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Storytelling trumps predictability in ‘Arkham Origins’

Chase Pendzich , 4Play Writer
November 7, 2013
Filed under 4Play

“Batman: Arkham Origins,” a prequel in the Arkham series, was released Oct. 25 for all major consoles.

“Arkham Origins,” developed by Warner Brothers Games Montreal, tells the story of Batman in his early years as the Caped Crusader in Gotham City. The story doesn’t tell the origin of Batman, but instead the origins of his relationships with some of Gotham’s most feared villains, including the Joker.

The game contains many different game modes including Main Story, New Game Plus, I Am the Night, Challenge Mode, and Online Multiplayer. New Game Plus is the main story but with harder enemies and I Am the Night mode is similar, but one death means starting over from the beginning.

The story takes place before the events of “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City.” On Christmas Eve, crime boss Black Mask hires eight assassins to kill Batman.

Some of the assassins include Bane, Deadshot and the anti-hero version of Batman, Deathstroke. As in previous Arkham titles, the game revolves around boss fights with Gotham’s villains.

Fans were promised that Black Mask and Deathstroke were the major villains in the game, but the two characters are absent in 90 percent of the main story.

The boss battles are new and entertaining and the presentations of these fights are phenomenal.

The cut scenes of the game are beautiful and are like a summer blockbuster film. These sequences and the enriching story keep the player engaged throughout.

“Arkham Origins” is yet another Arkham game centered on the Joker.

Seeing the origins of the most iconic relationship in comics is something that has been done before, but not like this. Taking plot points out of the most famous Batman graphic novel ever, “The Killing Joke,” the storyline keeps you locked into the game like no other.

It’s a shame to not see Black Mask have a bigger part for a change of pace in the series, but somehow the Joker is still able to make the story amazing yet again.

Voices have always been a huge part of the Arkham franchise, but with the absence of the great voices of the series, the new stars had some big shoes to fill. Roger Craig Smith (“Assassin’s Creed II,” 2009) voices the new Batman almost perfectly and even comes close to the famous Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in almost every animated Batman TV show and movie.

The biggest shoes to fill were of the Joker, previously voiced by Mark Hamill who voiced the Joker in almost every Batman animated feature. Troy Baker (“The Last of Us,” 2013) steals the show with a chilling voice performance that will be remembered for years to come.

The biggest problem with the game are the malfunctions. As the game stands now, the player needs the utmost patience in order to even finish the story mode. The game is full of hiccups both small and game breaking.

Throughout the first play through of the main story there were many glitches, but only one caused a restart from the most recent checkpoint. The problems can be as small as a henchmen not noticing you or as critical as Batman falling through the map and not being able to get back in.

After one of the earliest boss fights in the game, Batman fell through the map preventing completion of the New Game Plus as well as I Am the Night mode.

With that being said, a bad Arkham game is still a phenomenal game in general. Definitely purchase this game, but not until a patch is released to fix most of the bugs.

“Arkham Origins” is the first Arkham game with an online multiplayer. Players are split up into three teams: Joker’s gang, Bane’s gang and the duo of Batman and Robin. The gangs attempt to kill each other while Batman and Robin take out gang members in order to fill up their intimidation bar to win.

The online is so-so and provides for some fun, but it is in no means addicting. This mode is just another added feature of an already enjoyable game.

The game is a constant battle of its good aspects and its bad ones. The truly amazing story fights against the unoriginality and glitches.

This is a must have for any Batman fan, as well as any fan of the previous Arkham games. Devotees of single player campaign games and action games will love this title. Players just needs to go into the game with a little bit of patience and they will be highly rewarded.