Batman: Arkham Origins is a decently fun time and should have been in the Return to Arkham collection.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By bigsocrates

Arkham Origins is far from a flawless game. Putting technical issues aside for a moment (though we’ll get back to them shortly) it is a lesser game than Asylum and City in almost every way. Its open world lacks Asylum’s tight design and Metroidvania feel while also lacking City’s visually distinctive and memorable locations. Its story is simple and straightforward, relying on tricks we’ve already seen and offering nothing particularly new or interesting.

The gameplay is fine but is just a rehash of prior Batman titles. The only “innovation” it brings is the shock gloves, which serve mostly to break the balance of the Batman series’ already kind of shallow combat. Why bother learning the various counters and moves when you can just charge up the gloves and hammer on attack and counter to knock everyone down? Especially disappointing is the lack of Riddler trophies, replaced by much less interesting datapacks that you just pick up in the open world, and network nodes that you hit with batarangs (though a couple require very simple puzzles to access.) Obviously constructing hundreds of puzzles requires a lot of development resources, but those puzzles made the open world much more interesting and gave you stuff to do, and scattering busy work collectibles throughout the environment is not a replacement in any way. The boss fights range from frustratingly obtuse to mediocre at best, often feeling like something you’d see at the beginning of the 7th generation rather than its end. There’s nothing even approximating the Mr. Freeze battle from City. The final battle in particular just feels hastily constructed and confusing, though also kind of easy because of how much health you have at that point.

And then there are the technical problems. The game runs very badly, at least on PS3. It looks decent for a late 7th generation game when it’s standing still but there are relatively frequent frame rate drops to what seems like the mid-teens, commands that don’t come out properly (I know I countered attacks that hit me) and all kinds of other problems including frame tearing and audio hitching. I had to go back and watch one short cut scene on Youtube because the game put the camera behind a wall for it, and that was far from my only collision detection issue. This is a game that clearly needed a lot more polish before it was ready for prime time. Even worse, there are apparently still progression blocking bugs in the game that weren’t squashed because the developers were instead focused on DLC. The fact that the game shipped with numerous progression bugs and then never even finished patching them out despite being from a major publisher with plenty of resources is just plain unacceptable. It deserved every bit of the criticism it got on launch and remains a major black eye for Warner Brothers’ games division, which often seems more focused on selling people additional content than giving gamers good value for the base game, though this is the worst offender. I am in no way excusing the buggy mess this game launched as or remains.

All that being said, while it’s a lesser game than Asylum or City, taken on its own merits as a game it’s not bad. The environments can’t match up to City or Asylum’s, but there’s some interesting stuff there nonetheless and some of the missions outside the open world are really well designed, while the open world portion is compact enough that it isn’t too much of a pain to traverse. The hotel mission is a particular highlight and a truly solid section of the game, and the bridge part has its moments too. The plot is extremely predictable but the script and voice acting are pretty good, if you can put aside the fact that Batman comes off as an entitled jerk (which is something that Alfred comments on so it appears to have been intentional.) Some people have complained that the plot doesn’t really fit in with the other Arkham games, and doesn’t really make sense in a number of ways, and these complaints are thoroughly justified, but the story is really just an excuse to serve up some super villains to fight and some stakes for Batman’s quest, and it functions for those purposes. The music is the same movie-score type orchestral stuff that the rest of the series has and does the job of putting the player in a Batman kind of mood. The gameplay doesn’t innovate but doesn’t have to. It has that tried and true Batman combat and stealth, with enough traversal, puzzle solving, and investigation segments to keep things from getting too stale as you alternate pounding thugs in the face from hanging them from those familiar Batman perches (not all of which are gargoyles now.) There are equipment and skill upgrade systems to keep dripping out new toys for you to play with, and a challenge system that gives you special perks for doing simple tasks like finishing a stealth encounter without being seen. That old Batman formula still works fine, even in 2020, let alone in 2013 when the game was released. I’d say that without technical issues it would be a 7 or 7.5 out of 10 game. A solid, but unspectacular, title, and still pretty decent for a licensed game, given the standards established throughout the years.

