What’s Killing My Social Life This Week – Batman: Arkham Origins


Hey now, Evil Geeks!  Who feels like talking video games?  You know your friendly neighborhood C-Mart certainly is!  If there’s one thing I love talking about just as much as if not more than video games, that would be Batman; so when those worlds collide, there’s definitely going to be some conversing and some reviewing to be done.  This week we’re cracking open Batman: Arkham Origins by WB Games, who’ve taken over the reins from Rocksteady.  You may have read Arthur Harkness’ earlier suggestion for this game, but today I’m cutting through the fanboy and giving you the critical review that Gotham deserves.  Tell your mom to get your cowl out of the dryer and make sure you’re homemade batarangs are shiny and spotless, it’s time to clean up the streets of Gotham with nothing more than good, old-fashioned, all American, violence…and of course a billion dollar fortune!

First things first, the only way to properly review this game is to talk about everything that it is not; and that is mainly its older brother, Arkham City.  Arkham City was a game years in the making, resulting what can arguably be called one of the best games EVER made.  I’m not just saying that as a Batfan, but as a three decade player and lover of video games.  It was the TOTAL Batman experience; getting you as close as you can possibly get to being the Dark Knight, without having your parents get shot in a dirty, darkened alley. Arkham City was such an incredibly detailed, stunningly gorgeous masterpiece, that it would be nearly impossible to top and quite frankly Arkham Origins isn’t going to be the game to even try to take on that challenge.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad game. Quite the opposite, it plays great and it looks great too, but when you start to take a closer look at the game, the seams start to show, tipping you off to the fact that this was a rushed attempt to cash in on the platform perfected by Arkham City. The graphics aren’t quite as fluid as in the last game.  It’s still a good looking game, but it just doesn’t seem up to the level of its predecessor.  There isn’t much innovation from the previous game either.  The controls and the weapon sets are nearly identical to that of Arkham City.   Adding to the woes of the title is the fact that it seems to be a little glitchy.  I’ve encountered numerous game freezes, especially if I opt to use the fast travel option.  I really wish they’d let you skip the cinematic sequence they show when you chose that option because that’s what seems to be crashing my Xbox. This may be a little bit too nitpicky, but I was really bugged by the fact that Kevin Conroy doesn’t voice Batman this time out.  The no Mark Hamill as the Joker thing is upsetting enough, but when you drop Conroy from the equation, I’m bound to get a little skeptical.  If you’re looking for a gaming experience that builds upon and surpasses the classic that was Arkham City, you’re going to be waiting a little while longer.

GNow that the negative stuff is out of the way, I can tell you that even though it doesn’t live up to its jerk of an older brother, the game is still actually really good and if you’re a Batman obsessed geek, then you’re definitely in for a treat.  The story revolves around a younger Batman, just getting started in his career.  Long before he battled the Joker in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Bruce had to live through a hellish night, which finds a cadre of the worlds deadliest assassins, all vying for the price that’s been placed on his head by the villainous Black Mask.  The names on the list of assassins include Firefly, Bane, Deadshot, and even the most badass assassin on the planet: Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke!

Batman’s battle with Deathstroke comes pretty early into the game, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t massively epic.  Slade certainly isn’t going down like a punk and it took me a good while to finally beat him.  Luckily, I pre-ordered the game from Best Buy and got the DLC which allows you to play as Deathstroke in the Challenge Missions, which is BEYOND awesome.  Hands down my favorite challenge mission is the “1 vs 100” challenge, in which you of course you try to beat your way through 100 challengers.  I think I’ve tried it as Batman once, and have played it as Deathstroke every single time since.  Something about having only one eye, makes me feel that much deadlier.

I do enjoy the RPG feel of the upgrade system.  You earn upgrade points as you build experience points, so you can play straight through the story missions and just make it by, but if you take your time, prowling the streets of Gotham, punching evil in its turkey neck (as Kevin Smith would say), you can build yourself a mean mother f#$%er of a Batman, with all kinds of tricks up his sleeve.  Another thing I like is the Most Wanted side missions, that has you chasing down some of the various members of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery.  The Riddler is back, but this time instead of solving traps, you’re just chasing down hidden data packets and knocking down his broadcast network.  I really miss needing to use my brain to figure out the Riddler’s crazy booby traps, He gets done a disservice here by reducing his challenges to a mere fetch quest.

After this so-so review, I'm pretty sure this is this sight I'll be waking up to at about 3:30 in the morning.

After this so-so review of the game, I’m pretty sure this is this sight I’ll be waking up to at about 3:30 in the morning.

Arkham Origins is definitely not perfect.  It’s a solid game that has some flaws which are magnified because it has the misfortune of coming out after a nearly perfect game.  If this game came out in between Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, I’d probably be giving it a much better review, but right now it feels like a small step down from the previous title.  Let’s not be ungrateful assholes about it though, it’s still a REALLY good game featuring one of my favorite heroes,  with a treasure trove of challenge maps waiting to be unlocked, this one is sure to be keeping me busy for a while and may even have the honor of being the last game I play/review for the 360, as I’ll be making the upgrade soon to the Xbox One.  I really can’t say it enough that I love this game, it’s just that it’s the SECOND best Batman game ever made.  Warts and all, I’m giving this one a thumbs up.  Thanks for reading and be sure to stop back again to see What’s Killing My Social Life This Week.

Find out what ELSE has been killing my social life…aside from my grating personality that is.

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About C-Mart

A true Marvel Zombie, die-hard George Romero fan, Star Wars addict, Whovian, and life-long gamer. I make with the Tweets @CMart0979

Posted on November 1, 2013, in Features, Geekology, Reviews, Video Games, What's Killing My Social Life This Week and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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