Batman: Arkham Origins Review - Good, But Not Good Enough

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Batman: Arkham Origins Review - Good, But Not Good Enough

A single new addition does not a great sequel make.

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It's a completely solid game. I liked Arkham City, so I'm liking this one. Although it can be very frustrating when the delay from pressing counter to Batman countering gets you killed. Playing on hard can cause this to happen quite a bit.
It is a very pretty game too, and runs very well on my PC. I have pretty much everything cranked to max and usually get around 50-60 FPS. Even on lower settings Arkham City stuttered a bit, so good on them for properly optimizing.

Also Kevin Conroy's absence is far from a deal breaker, but it is noticable, and sometimes a bit jarring. Every time Batman speaks all I hear is Chris Redfield.

Currently i cannot get past the first (that is, i assume its the first) Copperhead encounter, because the game crashes exactly when i look out of the elevator on the way out after getting poisoned.

Worse still, that moment was a checkpoint so when i try to load the game, it crashes.

Despite that, what ive seen so far definitely lives up to the standards set by Arkham City.

Mcoffey:

Also Kevin Conroy's absence is far from a deal breaker, but it is noticable, and sometimes a bit jarring. Every time Batman speaks all I hear is Chris Redfield.

That's because the actor that voices Batman (Roger Craig Smith) did indeed voice Chris Redfield, and I'm with you, it is a little odd to hear.

Little oddities like that aside, I've enjoyed the first hour or so that I've played so far.

Andy Shandy:

Mcoffey:

Also Kevin Conroy's absence is far from a deal breaker, but it is noticable, and sometimes a bit jarring. Every time Batman speaks all I hear is Chris Redfield.

That's because the actor that voices Batman (Roger Craig Smith) did indeed voice Chris Redfield, and I'm with you, it is a little odd to hear.

Little oddities like that aside, I've enjoyed the first hour or so that I've played so far.

Oh I know, it's still just a little odd. He's doing a good job though. I've noticed his performance has reminded me of both Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale at different times. He's got the smoother inner-monologues and a bat-growl!

Mcoffey:
It's a completely solid game. I liked Arkham City, so I'm liking this one. Although it can be very frustrating when the delay from pressing counter to Batman countering gets you killed. Playing on hard can cause this to happen quite a bit.

Question: is it on par with the (fairly minor) reaction time that was in City? Or is it more like Robin's (much longer) attack animations? If you've played him, that is.

I was pleasantly surprised by the differences in the fighting styles between the various characters in City, but Robin's slow attacks definitely made him the most frustrating to play.

Tahaneira:

Mcoffey:
It's a completely solid game. I liked Arkham City, so I'm liking this one. Although it can be very frustrating when the delay from pressing counter to Batman countering gets you killed. Playing on hard can cause this to happen quite a bit.

Question: is it on par with the (fairly minor) reaction time that was in City? Or is it more like Robin's (much longer) attack animations? If you've played him, that is.

I was pleasantly surprised by the differences in the fighting styles between the various characters in City, but Robin's slow attacks definitely made him the most frustrating to play.

It's been a while since I played Harley's Revenge so I cant really remember if it was similar to Robin's reaction times. I do remember dying alot in that as well though.

And although I noticed a slight lag in Batmans reaction in City as well, it seems to be hindering me more in Origins. It might just be that Origins' hard mode is harder than City's, but it still feels incredibly cheap when you hit the button and Batman doesnt react in time to save your life, forcing you to restart the entire fight.

Mcoffey:

Tahaneira:

Mcoffey:
It's a completely solid game. I liked Arkham City, so I'm liking this one. Although it can be very frustrating when the delay from pressing counter to Batman countering gets you killed. Playing on hard can cause this to happen quite a bit.

Question: is it on par with the (fairly minor) reaction time that was in City? Or is it more like Robin's (much longer) attack animations? If you've played him, that is.

I was pleasantly surprised by the differences in the fighting styles between the various characters in City, but Robin's slow attacks definitely made him the most frustrating to play.