As for the Cold, Cold, Heart DLC campaign whose development held up the patching of the game…it’s pretty good. It’s substantial, coming in at something like 3-4 hours, and is focused more on unique new areas than the open world (though it does use a small part of the game’s open world map.) The story is a solid take on the Mr. Freeze character, pun intended, and it has a couple new mechanics in the form of frozen vantage points and stalactites you can drop on enemies during stealth sections. The final battle against Freeze is, again, not nearly as good as City’s but the overall package is far better than City’s Harley’s Revenge DLC, and basically on par, hour for hour, with the main game, which is something a lot of DLC packs struggle with. The lack of a substantial open world or an XP/equipment progression system (all your bat toys except the goo grenade are unlocked from the beginning) really brings home how much these Arkham games are just evolutions of the old Beat ‘Em Up formula, and that’s fine by me. $10 for 3-4 hours of brawling action and a well-made, if pedestrian, Mr. Freeze story seems like a reasonable deal. I should note here that I actually paid $10 for the “complete” version of the game on one of those massive PS3 blowout sales on PSN towards the beginning of the PS4 era, so I do understand that if someone paid $60 for this as a new release and had to deal with all the technical issues at launch they might justifiably have a more negative opinion than I do. I’m evaluating the game as it is now, not in the context of release where it was a giant dumpster fire for a number of reasons. I also think that the rest of the season pass content seems light, and Cold Cold Heart is probably not worth $20. Finally, I obviously didn’t play the multiplayer so can’t comment on that.

Arkham Origins is not a game that’s so bad it needs to be forgotten or discarded, and there have been worse games remastered for the 8th generation. It also is a game that could benefit hugely from a remaster because the original version is so shoddy. WB should have gone back and cleaned up the game breaking bugs in the original release and then put out a version with a steady frame rate on consoles and all those other issues fixed, and they had an opportunity to do so with the Return to Arkham collection, which instead smoothed things out on two games that were pretty good to begin with, ignoring the game that needed the most work. Obviously Asylum and City are the far better games, and Origins is the one to skip if you’re going to skip one, but as someone who enjoys playing through a whole series, warts and all, I would have loved a better version of this lesser title, which is not so bad that it deserves to be buried. There are lots of series that include their lesser games in their remaster collections.

I understand that main series developer Rocksteady seems kind of annoyed that WB farmed out their formula to another developer who did what they view as a subpar job on it, and want to claim that there is only a trilogy of Batman games (Asylum, City, and Knight) but that seems kind of petty to me. It’s not like they created the Batman character and adding Origins to Return to Arkham would have given that collection a bit more value, especially considering that the remasters weren’t that great to begin with.

Regardless, I think Origins is still worth playing for Batman fans and fans of the Arkham series if you can get it cheap. Is it a great game? No. Is it a technical mess? Yes. But there’s a fair amount of fun to be had here, with some above average high points. Removed from the clusterf*** of its release and mostly patched up it serves as an okay action adventure title from an era that did those games pretty well. I just wish WB had taken the time to put together a definitive version for the current batch of consoles I’ve played and enjoyed much worse titles, and Origins doesn’t deserve to be buried or wiped from the series history books.

Avatar image for csl316
csl316

15593

Forum Posts

765

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

I bought it for $2 years ago, and just never got around to it. I liked Knight a lot when I stuck to the story stuff, and I keep telling myself that Origins is worth revisiting . It's on Xbox One's BC list so I might as well?

Avatar image for finaldasa
finaldasa

3355

Forum Posts

9288

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 13

#2 finaldasa  Moderator

Was Origins the third one released but not the third Rocksteady Batman game?

After City I just didn't keep up with who did which one since City sorta soured me on the rest of the franchise.

Avatar image for jesus_phish
Jesus_Phish

4048

Forum Posts

3307

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's the third best in the series and Knight is last. Arkham Knight is a really bad Arkham game.

