Back to Basics in Batman: Arkham Origins

The Batman: Arkham series made by Rocksteady Games were some of the best games on current generation consoles and are regarded by many not only as the best Batman games, but also some of the best action games period. Following the release of Arkham City, many fans were braced for the next release in the series by Rocksteady Games only to receive the surprising news that the next game will be a prequel, and made by instead by Warner Bros Games Montreal. It’s only natural for gamers to be nervous about just what may be in store for the series, so let’s guide you through all you need to know about the third entry in the franchise.

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Batman: Arkham Origins will take place around five years before the events of Arkham City and will apparently allow players to experience playing as Batman only two years into the job and altogether less experienced. Indeed, the world of Gotham is not as we know it with Black Mask reigning supreme and ordering a bounty on the bat’s head that make eight different assassins (including Deadshot from Arkham City) go out gunning for the Bat. Although the story certainly doesn’t seem as riveting as the other entries in the franchise, fans may be pleased to discover the increased scope of the world. Batman will be able to partake in side missions to help the police stop crimes in progress as well pursue super villains. A slight disappointment comes from the lack of any new real big name villains within the Batman lore being introduced, instead either bringing back ones from previous games (Joker, Penguin and Bane) or introducing minor leaguers like Copperhead (an assassin who most have probably never heard of). Although it’s understandable considering what just how far previous games pushed the boundaries, it seems a shame that the likes of Prometheus (basically an evil Batman) won’t be serving as some of the main villains for a change of pace to what fans have grown used to.

Voice acting has always been very important to the series and it may worry fans to discover that both Conroy and Hamill are being replaced as Batman and the Joker, respectively.  Good news, however, comes in the form of Conroy revealing that he’s already working on the next entry of the installment, indicating that his replacement is a stop gap measure for the prequel rather than a proper replacement. With Hamill’s retirement as the Joker, many may be wishing that the Arkham series would stop re-using the Joker, but from what we’ve seen, Troy Baker seems to be doing a good job (albeit not up the BAFTA winning standard of Hamill). In terms of gameplay, significant new measures include the ability to summon the Batplane to transport Batman around the city and increasing the scope of Detective mode so that the player has more input on solving crimes in first person.

There is also the introduction of several new gadgets including the Remote Claw which can pull objects together, serving as a potentially fun and innovative addition, even if it confuses continuity. Two new enemy types are also included: one who can block and reverse the player’s combat and another who must be dazed and have his armour removed before he can be harmed. Combat style, however, has remained largely the same with intuitive fighting style firmly in place seemingly following the rule that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

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As a whole, Batman: Arkham Origins has seemingly made a lot of promises that offer a lot of potential for the franchise and seem to be more positive than negative in nature. Whether or not they pan out remains to be seen, but at the very least the developers are seeking to remain true to the spirit of the original. What’s for certain is that if they can capture even a fraction of what the original series offered, then players may just be in for a very pleasant surprise come October 25.