It's been a while since I played Harley's Revenge so I cant really remember if it was similar to Robin's reaction times. I do remember dying alot in that as well though.

And although I noticed a slight lag in Batmans reaction in City as well, it seems to be hindering me more in Origins. It might just be that Origins' hard mode is harder than City's, but it still feels incredibly cheap when you hit the button and Batman doesnt react in time to save your life, forcing you to restart the entire fight.

A few people have mentioned online that he reacts slower, but I haven't found that to be the case. Some of his moves themselves take a little longer, but that could be because he's only been at the job of Batman for two years? So he's not quite the Dark Knight we're all used to yet. May be a narrative thing. But I honestly haven't had any problems with the game, am playing on PS3.

I re-played Arkham City before starting on Origins, and I really think that was a mistake. The devs tried to do some good here, but it seems like every step forward requires three steps back. Some of the controls are tighter, but the timing of the combat has changed significantly.

The Ground Takedown is never really safe to use outside of Free Flow Focus, not that it ever was. In Asylum, that move put you in slow motion, but nobody else. They removed some of the delay in City, but in Origins, it feels like most moves have a delay that gets you hammered outside of Focus. They also screwed with the way Ground Takedown is aimed. In AC I was able to knock a guy down, jump to him and do the takedown, then get back into range with enemies. In Origin, I tilt the stick toward the guy I want to take out, and I still jump the opposite way to the guy I just knocked down that is standing next to the guy with the baseball bat who is about to take a swing.

I find I'm using the Beatdown attack more than just about anything else. It lets me focus on one guy, usually the jerk with the knife, and funnels everyone else into pretty much a straight line. Beatdown, counter, keep beating, counter, keep beating, finish, take out enemy with charged attack, repeat. Combat in the first two games was a lot more fun, because I kept experimenting to find ways to make it look like an elegantly choreographed fight scene, and when AA and AC were on, you came out of a big battle feeling like a total badass. In Origins, any time I don't play it safe, I get caught up and juggled between a bunch of cheap hits. The countering is a lot less responsive. Not on hard mode yet, but I don't think it makes a difference. Most of the time, my successful counters happen when I'm already on the button before the icon shows up. If I wait for the game to tell me I should counter, I usually end up taking the hit.

I get that it is possible that Batman is supposed to feel different being at an earlier stage in his career, but most (all) the animations for the attacks are the same, they just have a different timing. I would rather have seen different moves, showing off a younger, more kinetic, brutal approach. They treat the character this way in cutscenes, why not do it with gameplay?

The new seeking grappling hook shots feel like the wall split from Splinter Cell. You couldn't find a promotional ad without showing it off, but in the game it wasn't ever that useful.

I also hate the way the upgrade trees are structured. In Asylum and City, I never had to invest a level up in Combat or Ballistic armor, until the end of the game when I ran out of other upgrades to unlock. I didn't need them with my playstyle. Here, I had to waste six or so levels just getting armored up before I could get into the upgrades I'm used to playing the game with.

The first few lines Batman spoke made me literally say "The Conroy impression is pretty spot on," then it devolved into Bale-Voice most of the time.

I do like the Nolan-esque approach to Batman's armor here. He's new at it, so he is decked out like a tank (which could be why they screwed with all the reaction times). I like the idea that he streamlined and went more mobility oriented by the point of Asylum and City in the chronology.

The main fault with the way the game handles for me just clicked. I remember one of my martial arts instructors explaining the difference between the way young men and older men fight. The problem here is that the older Arkham games featured a more acrobatic feeling Batman who fights like a younger man. In origin's we have a slower character who tends to deal with things like an older fighter.

Overall, it feels like an old-school style expansion to Arkham City instead of a new game. Origins is to City as Mysteries of the Sith was to Jedi Knight.