What I find funniest now is that Origins has a suicide squad teaser and that's what Rocksteady are supposedly working on, despite them being sort of up themselves over how Origins didn't count.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@finaldasa: Origins is indeed the third released one but not the third Rocksteady game. It's very much in the Rocksteady style but it's clearly by a team with fewer resources. If you disliked City you probably won't like Origins (depending on why you didn't like City.) It's much more like City than it is Asylum, though it has less of an emphasis on the open world (but there is still an open world, and it's worse than City's.)

Avatar image for someoneproud
someoneproud

894

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I liked Origins quite a bit, despite some technical issues and I always thought it got a bit of a raw deal on reception. It's not as good as AA/AC but it is well worth playing if you like these games. I'd much rather replay Arkham Origins than Arkham Knight. It might not really add very much to the formula but at least it didn't add tank combat and an ending locked behind a whole bunch of busywork. I also like the story more than AK personally and it has some pretty fun boss fights imo.

Avatar image for falconer
falconer

2126

Forum Posts

7383

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 18

I'd argue it's the best story in the Arkham series. The interactions between Bruce and Alfred were miles ahead of anything you got from the Rocksteady games and the Batfamily in their games. And the assassins/boss battle stuff, while hit and miss, was novel for the series. I enjoyed those parts. I do agree that the city layout wasn't as good as Arkham City. It felt like too much of a corridor, and there were some explicit choke points with snipers that made it particularly annoying to get around.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@falconer: I'd differentiate between writing/voice acting and story. The story, as in the plot and events, don't really make sense, but I agree that some of the dialog and voice acting can be good. The relationship between Alfred and Bruce is good, though Bruce is a jerk to poor Alfred for most of the game, which I didn't like.

I'm not sure what you mean by the assassins/boss battle stuff being novel for the series. The series has always had boss battles and I don't think any of these would have been out of place in the prior games, except that they weren't as tight as the battles in the earlier titles. Maybe I'm missing something there.

I definitely agree that there were chokepoints in the open world city, but my real complaint was how visually bland it was in comparison. Arkham City had so many memorable landmarks, and Origins just didn't. I was constantly checking the map because most of the areas looked the same. Also the lack of fun Riddler challenges made it much less interesting to explore.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

5362

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I like what they did with the Joker / Batman relationship in Origins.

Avatar image for alias
Alias

164

Forum Posts

385

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

My plan was to finally get around to playing it later in the year. I'll probably keep pushing it off until Christmas time since it does have a winter / Christmas theme from what I can remember. Maybe I'll finally get around to Dead Rising 4 around then as well...

Avatar image for hermes
hermes

2734

Forum Posts

75

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

It is a flawed game, and most of the worst bugs have remain unaddressed years after its release, but it is not a bad game, just uninspired after City.

I agree with the sentiment that, in many things, it is better than Knight.

Avatar image for firecracker22
firecracker22

731

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

#11  Edited By firecracker22

It's funny, because I think writing wise and in terms of characterizations, Origins is probably the best of the Arkham games. I loved Arkham Knight, mostly because of how they expanded on stuff...maybe even overdid it, but aside from there being too many Batmobile tank battles in place for bossfights, I had major issues with the writing. There were some serious and massive changes made to the cores of characters just to try and justify the story.

It's a balance, but Origins stuck to who those characters are and what makes them tick. Everyone in that game, from Shiva, to Alfred, to Bane, to Batman....their motivations and who they are seemed in tune with who those characters have, for the most part, been historically. Bane was this strategic mastermind like he should be. The Joker's obsession with Batman that borders them being soulmates was perfect.

I think alot of the problems the game had were in other areas. But, I think if you're a Batman fan who didn't like the directions they took any number of characters in Asylum, City or Knight, then you'd probably be able with that stuff in Origins. I think even some storytelling beats that the Arkham games reuse alot, are pretty much avoided in Origins.

That, and for some crazy reason Origins is the only Arkham game where we even get to go to the Batcave. Not sure why they didn't have it in Arkham Knight.

Avatar image for ralphmoustaccio
RalphMoustaccio

376

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Origins is fine. I remember it being good enough to be enjoyable, but I can't remember a damn thing about what happened in it.

