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Review

Batman: Arkham Origins Review

  • Game release: October 25, 2013
  • Reviewed: October 25, 2013
  • X360
  • PS3

Holy predictability, Batman!

by

Batman has a long history of escaping from some of the deadliest, most elaborate traps a brilliant criminal mind can devise. In his bat-utility belt is a gadget to get him out of nearly any predicament. But in Batman: Arkham Origins, there's one trap Batman can't escape from: the trap of expectations. By now, there are two things that define action in the Arkham series: rhythmic, free-flow combat and stealthy predator rooms. Arkham Origins has those elements in spades. But it doles them out in a straightforward, predictable fashion that lacks the inspiration of the earlier Arkham games.

The most noteworthy difference between Arkham Origins and its predecessors is a significantly larger open world. But that larger world has little meaning when the things you're doing in it are the same things the smaller world of the previous game accommodated perfectly well. Grappling up to rooftops and gliding through the air still feel great, but they don't feel any better here just because you have more rooftops to leap from. And there are side quests that have you doing things like racing to and fro to disarm bombs set by Anarky, which is much like racing to answer Zsasz's ringing phones in Arkham City.

Are you a bat enough dude to counter all of Deathstroke's attacks?

The city is bigger just for the sake of being bigger, and while these side quests make interesting use of characters--Anarky's willingness to go to any length to liberate the downtrodden from the oppression of the rich and powerful makes him a fascinating figure, for instance, and the game gives him his due--the things you're doing are exactly the same as the things the previous game had you doing in its open world. Even the crimes in progress, events you can choose to respond to or ignore that come up on the police radio, aren't a chance to protect hapless citizens of Gotham from criminal elements, but just to fight more groups of thugs, something you do plenty of anyway.

Free-flow combat is unchanged from earlier Arkham games, aside from the fact that there are a few new enemy types in the mix, most notably a martial artist who has an attack you need to counter twice rather than once. The animations are still excellent, and getting into a rhythm where you're dishing out punishment while perfectly countering every enemy attack still feels good, but it also feels exactly the same as ever. At a certain point in the game, you acquire shock gloves that make your punches more powerful, but this doesn't prevent punching dudes in the face from feeling routine.

Predator rooms are also what you'd expect them to be, no less and no more. Of course it's still satisfying to sneak up on a goon and take him down silently, or to be perched on a gargoyle, waiting for a clueless criminal to walk right under you so you can do an inverted takedown. But it's also starting to feel rote. By this point, the mechanics governing these systems have become apparent, the process of sneaking up on enemies or of countering attacks overly familiar. You and Batman and the game he's in are all just going through the motions.

Batman's true passion isn't doling out justice. It's ogling gadgets.

Arkham City built on Arkham Asylum by putting the mechanics in an exciting new context. Arkham Origins lifts them from City and puts them in the same context again, complete with all the same sorts of environmental problem-solving. You still toss grenades into water to form makeshift rafts (glue grenades here, not ice grenades!) and use the batclaw to pull yourself around. You still power up fuse boxes by guiding remote-controlled batarangs through fields of electricity. The occasional encounter with something fresh and exciting could have gone a long way toward making Origins' reliance on these familiar mechanics welcoming. But because nearly everything you do is a straight, wholly unsurprising replication of something you do in the earlier Arkham games, welcome familiarity gives way to an inescapable feeling of predictability.

There is one new mechanic in Origins: a significantly overhauled case file system. As someone who has always been fascinated by the detective facet of Batman's character, I had high hopes that this would make investigating crime scenes an involving process that would test my intellect. Unfortunately, it doesn't. You scan evidence to reconstruct the events of a crime and have to scrub back and forth through the reconstruction to track down more evidence to scan. There's some CSI: Gotham City entertainment value in watching the pieces of the reconstructed crime come together, but your role in the process is minimal.

In the absence of new elements, the tried-and-true free-flow combat and predator mechanics feel routine rather than inspired.

The one area in which Batman: Arkham Origins delivers occasional flashes of inspiration is in its story, which establishes where Batman's adversarial relationships with the criminals who loom large in the Arkham games began, and how he forged an uneasy alliance with James Gordon, a good cop in a police force plagued by corruption. It dabbles in questions about whether Batman's presence only ends up fueling the fires of criminal activity in Gotham, and in its best and most genuinely surprising moments, explores how Batman and the Joker are two sides of the same coin. As Batman, new voice actor Roger Craig Smith is a bit flat, but as the Joker, Troy Baker fills Mark Hamill's clown shoes admirably.

