When it was first announced that Batman: Arkham Origins wouldn’t be under the creative influence of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City Rocksteady, many began to worry. That is to be expected from any fan-base when a creative force hands off the reigns to a property they are synonymous with, and it became clear that Warner Brothers Montreal had some impossibly big boots to fill.
Telling the story of a younger and rawer Batman, Arkham Origins takes place on a fateful Christmas Eve night in which a $50,000,000 bounty is placed on Batman’s head by the criminal known as Black Mask. This attracts the interest of eight assassins all looking to kill the Batman and collect the bounty.
It is an intriguing set up for a Batman video game and Warner Brothers has been hyping the title massively but with key creative shifts for the series, is Origins able to stand shoulder to shoulder with its predecessors?
While we are still hard at work on our Arkham Origins review, several outlets have already revealed their thoughts on the game. Here are some choice quotes from some of those reviews:
Game Informer (Andrew Reiner)
“Batman: Arkham Origins delivers more of what made Rocksteady’s games great, but doesn’t break new ground. Like a youthful Bruce Wayne, it isn’t as crafty, and it takes its dings during combat, but still puts on a hell of a show when it needs to. Once Joker steps into the spotlight, it becomes a hard game to put down.”
Official Xbox Magazine (Scott Butterworth)
The premise is dead simple, but the narrative that actually unfolds is essentially a detective drama like Chinatown or Brick. Where City grabbed us by the throat right out of the gate, Origins operates more on subtle intrigue, and slowly builds toward a white-knuckle climax with a surprising amount of psychological depth. The story’s momentum suffers if you allow yourself to be distracted by early side missions, but aside from this initial pacing issue, Origins’ unexpected narrative approach feels refreshingly different.
Rev3 (Adam Sessler)
“Arkham Origins is a very well made and sometimes great game, that relies so heavily on what came before that it manages to invoke nostalgia from when the franchise felt fresh and exciting. Incredible writing, some stand out sequences along with the satisfying core gameplay, can be engaging but can leave one constantly dreaming what can be done to enliven what can be done with one of the most interesting franchises of this generation. Rest on this laurel no more Batman.”
Gamespot (Carolyn Petit)
“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.”
Based on this small sampling of reviews, it appears Batman: Arkham Origins is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the game offers everything players would expect from another Batman game, from a compelling story to razor sharp combat. But, at the same time, the game apparently doesn’t evolve Rocksteady’s winning formula in any appreciable ways, choosing instead to simply “get by” with what worked before.
Overall, it sounds like fans of the previous Batman games will find a lot to like in Warner Bros. Montreal’s effort, even if it doesn’t exceed expectations. Make sure to stick tuned to Game Rant for our thoughts on the game.
Have the first reviews of Batman: Arkham Origins impacted your decision to buy the game? Are there any Ranters out there who are playing the game right now and want to share their thoughts?
Batman: Arkham Origins is available now on PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360.