As for including it in the Arkham Collection, I don't see how to make it work. From a timeline perspective, you'd have to play it first, but that doesn't really work from a gameplay perspective, since it's closest to City, so going from AO to AA would be jarring when you lose the quasi-open world only to regain it again in AC. Alternatively, playing it in chronological release order would be problematic in terms of the story progression for the Rocksteady trilogy, unless there is some direct tie in to Knight that I'm not aware of (I never played Knight because of the middling descriptions and how much of a technical mess it was).

Avatar image for cikame
cikame

3305

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I remember liking Origins, but i tend to side with games people are overly mean about, i played it on PC so i didn't encounter the technical issues you mention.
It was a long time before i finally got around to playing Arkham Knight last year, it was good that i had such a large gap because while it's good it did get tedious in the second half, it doubled up on the thing i hate most about games that give you multiple abilities to despatch enemies, it presents combinations of enemies that are invulnerable to various attacks.
They probably call it a gameplay challenge, i call it handcuffs.

Avatar image for toastman
ToastMan

193

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#14  Edited By ToastMan

I enjoyed Origins quite a bit.

I remember enjoying the story, but mostly, I remember being really impressed by the cutscenes and general animation.

I don't know if it holds up today as I have not played it since it was new, but I remember the animation, camera angles and colors having much more of a "comic book" feel to them than the rest of the arkham games; which I thought were more cinematic in style.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

5362

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

That, and for some crazy reason Origins is the only Arkham game where we even get to go to the Batcave. Not sure why they didn't have it in Arkham Knight.

My memory of the games run together but doesn't he have a spare Batcave at Arkham Asylum or somewhere in City?

Avatar image for spacemanspiff00
spacemanspiff00

50

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

How coincidental this should pop up. I just finished replaying Knight on PC and am working through City currently. Picked up Origins on the Steam sale since I only played a bit of it after release. Looking forward to giving it another shot.

Avatar image for firecracker22
firecracker22

731

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

@shindig said:
@firecracker22 said:

That, and for some crazy reason Origins is the only Arkham game where we even get to go to the Batcave. Not sure why they didn't have it in Arkham Knight.

My memory of the games run together but doesn't he have a spare Batcave at Arkham Asylum or somewhere in City?

Yeah, in Asylum. Batman had an on-location mini-Batcave built on Arkham Asylum's grounds. We had to go there to use the crime lab at one point, I believe.

Avatar image for doctordonkey
doctordonkey

1990

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 4

I'm in the minority of Origins being my favourite Batman game. I liked Roger Craig Smith as a young, hot-blooded Batman, and snowy Gotham on Christmas was cool to traverse. I also really liked that Deathstroke boss fight.

Avatar image for gornogorno
gornogorno

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I here to agree with opinion in the main post based solely on the name of this thread

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@ralphmoustaccio: I don't understand what you're saying here at all. They were right not to include it in the collection because people wouldn't know what order to play the games in? I don't get it. They (meaning WB) released the game so clearly they intended people to play it, and it had the same chronological issues during release that it would as part of the collection. People could play it first or last, it doesn't really matter, it's sort of up to the player. There are lots of collections that include prequel games in with the rest and where there are multiple orders it makes sense to play games in. That's like saying that Yakuza 0 shouldn't be in the Yakuza Origins collection...which it is. Or that the PSP games shouldn't be in the God of War Saga collection...which they are.

I played the games in order of release and it was fine.

As for story contradictions...I mean who cares? The games are mostly pretty self contained (except for one major event from Arkham City that carries over into Arkham Knight) but do reference each other, but minor story inconsistencies wouldn't be a reason not to include a game. However it isn't even an issue here because Arkham Knight does, in fact, directly reference Arkham Origins in several places. They're small references but it's clear that the game's story is "canon" in the Rocksteady games, even if they sort of disavow the game itself.

Avatar image for ralphmoustaccio
RalphMoustaccio

376

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@bigsocrates: Sounds like you understood it just fine. I think it’s an otherwise fine game that would prove confusingly difficult to officially integrate into the package with the other Arkham games, and doesn’t add anything of particular value to that package. Curation is often better than just collection.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@ralphmoustaccio: I strongly disagree with this take.