Batman's eventful Christmas Eve begins, however, with a less outlandish criminal. The organized crime lord Black Mask, tired of the pressure Batman has been putting on his operations for the past few years, puts a bounty on Batman's head, calling eight world-class assassins to Gotham, including the muscle-bound Bane, the poisonous Copperhead, and the efficient Deathstroke. Boss fights with these and other characters have an elevated sense of drama because of the personalities involved, but mechanically, they aren't much different from fights with other enemies. Defeating Deathstroke requires good countering. Against Bane, you use stuns and beatdowns. And so on.

The world of Arkham Origins is bigger, but in this case, that doesn't translate to better.

Batman: Arkham Origins also includes a competitive multiplayer mode in which eight players are split into three teams: Bane's thugs, Joker's henchmen, and the dynamic duo. The Bane and Joker teams aim to eliminate each other, while Batman and Robin strive to take out enough criminals from either side to disrupt their operations. This unusual structure has potential; as a criminal, the need to be vigilant against heroes swooping out of the shadows while also trying to pick off opposing criminals should keep you on edge. But in practice, it all feels sloppy. Weapon accuracy is all over the place, and being able to sprint only a very short distance makes criminals feel weak and inept. Meanwhile, as the heroes, combat lacks the rhythm and impact that makes it empowering in single-player, and you go down so quickly to enemy attacks that you feel more like a Gotham City impostor than a real hero.

Batman: Arkham Origins is a deeply predictable game. It gives you exactly what you'd expect in another Arkham game, without doing anything to push the series forward. In the absence of new elements, the tried-and-true free-flow combat and predator mechanics feel routine rather than inspired. Origins is worth experiencing for the way it sets the stage for the events of the other Arkham games, but it also resides squarely in their shadows.

The Good
Movement, free-flow combat, and stealth mechanics are as solid as ever
Story has some great moments and makes good use of characters
The Bad
No surprises or innovations to liven up the gameplay
Characters in multiplayer feel frustratingly weak
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Carolyn's favorite Batman book is Year One. Her favorite Batman actor is Michael Keaton. Her favorite Batman games are Batman: Arkham City and Batman for the NES.

Discussion

3829 comments
Sniggih
Sniggih

I agree that its very similar to Arkham City but I still enjoyed it.

heatherlewis
heatherlewis

This is a great game - If you liked Arkham City, you'll enjoy this too.  If Origins had come before City, Origins likely would've gotten the stellar 9+ scores, and City would've been trashed even more than this.


There's more to do in Origins, but you just have to figure out whether sameness (~50%) is a drawback.

crazyj_007123
crazyj_007123

this was the first arkham game i didn't finish.  it would have been a great game if i had not played the first two.  so it was ok but did not live up to what i expected

Oloryn
Oloryn

Actually a fair review, though having just finished the game (the new Arkham Knight trailer inspired me!), I might skew the score up to at least a 7, if only because the game was so underhyped for me by now. Great story and use of characters, great Batman inspired Christmas soundtrack, fun (though predictable) combat, and an overall enjoyable Batman experience marred by a handful of bugs, glitches, and cheap boss tricks that sometimes made me shake my head. 

neverhesitate1
neverhesitate1

This game was garbage. I figured I was about halfway through when the credits started rolling, and didn`t even realize the last fight in the game was the final battle. I was truly stunned when I saw the credits start. I thought it was a joke

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

So it seems like it is just on par with the past games then and was dinged for having nothing new?

DoomglooM
DoomglooM

how stupid that everyone comments on this game...and the superb older games have maybe 1 or 3 comments if any

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

I've leared to take Gamespot's reviews with a grain of salt. Much like movie critics, I think game reviewers often get jaded and expect too much from their games. Or they get too biased in their favorite franchises. However, going by the written review as opposed to the lower score, you can get a better idea of how good the game really is. Carolyn in particular, always seems to score a game a point or two lower than her review gives it credit for. Having played this, her complaints are quite valid, but it's still a very solid, fun game. Even if it is more of the same. It's probably more accurate to say this game's a 7 if you're not expecting leaps and bounds from it's predecessor. If you're expecting a completely new game with all new mechanics, 6 seems fair. I'm just not sure where people were expecting WB to go with this game. All the previews and info given ahead of time pretty much promised exactly the game they delivered.

mokalid
mokalid

if the game was good why didn't they give it at least 7, we know the multiplayer sucks, but  the singel player story and gameplay is good then 7 is fair rate.

kenundrum7
kenundrum7

I bought this on sale, because it didn't seem different from the last. It is not different. I kind of forgot about it without completing it. I probably will, some day. But it really is kind of meh.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

"Characters in multiplayer feel frustratingly weak"

What does it even mean?

abhirajgoldy
abhirajgoldy

i'am enjoying the hell of this game,its great,if you loved,Asylum & city than Origins will not disappoint you for sure

elbauto
elbauto

I've finished the game yesterday and i don't even know what Carolyn is talking about. What are you expecting to change? the combat system? the way of  going around the map? They changed gadgets, fighting animations, extended the map and the detective mode  and made up the best story of the trilogy (I think) by getting deeper on the characters, most of all the joker.

