Preview – Batman: Arkham Origins

As I’ve stated before, I was more than a little worried when Warner Brother Studios took over the developing helm of Rocksteady’s fantastic line of Batman games. Although there has been many a thing announced that make the game look promising, it wasn’t until I actually got hands on with the title before my mind was put to ease. This is every bit the Batman game you love, and here’s why!

The demo I played for Arkham Origins started on the rooftop in Gotham city, where the man himself was interrogating a thug about the location of Black Mask, the games primary antagonist. What follows briefly afterwards is a foray into the games open world mechanics, similar to Arkham City, Batman can glide and grapple his way around Gotham, finding random groups of thugs along the way to beat up. While a number of people preferred the tailored, story driven approach of Arkham Asylum, I was actually a huge fan of the freedom that Arkham City gave you so I’m glad to see it’s return in this title. The demo then moves you into a building where you get to play around in one of the series’ infamous predator areas. What struck me as odd almost instantly was that, at least in the demo, Batman seemed to be without his detective mode. One of the key features in the previous games, this ability allowed you to plan how you hunted these armed gunmen but without it you needed be a lot more careful in how you approached it. What it did add though was by far my favourite gadget in any of the Batman games so far – the remote bat claw. This thing lets you fire 2 ends of a rope, connecting 2 things together in a similar way to the grapple in Just Cause 2 for anyone who played that game. This creates a whole heap of opportunities to mess with gang members, and I had a lot of fun figuring out what I could attach to what. Whether I was stringing up guys on Gargoyles from a distance or hanging gas barrels ready to drop on some poor unsuspecting crook instead, the gun gave me a whole heap of new takedown methods to play with (try hooking 2 enemies together, I don’t think that’ll ever get old!).

As far as the visuals go, not much has changed. The new, younger Joker model looks really good (and sufficiently evil) and I cannot give the Deathstroke design high enough praise, he looks awesome. The game does seem to be set in the Arkham City engine so hasn’t really changed all that much, not necessarily a bad thing considering the scope of Arkham City, but I was hoping to see some more streamlined code this time round to allow for some sharper visuals.

All in all I’m now actually quite excited for Arkham Origins, it’s no secret amongst my friends that I am a massive fan of the first 2 games and this looks to continue the trend of great gameplay an a broad selection of villains to fight. Take a look at this one Batman fans, this is for you!

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