Batman: Arkham Origins – A sequel too far?
Is that a bad thing? Some of you will will say yes, and others undoubtedly no, but the real question is; with new consoles so close to release, can Arkham Origins do enough to distinguish itself from the crowd?
Or, is this just one sequel too many that just happens to be arriving at an awkward time?
You could certainly argue for both cases, but there’s something about Origins – even without the series’ staple studio Rocksteady missing from the helm – that’s really rather exciting.
Do you remember when Arkham City was announced and Rocksteady calmed Bat-fan fears that the Caped Crusader would lose all his gadgets and powers by confirming that he’d just start the game with them?
We wondered how that would translate to yet another sequel, and now we know. It doesn’t; you simply make a prequel and all those annoying questions regarding progression and levelling up go away as soon as you plonk Batman right back at the beginning of his story.
Obviously, there’s a bit more to it than that, but as one of the last games to arrive before Microsoft releases its new machine, setting up Batman –or the Batman as we know from the Arkham series – is actually a pretty good idea.
It’s the same trick Christopher Nolan pulled with Batman Begins, but here it gives new developer, Warner Bros. Montreal, the freedom to re-establish Batman and create a new, expansive, open world free from the constrains of the Arkham storyline.
Here, Batman is young, inexperienced and only just beginning his one-man crusade against the seedy underbelly of Gotham City, so it makes sense that players will be starting the game minus everything that made him the badass he usually is. Batman has never done anything the easy way so going up against a slew of famous supervillains, all vying to take him down on Christmas Eve, is the trial by fire he needs.
We don’t know exactly who these supervillains are just yet, but Deathstroke has been confirmed, so we should expect lots of sword attacks and the deadly red streak of a sniper rifle’s laser sight.
Warner Bros, Montreal is a new untested entity tasked with recapturing what made the previous games quite so special.
Still, there’s obvious scope to make Batman work in a true open world. Arkham City laid the groundwork, focusing its energy on a layered and dense vision of Gotham, but was hedged in for narrative stability.
If Arkham Origins gives Batman the entire city, plus whatever unique twists to the design the studio can make, this could be yet another ‘must buy’ to put on the list before the next gen arrives.