Old Gotham also feels entirely too empty. This would work in a No Man's Land type story, but here it just feels strange. I'd have liked to hear news broadcasts about traffic jams and other issues caused by a mass exodus from the area of Gotham the game takes place in. All they needed was something about a public announcement of the contract on Batman, and give the public x hours to evacuate the region. Then we could have had some "rescue a school bus full of kids" and "disable to bomb on the cable car/ferry/train tracks" segments that would have made it feel a little more populated, and give Batman someone other than cops and criminals to rescue from each other.

EDIT - The Deadshot room is absolute bullshit. Went slow and careful the first time, eliminated everyone quietly and went to get the drop on Deadshot. He gets back up after the combo. In keeping with my way of dealing with this game's annoying bullshit, I would stunlock him with the cape and then beatdown, ending early for another stunlock, until I depleated most of his healthbar, at which point he automatically gets away, and the room refills with henchmen. Pissed off now, I do the loud/flash takedowns. I hang everyone I can up with the hook shot and turn off everyone else's guns on my way to Deadshot. Standing on a railing above, I use a remote batarang to hit him FROM BEHIND to distract him so I can drop down and finish him off, and he "sees" me. Have to start all the way over. Done variations of this about twenty times now. I have the choreography memorized. Hookshot between gargoyles, drop down silent takedown, grate takedown, grate takedown, grate takedown, silent takedown, silent takedown. Cape stun + beatdown. Respawn. Hang everybody up, this time sneak carefully up behind Deadshot. The game gives me the takedown prompt, I press it. Batman strikes the "I am countering in this direction even though nobody is attacking" animation, and Deadshot kills the hostage. Complete bullshit.

EDIT AGAIN - When I do finally clear the room properly and take him down, the game freezes.

While I definitely quite like this game, I have to say, it's a buggy mess on the PC. No idea what it's like on the consoles, but I've encountered some major bugs so far.

The top 3 most debilitating/annoying are:

1) Can't climb into a vent in one of the Comm Towers to unlock the region.
2) During the Mad Hatter's level/thing, you have to ride a tea saucer across a river by pulling yourself across with the batclaw. It spawns incorrectly and, unless you get absurdly lucky, gets stuck at the spawn point. Worse, you can't get out of the level after you get in, and this is about halfway through. If I didn't get lucky on the spawn (after 15-20 tries) I wouldn't have been able to complete the game, so that was kinda bullshit.
3) Fast Travel will randomly deactivate and be unavailable until I restart the game for no apparent reason.

I do rather enjoy the game, and I'm more or less happy with the purchase, but the bugs are driving me crazy.

Well i have just completed it, have to say its not as good as Arkham City, i'd say its on par with AA. What Arkham Asylum doesn't do, this game does, and what AO doesn't do, AA does, they pretty much do the opposite, but stay on the same level, if that makes sense.

Also guys, listen to the credits, it pretty much bridges the gap to Arkham Asylum.

This game has crashed on me and corrupted my saves too many times. I've lost over 20 hours of gameplay from starting over and powering through to get back to where I was, and maybe a bit further, and the save corrupted again. I've never managed to load the game after turning it off once.

So I'm pretty much over this broken product. The game is good but it's not better than Asylum or City and is definitely not worth the headache I've gone through while fighting these bugs. It's unacceptable that a game in such a high-profile series as this was released in such a sorry state.

I think I am one of the very few that finds this game to be superior to Arkham Asylum, but slightly weaker than Arkham City in the gameplay department. However, I find the story (so far, just beat copperhead) to be better than AC.

Also the Multiplayer, while stupid in its trophies, is rather fun. Now if only the MP wasn't damn near dead on PS3.

Great game, just needs a lot of polish. Kinda reminds me of the Elder Scrolls series and Bethesda in general. Lots and lots O' bugs!

this is actually one of the higher reviews score wise I've seen.

Probably pick it up for the Christmas break. Might get it cheaper, patched and it seems appropriate...

