Before I get started, I want to let everyone know that this will contain spoilers—not massive spoilers—but spoilers nonetheless.
This installment of the Arkham series takes place on Christmas Eve, with Batman intervening during a breakout at Blackgate Prison. While the event is supposedly orchestrated by Black Mask, Bats later finds out that this was just an impostor. It is at this point that he comes face to face with the iconic clown faced psychopath of Gotham for the first time. He later frees the real Black Mask (Ricard Sionis), who had earlier been captured.
Joker enjoys the support of many classic Batman villains, including Copperhead, Bane, Deathstroke, Deadshot, Firefly, and Killer Croc. With the help of his long-time friend and butler Alfred, Batman sets out to stop the madman and put an end to his reign of terror. Unfortunately, this is just the chronological starting point of the Arkham series, so The Joker’s reign of terror is destined to continue – albeit with a few interruptions when you throw him into the eponymous asylum for a while.
I feel like I have to talk about this, because I’ve found that many loyal Batman comic fans are unhappy with the continuity issues surrounding the timing of Batman’s meetings with the villainous ‘assassins’ sent to kill him. For those of you who didn’t know, Batman meets every assassin in a single night in the game. The utter lack of any narrative necessity for combining the meetings is confusing and slightly disappointing in a series known for its adherence to canon.
As has been the case with the other games in the series, Arkham Origins ships with access to a massive amount of DLC, with additional plot/story content reputed to be scheduled for next year. Copious side-quests and other content ensures Origins has a lot of replay value, much beloved by both hardcore gamers and comic devotees. We like nothing more than a long, interesting, consistently entertaining experience—and Arkham Origins delivers. It really says something about the development of the title that even after completing the main story, I had a mere 21% completion. Just like the other Arkham games, the developers clearly want you come back to Gotham again and again.
If you’re familiar with the controls and mechanics from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, you will be able to jump right in. In combat, the game unobtrusively prompts you to counter with the triangle button a few times. Once they figure you’ve gotten the hang of it, a reticule pops up over the heads of enemies who are about to strike you. The gameplay itself retains the fluidity of the earlier games, but poor camera angles and awkward tossing of the glue grenade can get you killed with infuriating frequency.
My overall opinion of this installment of the Arkham series is that it’s fun, has an entertaining plot-line and succeeds at properly giving us everything in which the series has traditionally excelled. Unfortunately, said entertaining plot-line is in some part a rehashing of Arkham Asylum‘s story, and the fact that the events within the game deviate from the comics without good reason does not serve to elevate the game much past solid serviceability.
My rating for Arkham Origins is a solid…
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