asylum and City has mellowed out in his age.

    The city looks great, although there are real questions to be asked about certain design elements, some already mentioned. Where you can and can't grapnel to seems at times purely arbitrary and thus really annoying at times. The concept of dividing the two major land masses with a looong bridge looks great, but in terms of traversing the map it become old quickly. Yes, you have the fast travel system via the Batwing, but that just seems like a solution for a problem that didn't have to exist. Seeing the Batcave though is awesome!!

    The technical issues, the framerate drop off a cliff in particular, has probably been my biggest gripe. I know the issue will be fixed (console patches are coming pending approval) but I'm not about to wait for them; I want to play now damn it! I've had to accept the fact that after a few hours worth of playtime I'm going to need to exit the game and restart (this seems to help me at least). It's an issue that again really shouldn't be an issue. Considering that Origins is built off of City, technical problems of this magnitude really are hard to forgive. There was another little glitch (that was funny more than anything else) where an Enigma data trap opened up right next to me, and I got stuck under it... Forget the Joker, apparently hinges are Batman's greatest adversary!

    Ultimately though, it's freaking Batman guys! All the issues I've mentioned aside I'm still really enjoying the game. Seeing characters like James Gordon, his daughter Barbara and a younger (or just less old) Alfred were significant moments for me. The Batcave is still under construction as is lots of the gear in it. Seeing the early development of the relationship between Batman and the Joker was also an amazing sequence. The game has great moments, but you just have to forgive some of the technical and design choices to appreciate them.

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