I pretty much agree with this review...apart from the Voice Acting. Complaining about Penguins voice? Nolan North Voiced him, who also voiced him in Arkham City. I admit however, Tracey got on my nerves! I admit voice acting isn't as strong, but considering most of the actors are back who played characters in the other 2 games (Alfred, Penguin and i believe Banes voice actor from AA, could be wrong however, sounds pretty much the same.) it still feels like an Arkham game :P

I just want to pitch in here and say that this review is spot-on.

Coming in, I steeled myself that at worst, it was going to be an expansion of City, and I'd be fine with that. Well...it is. Almost all of it - mechanically, but also in terms of architecture - is directly taken from the amazing base that was Arkham City, with a tiny bit added here, and a couple of little things done worse. They're obviously not as good as Rocksteady and it doesn't have that sheen of amazingness, like the perfect pacing, but they didn't mess with what works. And they made boss battles that are (at least so far) way better than Arkham Asylum's.

Interestingly, you know that pretentious wanker phrase, "ludonarrative dissonance"? Well, this game has one of the best counter-examples I've seen. In a cutscene, Batman gets shot, several times. ...And then he's fine, because he's wearing armour, and you get shot all the time.

arc1991:
I pretty much agree with this review...apart from the Voice Acting. Complaining about Penguins voice? Nolan North Voiced him, who also voiced him in Arkham City. I admit however, Tracey got on my nerves! I admit voice acting isn't as strong, but considering most of the actors are back who played characters in the other 2 games (Alfred, Penguin and i believe Banes voice actor from AA, could be wrong however, sounds pretty much the same.) it still feels like an Arkham game :P

Gotta step in here and say that I think Mr. North's voice acting was great, it was Penguin's writing that I think was horrible. He and his assistant both. Neither of them is like some feverish nightmare based entirely on american media based on british people in AC. The dialogue they gave North in AO is just atrocious. He does great with it, but the words coming out of his mouth are so fantastically shit.

You'll all note that I did not address the multiplayer in this review. I think it is shit and bad. I would rather not dignify its existence.

This is exactly the type of review I can agree with: I think that AO misses what AC was able to accomplish (and AA before it) but does well as a near copy of a game that's well loved. There are many things that aren't right with Origins, most disappointingly the tweaks in the fighting mechanics and the strange XP system they now have, but as a copy-paste sort-of game that is normally reserved for sequels, this prequel did rather well.

I do really miss the little things that City had in it. Doing some of the Riddler's challenges from City and I had to scan in a security pass of a security guard I vaguely remember from the comics. I've now learned that there's no point in taking in the scenery in Origins because you just don't get those little bits of trivia anymore.

Well, I'll wait for a major patch/fan patch/GOTY edition.

Thanks for the warning!

I'm enjoying the bits I play, but I haven't played a ton of it because I switch off with my roommate whenever it crashes since the XBox has to be restarted anyways. We switch off roughly every hour or two. (360 version)

The combat does feel off a bit, but I'm not sure how much is the game and how much is being out of practice.

So basically it's Batman's Creed 3. Ouch, that strikes it off my list. While more Batman is tempting, if it's just the same game I don't feel the need to spend $60 more bucks for it.

Just as I expected - a good game, but not as good as the Rocksteady ones. I can live with that.

Phrozenflame500:
So basically it's Batman's Creed 3. Ouch, that strikes it off my list. While more Batman is tempting, if it's just the same game I don't feel the need to spend $60 more bucks for it.

Wait till around Christmas if you're in America. Usually after Thanksgiving Batman games are like 50% off at major retailers.

So far this game isn't anywhere near as engaging as AC. Doesn't help that a large part of the map is just Arkham City which makes sense but still comes off as more of the same.

Glitch wise I've only encountered one glitch that was potentially game breaking but worked itself out. Still the camera doesn't quite keep up with the more hectic fight sequences and I felt that I was getting hit with cheap shots since I couldn't see what was going on. This is especially true for a boss fight were the area is crowded with enemies and the camera can't decide who to focus on you, the goons, or the boss charging around the arena.