It's not confusingly difficult to officially integrate at all. You play it first (chronological) or last (release order) the same way you do with a lot of other collections that have prequel games in them. It's not confusing, and more importantly it had the same exact issue when the game itself was released. It was intended to be played after Asylum and City so there is a clear order to the games. It's also an official part of the Arkham canon, mentioned in Arkham Knight.

In terms of curation...that matters when there's an overwhelming amount of content but here it's just three games. You don't need to "curate" out one third of the series. When you only have three things it's very easy for people to decide to play what they want and leave what they don't. Now if Origins was a truly bad game then it would make sense to cut it just because you don't want people having a bad time with your product, but it's a fine title. Most of the problems people have with the game relate to its technical issues, which can be fixed. If you look at this thread you'll see a lot of people say it's better than one or more other games in the series, so even with those issues it's not the consensus worst game in the series anyway.

The curation issue is why I wouldn't recommend adding the Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate game to the package even though there were 360 and PS3 ports. That's a game people genuinely did not enjoy.

In terms of what it adds of particular value...it's a whole additional game. It's....more. That package was pretty light on content, offering 2 remasters for $50, which is not a great deal. Adding another game would have made it a much better package. It also does have some references in Knight so to the extent that Return to Arkham is intended as a "story so far" compilation it makes sense to include it for those purposes. But really it would have just been another good game to make that collection a better value, and an opportunity to put out a much better version of what is already a decent game.

Avatar image for alias
Alias

164

Forum Posts

385

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

UPDATE: Dead Rising 4 is leaving game pass on the 15th of July so I guess I'm playing it in the next two weeks

Avatar image for ralphmoustaccio
RalphMoustaccio

376

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@bigsocrates: Honestly, I forgot there even was a released collection that didn't include Knight, so my curation comment was mostly related to the Rocksteady-developed series as a whole.

If you really want to be incensed at the treatment of Origins, though, consider that WB didn't even release it on the Epic Games store and gave away Asylum, City, Knight, and three Lego Batman games for free for a week when they added them there. And the PC version of Origins ran fine, so there would be basically no work involved in that case.

Avatar image for inevpatoria
inevpatoria

7647

Forum Posts

2136

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

I should really replay this. My first run—back in, what, 2013?—was marred by technical hiccups. I seem to recall dropping combos because of strikes clipping through enemies or whiffing beyond my control. Something about the feel of the game wasn't as tight as the mainline Rocksteady entries.

But I loved the premise, the setting. A night during which Batman is on the wrong side of the hunter/hunted power dynamic.

Didn't Arkham Knight make oblique references to Origins? I'd have to Google it now, but I seem to recall some off-hand line of dialogue that confirms the events of Origins as having happened.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

2193

Forum Posts

42

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@ralphmoustaccio: I'm not incensed about the treatment of Origins (except for the failure to fix the game while they instead worked on DLC, which is total BS) I just think it's silly (and cheap) that they've sort of written the game out of the series when, with a little bit of work, it would be a perfectly fine part of it. I don't think it's a masterpiece or anything but I think they use the excuse that it was not well received (mostly because of their failure to give it the time it needed for polish) as a way of just not putting the resources in to offer a better value package, and that sucks, whether it's on console or PC. I also think the PC game still has bugs, including game breaking bugs, though fan patches may have fixed those (but would not be automatically included in an Epic Store version obviously.)

@inevpatoria: Unfortunately some of those those bugs are still in the console versions at least, and it's still not as tight as Rocksteady's games. The premise and setting are indeed solid.

Arkham Knight makes a few references to Origin. The biggest one I caught is a super villain vowing revenge for what happened on the bridge, but the shock gauntlets are also in the GCPD evidence room (which doesn't make any sense because this game takes place years later so presumably whatever trial there was has already taken place.)

Avatar image for not_a_bumblebee
not_a_bumblebee

181

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

I'd say it's a mediocre sequel except for that amazing Deadshot boss fight. Definitely preferred it over Knight.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.