‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ Review

Being very late to the party and knowing a lot has already been said about the game, I’ll keep it brief. I approached Arkham Origins (which is neither about Arkham nor is an origin story) with low expectations after hearing a fair amount of criticism about it, which is probably why I came out feeling generally impressed by it.

In a lot of ways the game feels like a clone of Arkham City. The combat, the environments, the characters, all are extremely familiar to the point where Origins feels like some sort of extended DLC for City. The combat in particular is near identical; it was great in Asylum, it felt more of the same but still good in City but in Origins it feels downright repetitive. Punching the same old thugs that the game just never seems to run out of again and again using the same old button combination gets tiring in the first half an hour of the game itself. Later on in the game, you face dozens and dozens of them at once, which is downright frustrating. Even when you are in the middle of a boss battle, the game just keeps throwing these assholes at you (which is something even the previous games did).

Then there is the city itself and the indoor level design that just seem like a lazy copy-paste job of the previous two games most of the time. And despite that there are several new villains in this game, you only get to fight few of them in the main story and the rest are side missions. And when you do get to fight some of these villains, the battles often feel like quick time events, particularly the fight with Deathstroke.

There are a lot of good things too, however. The story is much better this time around and there are a lot more characters from the Batman universe. Even the inclusion of Joker was tastefully done and did not seem forced. Some of the boss battles, such as the one with Firefly and the two with Bane (particularly the second one) were quite good. All of Batman’s gadgets are still cool and he has some new ones, too. We also get a legit Batcave this time along with a legit Alfred. There are also some moments where you do some detective work. There is not much you really do yourself but they are more fleshed out than they were in the last game and bit more satisfying. Not to mention, they serve as a nice respite from all the punching. Lastly, the voice acting is brilliant and both Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker as Batman and Joker, respectively, do a fine job in their roles.

I read complaints about how this game is not like the previous two games. My complaint is that in some ways it is too much like the previous games. But the few areas where it deviates from the previous games and does something new are the ones where it truly shines. Had it not been the third game in the series, it would have been much more impressive. But even on its own it is pretty good and worth playing.