I found myself gliding between skyscrapers when my GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) frequency sounds off on an attempted robbery nearby. I think to myself I could spare a few minutes to drop in and see what the commotion’s about and shortly after I fly into the face of the first thug I come across find myself amidst an assortment of enemies I wasn’t entirely prepared for. Before I know it I’m vaulting over enemies, knocking weapons out of their hands, throwing a few batarangs around and a veritable tornado of keystrokes later I find myself surrounded by knocked out criminals with all forms of injuries that I’ve inflicted upon them while barely surviving myself. This is Arkham Origins at its best where it surprises you with encounters you don’t really expect to lose control of but soon end up fighting for your life with every ounce of concentration and focus you can muster, all of which is seamlessly accomplished thanks to controls and gameplay mechanics that are nothing short of polished.
Its in these moments where the actions on your controller become instinctual as opposed to thought out, when you know an enemy is about to hit you before the warning flashes and you walk away from a mob of 20 armed thugs without so much as a scratch. The game does a brilliant job of training you and honing you into its control scheme without you even realizing it. A few hours into the game and you will find yourself developing a sixth sense for all the various combinations of gadgets and martial arts at your disposal as Batman and in this sense Arkham Origins plays the role of a prequel brilliantly; since you find your own skill-set (albeit passively) growing right alongside Batman’s.
However the game fall shorts on its narrative backside as the overarching story neither excites or compels you to follow it through. Encounters and environments are very similar if not identical to everything you would’ve faced in the last two Arkham games with everything from the Riddler environmental puzzles to “Predator” mode encounters. Most of the major villains make their usual appearances with a few ‘under the radar’ ones throw in from the Batman universe to add variety to a mostly bland main course. Even boss fight mechanics which were the epitome of gameplay in the last two Arkham's now feel re-hashed and overused.
Overall Arkham Origins plays a lot like its predecessors; meaning returning fans will find the experience all too familiar. However if you are new to the franchise Arkham Origins is definitely the game to start on since all the rough edges that came with the last two games are now no where to be seen.