Also the countering system is a little slow to the point where you have to actually focus more on the enemy movements as opposed to the blue lightening bolts.

Sadly I was hoping the game was going to be better, but once I heard Rocksteady was no longer involved this is what I was expecting.

I have one important question;

Does this game have The Riddler in it?

the game's perfectly proficient, but unfortunately the console-itis is showing it's head there are some pretty big sound bugs where the sound is cutting out entirely or voice-overs are gone, I've also experienced a strange flickering which I think is a lighting bug, or possibly something to do with a missing physx element ( currently running an amd card, so that's all disabled ) and some of the cut-scene intro animations are quick or have sloppy camera work, but no crashes or complete game-stoppers yet, although the audio bug is really big enough..

Lieju:
I have one important question;

Does this game have The Riddler in it?

yes, it most certainly does! :)

No mention of the multiplayer? I recommend you to have a look at it. It has a few problems (like needing a full set of 8 players to actually work), but it is a very enjoyable asymmetric mode. An asymmetric modes are few and far between :(.

Well, that's a shame. I was a pretty big fan of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. I was hoping that this would be just as good, but I didn't expect it to be considering a lack of Rocksteady, but... still, if the rumors are true, Rocksteady'll have us another Arkham game before long.

I quite like it. From what I've played so far it isn't quite as 'rich' as Arkham City, but it does what it sets out to do well enough. The graphics are brilliant and it runs better than City ever did. It's more Batman, and that's all I really wanted.

Why is everyone saying it's better than AA but not as good as AC? That doesn't even make sense. AA was quite a bit better than AC, and I thought that was the common opinion.

The reviews on Escapist become seemingly more flawed and uncritical.

Remember the MASS EFFECT 3 REVIEW!

I agree with the review, although I'd rather say it's not perfect but it's good enough. Taking the flaws into account, it's still a very enjoyable game.

The thing that annoys me the most is the shortcomings of the city design. While AC had a very open design, AO seems to have a ceiling hanging relatively low over the city. A lot of rooftops and towers simply can't be reached. In AC not all rooftops had suitable surfaces for walking on, but in most cases the player could bump into them giving some consistency to the game world. In AO a lot of freedom is taken away in the lateral direction.
I also agree that the visual design of the city isn't as interesting as in AC.

The boss fights I have played so far seems more fluid and a lot more enjoyable than the sometimes contrieved mechanics used in AC.

There are also a lot of glitches unfortunately, ranging from the gamebreaking to the merely annoying. The PC port has some UI annoyances, it would be nice if they had made the menus completely mousedriven.

The writing, on the other hand, does not stand up to the standard set in earlier games. Though it doesn't completely fail, there are some notably bad bits. The Penguin and his assistant are both the most ridiculous parodies I've ever heard of how a British person actually speaks , cracking British slang every third word.

Whereas the Penguin's portrayal in Arkham City was, uhhh... exactly the same.

Why is everyone hating on The Penguins voice now? It literally hasn't changed and Tracey isn't in the game long enough to warrant any ill will from me. Overall, I think the story is stronger than City and Asylum. I only have a few complaints about it.

Combat I'm more harsh on. It seems they tweaked things that absolutely didn't need to be tweaked. Enemies are much more aggressive, and while this should be a good thing, it clashes with another change they've made. In Asylum and City, when Batman's finishing a strong strike, time slows down slightly, ending with a satisfying crunch. In Origins however, Batman slows down while the enemies don't, so you can't counter their attacks. This is very frustrating.

Another change I don't like is that there are special enemies everywhere! I get that it's supposed to increase the difficulty, but man those shield bastards keep stopping my combo. Same goes for armoured enemies, who aren't as noticeable as they were in City. Martial artists and heavy thugs are a welcome addition, because they keep you on your toes and don't force you to spam cape stun just to hit them[1].

Predator gameplay has barely changed, but I'm okay with that. Don't try to fix what isn't broken.

[1] okay, Armoured Heavies do, but they're few and far between

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