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

I've played through this game 4 full times now and completed everything possible in it. While I was initially skeptical of this review grade, and the game is unquestionably a LOT of fun, it's also VERY flawed: the controls aren't as tight or responsive as they were in past games, the AI is lazy / lousy and the game in general has more bugs and glitches in it than should have been allowed upon release. Plus it has an MP offering no one wanted or asked for. I'd say, from my experience, this game is about a 6.5 or 7 at the absolute highest. Too bad, too, because the previous two were nothing short of excellent.

masterfortesque
masterfortesque

The new UI might be thrash, but the amount of arrogance, entitlement and aggression is what truly pushes me away. "Wow you giving this game a 7 you idiot this is clearly a 9" and yet the next people say 5, 8, 3, 8, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9, 7...


The commenters give a higher grade? What a surprise people are bothering to grade the games and brands they like. I came here but I don't even bother visiting the review page of something I find terrible like Diablo 3.

TsoBadGuy
TsoBadGuy

 I can see why Gamespot made a show solely devoted to showing how ridiculous people sound while critiquing the critics. 6 is an utterly fair grade for this game, and if more CODs and Sport games got lower scores for copy pasting then maybe we'd get more games that were genuinely innovative.  


The DLC for AC4 got a 6 as well, the players gave it an 8.8. Professional reviewers have higher standards than average Joe's, and I see a whole lot of Joe's that simply don't know their place.

TsoBadGuy
TsoBadGuy

I can see why Gamespot made a show solely devoted to showing how ridiculous people sound while critiquing the critics. 6 is an utterly fair grade for this game, and if more CODs and Sport games got lower scores for copy pasting then maybe we'd get more things genuinely innovative.  


The DLC for AC4 got a 6 as well, the players gave it an 8.8. Professional reviewers have higher standards than average Joe's, and I see a whole lot of Joe's that simply don't know their place.

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

Well, apart from Gamespot's horrible new site layout/design, it seems their reviewers have lost all standards for rating a game. I mean what happened?, did WB Games not give you better perks for being a game rating website or didn't let you check developer version of the game?. I can't understand how come Gamespot rated it so low. 


The game has fantastic gameplay, fantastic atmosphere and a fantastic story. Yes it doesn't break new grounds in introducing new things, but it's not like there's something wrong with the current one. Seriously the only reviewer i trust on this website is Kevin VanOrd, all others don't know how to rate games. I mean just look at the Player Reviews of the game, it's 8! And the critics? Oh just a 'fair' game.


Unbelievable.

MrMilkmann
MrMilkmann

I think we can all agree on one thing, Carolyn sucks.

shindark
shindark

I will never understand the parameters you use to value a game. I'm totally agree in saying that Arkham Origins is the carbon copy of Arkham City. However the game still provides a game experience at the top of the category. Every year you regularly reward games like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed with high votes though those franchise are endless repetitions of the same. Preposterous, then, the 7,5 given to that chunk of shit know as Gears of War Judgment. Not flaming out... just thinking loud.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

When someone says "more of the same", I'd say that's common in a lot genres (shooters, sports games, etc.)


But if you want innovation, why not pitch some ideas. More vehicle combat, Batman in space, Batman fights aliens, etc.

cainetao11
cainetao11

My problem with the review is if its dinged because its more of the same, which even at E3 some said, why is COD always rated so high? Or any shooter for that matter?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

After patching the bugs are minimal if even noticeable in the campaign. The only complaint I can think of about this games is that the city doesn't have that fleshed out feel like arkham city. The city is larger, but only populated by cops and criminals. However I suppose if they added citizens they'd make it so you can beat them up, and that's not very batman like. The story is great, and despite changing some of my favorite voice actors they did a great job of it. I can't speak for the multiplayer, I've never tried it and probably never will. This game deserved much better than a score of 6, if you liked the previous arkham games, you will enjoy this.

