[Bonus points for reading this aloud in a Kentucky drawl...]
Batman: Arkham Origins stands accused.
The crime: Carbon copying Rocksteady’s 2011 winter juggernaut, Arkham City.
Ladies and gentlemen of the clickonline.com jury: The prosecution would have you believe you’ve ‘seen it all before’. That you’ve ‘been there, played that’. That developers Warner Bros Games Montreal are ‘failing to expand the formula’.
To these, the defence would like to call a key witness – YOUR MEMORIES!
Rocksteady are responsible for both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, two of the most critically, culturally and commercially acclaimed titles of the generation. Their stealth gameplay is considered top tier while their melee combat remains unsurpassed.
Conversely, Warner Bros Games Montreal are a fledgling studio. Arkham Origins represents their debut effort. Can any of you in good conscience blame them for not tampering with what is universally revered as a very, VERY good thing?
Now, I may be just a simple county Hyper-Chicken, but how many sequels truly break the mould? Even the most successful sequels merely refine and polish rather than risk an overhaul - Portal 2. Mass Effect 2. Assassin’s Creed 2.
Indeed an argument could be made that Arkham City itself simply expanded its map, tool set, character animations and villains rooster. Apologies “roster”. However I digress.
Exhibit A - Arkham Origins varies pre-existing gameplay by introducing new villain types, the Armoured Enforcer and the Martial Artist. The latter can even counter Batman’s attacks – a series first. New equipment includes, but is not limited to electrified shock gloves and an environment manipulating remote claw. The map itself is reputedly twice Arkham City’s size and overhauled Boss Battles test players’ proficiency with central mechanics. As opposed to leaping titans and kickin’ em square in the rump!
Shock Gloves have a gameplay function beyond just 'looking boss' Enlarge
Exhibit B – The main campaign remains Arkham Origins principal draw, and with good reason. Mirroring the development team, Origins takes place only two years into Batman’s career. Voice veterans Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil have been replaced with young blood Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker. And while its forbearers dealt with threats on a city-wide scale, in Origins the danger is very much of a personal nature, with eight contract killers out for Batman’s head. Finally, friction with long-time allies Alfred and Gordon should reinvigorate the tired Batman-is-brilliant-all-the-time-and-everyone-loves-him formula.
Exhibit C- There’s multiplayer. I’m not sure if anyone asked for it. I’m not even sure it’s a good idea. But it’s there. Your Honour! Surely, it’s unfair to accuse Arkham Origins of phoning it in when it offers a 3 Vs 3 Vs 2 multiplayer arena!
Multiplayer pits the Dynamic Duo against warring groups of armed thugs Enlarge
My closing argument won’t be no longwinded restating of the facts. Instead, cast your minds back to Summer 2012. The disappointingly brief Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC left us cluckin’ for more. Batman: Arkham Origins IS more!
Sure, it’s a full price retail disc and 24 months late to the party. But this aint just new campaign content. This an entirely new campaign! WBGM answered our call. Least we can do is give them the benefit of the doubt.
The defence roosts. Ba-Gawk!
10 Reasons Batman: Arkham Origins Will Be The Game We Deserve