At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Richard Pilot PlayStation 3 Warner Bros Rocksteady Studios Up to 8 (Online) 25th October 2013

Batman: Arkham Origins preview

Batman: Arkham Asylum came out of nowhere and was extremely well received amongst both critics and fans alike. The sequel was, in my opinion, an iteration on the first game, rather than truly innovating. Moving the game to the larger city gave the game a larger scope for Batman’s exploits but ultimately, beyond throwing in a few new gadgets, the formulae remained the same. Arkham Origins looks to be continuing this trend, meaning that it you're a fan of the first two entries in this series then you'll be sure to enjoy this third game, but don’t be surprised when you find that the game hasn't strayed too far from its roots.

The game takes place in Arkham City and the Black Mask has placed a $50 million bounty on your head which has attracted a whole bunch of assassins to the city. The gameplay section we saw took place on a bridge that connects two islands of the city. Batman is being hunted down by one of the game's assassins, a villain named Firefly, who is flying over the bridge on a jetpack taking out the cops - who are trying to defuse some explosives - with his flamethrower.

This is rather shocking.

This is rather shocking.

Following the Batman series story rulebook, the Dark Knight needs to get to the next section but his progress has been blocked. However, he recently acquired a new gadget from his encounter with a previous villain and has gained the shock gloves. Essentially these are a pair of gloves that can store a charge; these will be used both in and out of combat. As Batman proceeded to the next room, a combat scenario presented itself. During the fight, Batman was able to build up the battery in the gloves by battering the enemies on screen. Once charging, the player can then chose to activate them, which helps in combat by allowing Batman to directly hit typically tougher enemies such as those with armour or an improvised shield without having to stun or vault over them first. As a cool aside, players can fully charge the shock gloves if they take on an opponent with the stun stick. There will also be a few puzzle sections that involve carrying charge around to power up machines.

A few rooms later saw us at a predator room and the chance to show off another new gadget, the remote claw. The best way to describe it is a wire gun that allows you to link things between two points. The first use we saw was to shoot between two high ledges that Batman likes to hide out in, essentially creating a rope to walk along across the entire room, but we saw more creative uses like attaching one end to a fire extinguisher and the other end to a patrolling guard, stunning him in the process and creating a cloud for us to sneak through. Bad guys can even be attached together! Completing the room also revealed a new experience system for predator sections which scores sections based on the threats in each room and the style used to take them down. Our session ended with Batman facing Firefly, using his remote claw to pull him closer, evening the fight. Whilst we didn't see the end of this battle, it looked pretty exciting as Batman was yanked along by a Firefly and his jetpack.

The chase is on

The chase is on

After coming out of the session, I'm torn over how I should feel about the game. On one side, what I saw about the game looked great but on the other, I can't help shake the feeling that the studio are relying a little too much on the success of Arkham Asylum. That shouldn't take away from the efforts of the developers though, because if you want a game featuring your favourite caped crusader then it looks like Batman: Arkham Origins will be another solid entry in the Batman series even if does feel a little familiar.

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