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Batman: Arkham Origins Hands On Preview

Why you shouldn't be too worried about the Caped Crusader's origin story.

The Arkham-verse has become its own thing after the resounding success of Arkham Asylum and City. Rocksteady laid a superb foundation for the Batman series and though the latest game is being handled by WB Montreal, there’s not much to worry about. The fundamentals of the series hold up, and if anything much has been added to the gameplay. Whether these additions will prove beneficial is yet to be determined, but based on some story tidbits and my brief hands on I remain excited to see what the full game has to offer.

Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel that looks to set up various aspects of the Batman’s lore. This game takes place during his second year as the Dark Knight, and at this point in his career he is still very much a myth. Only a few enemies have claimed to have seen him, and those who have are generally low-life thugs. On the Christmas Eve of the year that the game is set, Batman will meet some of his most threatening villains who have come together under the Black Mask who has placed a bounty on Batman’s head. This will mark the first time Batman has ever been faced with such odds, and we will start to see him change into the brooding and calculating Batman that we played as in Asylum and City.

The villains taking on Batman this time around are a mix of well-known and lesser-known criminals. The likes of Bane, Deathstroke, and the Joker will appear alongside villains like Copperhead, Anarchy, and Firefly. Each of these villains will encounter Batman over the course of the game, and it’s up to you to stay alive and put an end to the madness.

Much of the gameplay is borrowed from Arkham City, but WB has made some system changes that should improve on the Batman experience. There are brand new items, like a new grapple launcher that pulls two objects together. I was able to pull off this maneuver with two enemies, temporarily putting them into a daze. In one instance, I pulled an enemy and an explosive can together that knocked the enemy out instantly. This item seems to add to the already vast amount of stealth options available in previous games.

Combat is the bread and butter of the experience and I was relieved to know that it is very much the same. New additions come in the form of stronger enemy types, who require a little more finesse to defeat. For example, a new ninja enemy has the ability to counter your moves, which lead to more back and forth battles than before. There is also a new ability that super charges your gauntlets with electricity, giving you the ability to essentially “break the rules of combat” and take out enemies much more freely. Gamers who might have played Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition on Wii U might be familiar with a similar mechanic that was exclusive to that version.

Most of my time with Arkham Origins was fun, but familiar. I did take not that the flying controls seemed to be a little different from Arkham City. While I didn’t spend too much time flying around, gliding seemed a bit more complex. This could have to do with the fact that I was playing on PlayStation 3, rather than Xbox 360 - the system I normally play on - but the final version is sure to confirm my suspicion. I also noticed some loading while crossing the cityscape, but this may have been due to the demo being an early build of the game.

After playing, I wasn’t necessarily blown away but that’s mainly because I knew what to expect coming into it - a Batman game that plays well and looks great. Ultimately, we'll know whether or not WB Montreal succeeded when Batman: Arkham Origins releases tomorrow.


 

Comments

BrokenH

10/24/2013 at 07:47 PM

Origins looked good from the start. I know some people have doubts(new team and all) but I like the fact you get cool gadgets from all the defeated villains. It's as if Origins is giving an obvious wink & nod to Megaman!

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

10/24/2013 at 09:11 PM

indeed. I'm liking that structure. It will def mix up the flavors from Asylum and City in a way.

Michael117

10/25/2013 at 03:02 PM

I've never played either of the new Batman games all the way through. In 2009 my friend had the game and brought it over, and I played the first 3 or 4 hours of it Arham Asylum and loved it, but it was just bad timing and never bought it since I had lots of other games to get at the time. I just now bought Asylum and it's on its way through the mail right now. I'm really looking forward to finishing it after all these years, then I'm sure I'll go buy Arkham City after that. Everything I've seen from Origins looks awesome, I saw a long gameplay demo with Adam Sessler on Rev3Games and the gameplay and level design looked really fun.

Homelessrook

10/27/2013 at 09:58 AM

I am hoping for this an Blackgate to be a hit.

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