happy316
happy316

I mean they added a whole new story with a lot of new chars a lot of new area designs. I feel like a lot of reviewers are holding this game to different standards. What exactly should they do with the combat it's the best free flow system out there and doesn't need changed. Games like cod mw and bo sides. Halos, gears haven't changed anything heck a couple halos took steps backwards in abilities and story and multi player yet never had to deal with them receiving low scores even if they deserved them. I am playing origins now and it's a blast and yeah its mechanics are the same but as a whole great mechanics are great mechanics.

thecman25
thecman25

thus game just has to be a 8 or 9, 6 is just to freaking low this game was amazing great use of characters great gameplay more open free roam, just so freaking amazing

07wintert
07wintert

i would give it an 8 but there was bugs and issues but it was far more stable then arkham city. i don't think it was better then its predecessors as there was alot copied from arkham city and that was just better overall i felt. one think i really am getting tired of and many will agree the riddler needs a main part in the stories and these collectibles have to end its boring and the outcome is not worth it. it is literally a waste of time that im glad i was not part of this time.


they have to make sequel because there is still character development and characters that are not yet seen. really they need to be moving towards a full Gotham map.        

petersebastian
petersebastian

I really can't force myself to agree on a 6. It's a great game, beautifully made, with a huge world and much attention paid to details. I loved the exploitation of Batman's and Joker's relation, too. Clearly the reviewer didn't spent a lot of time truly playing the game; otherwise, I'm sure a higher score would be given.

kenundrum7
kenundrum7

I agree with thorn3000 about this game. As well as Carolyn. It is good like the last one, but the same.

I suspected as much, and so didn't buy it till it was on sale on Steam for 25 bucks. And my suspicions were confirmed.

thorn3000
thorn3000

I gave Origins a 7 (previous two titles both an 8), just because it is still a good game AAA game, takes up lot of time plus it's fun...however, truth be told, it is starting to become a chore...Asylum was a hit, something new...City added free-roam environments which was huge new thing...what did Origins add? nothing special...those few new gadgets, the bigger city, etc. that is all just improvements, not something new...it's like adding dogs / wolves to COD, it adds something but it is nothing breakthrough...this game is still cool...but unless they think of something new for the next installment and just rehash the old formula it will be steeper roll downhill...think Assassins Creed 3, this is exactly like that, AC1 was something new, AC2 was a huge improvement in storytelling, characters, environments, everything, what did AC3 add? not much...luckily that series got reinvented in AC4 to a decent degree...hopefully the same will follow in the next Batman...but for this game? it lands it the big pile of third sequels which did not live up to the first / second game at the time they were released (notice second installments of a lot of games are best parts, why? first games are something unpolished, unfinished, not yet refined, third games are more or less the same as previously, very few times something new is invented at that point, it is the second installment which are usually the one which are both polished yet still something new shiny)...

swaty007
swaty007

Great videos, beatem up puzzle/challenge game, but it has lost its touch. The other two were master pieces, Origens is just standing on the sholders of giants, never mind the bugs..,(cough cough) the way chanlleges are presented just proves how little they have thought things through... in some ways its just so easy... and in others challeneges its just well: lets make batman, do 40 critical strikes, do a head stand, then an inverted take down but just after swallowing a golf ball. Oh.. and you can only do this in one type of challenge and its HAS to be in campaign... "Ahh me programmer, me make games". 

Dunno.. its got almost everything but its lacking in essence.. measing im just playing by inertial not really enjoying as much as i expected... for example, one of my favourite things that really got me INTO the game, with the past batmans arckhams, was listening to the tapes while i was playing.. i found that amazing... i never came across that many audio while playing.. here they took it off.. pitty... in this one, i have only listned to one tape... anyway dont get me wronge they have made a very good game ,, its the details they have left behind that make consider this  a good beatem up game buts thats it... but dfently more than a 6..


cheers!

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

This game was a lot better than Gone Home. The reviewer gave this a 6 and Gone Home a 9.5. They should be fired, ridiculously bad reviews.

abdulhamian
abdulhamian

after patch 1.04 (ps3) this game is ALOT better with all the bugs fixed and game play fixed, this game is awesome. yes it cpies the previous arkahm games but what did you expect? this and arkham game after all. all in all this game is def. a 8.5

didisaythat
didisaythat

I just finished the game...and I loved it. It should have got a 8.5, not a 6. Great story!

knixxx
knixxx

Finished the Game on hard. I rate this game between an 8-9 (if I could). Have not played multiplayer as it's not really my interest. For the SP portion. The Good/   Graphics - Great, Voice work - Great, Story - The best in the series. The Bad/ controls- sketchy at times, forces the player to floor take downs on a prone enemy even though you are trying to take on another enemy. Bugs- Enemy went into and out a wall on 2 or 3 occasions during battles. Fell through the sidewalk once. 

