Batman Arkham Origins Review

October 25, 2013 by  

Batman Arkham Origins Review, Batman’s always made the shadows his ally, but in Batman: Arkham Origins, he finds the shadow of his own previous games impossible to escape from. It’s as good as Batman: Arkham City in most ways, having inherited an outstanding combat system, but it lacks interesting ideas of its own, and it’s missing the polish and attention to detail that makes Arkham City and Arkham Asylum great action games.

Its name, “Arkham Origins,” is a flagrant misnomer – it may be a prequel, but this story is neither about Arkham, nor is it an origin story in any significant way. It’s more of a traditional Batman plot that retreads some of The Dark Knight’s most familiar themes over its roughly eight hours of main story content: a self-destructive insistence on working alone, and how far he’ll go to avoid taking a life – a concept the final battle cleverly toys with. It’s a respectable plot that even concocts a plausible reason for Batman to face so many villains all in one night – a $50 million bounty on his head. But it’s the kind of prequel that screams “What were we thinking when we killed off that incredibly popular character? Undo! Undo!”

The actors standing in for long-time Batman and Joker voices Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill do a good job in emulating their predecessors – Troy Baker’s Joker, in particular, is close enough that I might not have noticed immediately if I weren’t listening for it. Conroy will always be Batman for me, but his understudy does well enough.

This younger Batman already has all his signature moves and gear, flies a fancy plane, and is on a first-name basis with pretty much every villain but The Joker. So at the cost of really selling the idea that these events happen prior to the other two games, Origins keeps the foundation of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City’s amazing combat intact, including every gadget in one form or another. (Mr. Freeze’s absence from the rogue’s gallery means the cryo-grenades are now concussion or glue grenades.)

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