Origins: A not-so-fresh beginning for the dark knight

Steve Perotti, TSV Staff Writer

Although the formula from previous games is followed very closely, “Batman: Arkham Origins” sadly does not live up to its predecessors successes.

The spiritual successor to the Arkham series following the launches of 2009’s “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and 2011’s “Arkham City,” the game is set five years before “Asylum” as Bruce Wayne has just begun his war against crime in Gotham City. Without getting into the meat of the game, the first issue comes from the title: “Origins” has nothing to do with the actual Arkham Asylum!!!

The first two games of the series, “Asylum” and “City,” were based inside of the games respected institutions for the criminally insane. There is no “Arkham” in this game. Not once in all the hours I spent working towards beating the game did I ever hear any character mention an asylum of any sort, let alone Arkham Asylum.

Moving on to the game itself, to say that there were issues would be an understatement; an understatement of epic proportions.

I spent the better part of a week playing the game, clocking in between 15 and 20 hours of gameplay, and it crashed on me a total of six times. The gameplay also slowed drastically when dealing with dense numbers of enemies during the massive free-flowing battles that the series is known for. This is possibly due to the change in developer from Rocksteady, who had worked on the previous award winning games, to Warner Bros. Games Montreal. Why this change was made makes absolutely no sense to me, but the fact that the overall performance of the game suffers under the development of a new company is a bit too coincidental.

The overall story of the game is well written, with numerous characters from the comics extensive “rogues gallery,” the extensive list of villains that Batman has amassed in the long run of the comic series. With the return of series mainstays such as Bane and The Joker, we also get to see some new faces with the inclusion of Deathstroke and Firefly, two more of the eight assassins who have been hired to kill the caped crusader throughout the game’s Christmas Eve setting.

One of the pleasant surprises in the game was the primary voice actors. In the previous two games, as well as in the “Batman Animated Series” that ran through the majority of the 90’s, the characters of Batman and The Joker were voiced by veteran actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. Roger Craig Smith replaced Kevin Conroy as a younger Batman while Troy Baker took the reins from Mark Hamill to voice the younger Joker in the game with great success.

Though the overall gameplay is lacking when compared to its predecessors, the game itself is not without positives. With that being said, I don’t believe the game to be worth the $59.99 retail price. Wait until the price drops a bit more and it will be worth it.