Neither of the bad items listed would warrant a "6" grade by a long shot. IF they graded on something other than whole numbers, the game would deserve at least 8.5. 

Finally, there needs to come a time where a "professional" reviewer has to have some semblance of accountability with the quality of their reviews. This goes above and beyond "fan boys" stocking the ballot box. What I consistently see with this reviewer, are scores which differ widely from the average score given by the players. If there is a constant, where the reviewer's score varies by 2 points or more (6 vs 8.1 as in this case) then there is a disconnect between the reviewer and the target audience. How else is a reviewer's ability measured by his/her superiors? If a food critic consistently gives reviews of restaurants which don't match the experiences of those who eat there, they don't last long. If a movie critic pans movies which consistently gain wide acclaim, they don't last long. What is the measuring stick of a reviewer in the gaming world?

MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

As a huge fan of Arkham Asylum (got it midnight launch), loved it's sequel. Arkham City, but this Arkham Origins, developed by WB Montreal is such a half done project, talk about recycling boss battles, and for a city like, Gotham it feels dead, and the combat feels no where as fluid as it is in the other Arkham games, and the textures fail in comparison, and the enemy A.I. feels dead. I give Arkham Origins a 4/10!

diskotheque
diskotheque

I'm finally playing through Arkham City. It's an excellent game. Arkham Asylum is probably one of my favorite games of all time as well. I'm sure I'll enjoy Arkham Origins when I finally get it. 

For anyone complaining about bugs... this is what happens when you get a game the week of its release. Wait a couple of weeks for some patches to come out. Or better yet wait even longer for a price drop and all of the patches. The good news about these games is that all of the bugs eventually get fixed, whereas some games (like SkyRim and Fallout) will always be broken.

OrdannonsX
OrdannonsX

@mokalid  If what she states in this review is true about Arkham Origins being too similiar to Arkham City, then that means WB Games didn't try hard enough. At least, in my personal opinion. Just because the former game was good, doesn't mean that the next game will be if it's more of the same.


Besides, a 6 isn't a bad score.

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

@TsoBadGuy Yeah average Joe, keep your views to yourself, let the 'Professional' reviewers handle it. 

cjmilla527
cjmilla527

@Dark_Rage @shindark  I agree with your statement 100%. It seems odd that Origins would be slammed so hard for not innovating on a sequel but CoD and BF games basically every shooter gets a free pass every year and manages to retain a 8.0 or higher. And wow I have to second and third that the new layout of this website is fucking garbage!!!! Holy shit does it suck!! I like gamespot more but lately iv been using IGN just because I can't handle this new UI of this website.

moozeditty
moozeditty

@MrMilkmann  I love her. Glad to see a professional reviewer whose number system doesn't range from 8.8-10. Plus she brings in all the dudebro tears; always a bonus.

thecman25
thecman25

@thorn3000 AC4 wasn't decent it was amazing and batman arkham origins was a big improvement to the series 

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

@Nev3rtime That's correct. Did you see where I said " the game is unquestionably a LOT of fun" ? Also, what I did not post is that I platinum everything I play and in order for me to get the plat, I had to play through the game 4 times, instead of what should have been 3, because one of my playthroughs involved a game-breaking bug / glitch. So again, this game is glitch-filled and easily the weakest entry in the Arkham games so far. Hands down.

TsoBadGuy
TsoBadGuy

@Dark_Rage @TsoBadGuy Professional in quotes huh? Like these reviewers didn't compete with hundreds upon hundreds of people with talent and passion to get their position. Yes, I am this average joe, and I smell my own very easily. The difference is in knowing how to distinguish between enthusiasm and innovation. Joe's like us tend to let enthusiasm get the better of us, while reviewers are thoroughly groomed to seek innovation. 

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

@cjmilla527 @Dark_Rage @shindark Especially CoD, that game has a life long pass of getting an above 8.0 rating from all game review websites. BF4 is a different story, that game is just plagued by a bad publisher. Lol yes the interface, i've been on Gamespot since 2003 and i always read their reviews before buying games. Now from a good while i only use IGN. They atleast gave this game a 'Good' rating.

Batman: Arkham Origins

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
  • Wii U
Batman: Arkham Origins is the latest entry in the Batman Arkham series that will see a younger Caped Crusader facing many noted villains for the first time, including Deathstroke.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Batman: Arkham Origins Wiki on Giantbomb.com