Batman Arkham Origins is a little different than the other Arkham games. It is from a new developer and features new voice actors. WB Montreal takes the helm while Roger Craig Smith voices Batman and Troy Baker voices The Joker. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill left big shoes to fill for Origins, but Smith and Baker make it look easy. They do amazing jobs. WB Montreal also manages to do a great job. Everything you have come to know and love about the series is still here. The combat system, visuals, characters, feel of Gotham, Origins has it all. But is more of a good thing a bad thing?
The story of Origins takes place before Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and revolves around Batman having to fight for survival when Black Mask puts a huge bounty on Batman’s head. Eight villains are up to the task, so you’ll get to go up against every single one, along with the many street thugs that inhabit Gotham’s desolate streets. It’s a nice change of pace from the heavy handedness of Asylum and City. That is where the main difference lies. The main villain can’t really compete with iconic Joker, so we can’t fault the writers too much. Luckily, there are several great and recognizable villains to encounter throughout the game. I enjoyed the story wholeheartedly. The gameplay is what you have come to expect. The button-mashing awesomeness of the fighting system is back, along with the crazy combo streaks. The controls are as tight as ever and bashing all the baddies is just as satisfying. The atmosphere in this game makes it stand apart from its predecessors. The snow is constantly falling, it’s Christmas Eve and there are Christmas trees and colorful lights everywhere. I just wish Gotham was more bustling. The only people around are police, thugs and Batman. It tends to feel a bit empty and dull at times.
The visuals are pretty solid, especially for being an open-world title. There are some frame rate issues when gliding around the city from time to time, but it never hinders the experience. Also, some textures tend to look muddy if viewed up close. Character models are the standouts with good attention to detail. The city may be dark, but it’s always glimmering with lights from apartment windows, Christmas lights and lamp posts. Of course, there will be plenty of gliding around Gotham and focus on the main story, but what about all the in-between moments? To go with the combat, you will come across a few great weapons such as the Triple Batarang, Smoke Pellets, Cryptographic Sequencer, Concussion Detonator, Batclaw and more. There are plenty of bad guys to test your abilities and weaponry on around the city and it’s fun to listen in on their conversations. They are usually shaking in their boots because of Batman’s presence. Another last thing to note is the upgrade system. You get ability points by accomplishing various goals and missions. There are plenty of awesome upgrades, whether it’s to one of Batman’s weapons or armor. Overall, Batman Arkham Origins is a very fun and enjoyable game. It has an interesting story, great combat system, tight controls, nice atmosphere and a solid group of villains. Yes, it may be very similar to the other games in the series, but that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s still one heck of a good time.