Batman: Arkham Origins came out on October 25 and let’s just say that the reception has been all over the place. Some people think it’s A+ material while others are not so kind to the game at all. I reviewed the game myself, where I rated it slightly above average (at least in my book). To put it simply, Arkham Origins was not as great as the predecessors developed by Rocksteady. In my review, I made note that while WB Games Montreal did a few things that actually improved upon the past Arkham games, there were some other aspects of the game that just felt lacking or not as polished as they could have been.
That’s where this article comes in. If WB Games Montreal is taking over the Arkham series from now on (if Rocksteady takes over again then this article can still be directed at them), I’d like to throw my two cents into the opinion jar and touch up on a few things that I feel could improve the gameplay. Just to be clear from the start, I’m not going to say anything about technical problems like bugs, glitches, etc. That’s a given and I feel it doesn’t need to be said. While I think they should have taken the time to make sure Arkham Origins didn’t have those problems to begin with, WB Games Montreal is working to fix those problems now. After the issues this time, perhaps they will make sure on the next game.
Variety in the Bosses and Their Strategies
“Batman: Arkham Origins‘ first major melee fracas is a prime example of something Mr. Mattes describes as the game’s “boss fight philosophy.”
“Each boss is a final exam testing a player’s mastery in a core game mechanic,” he said, adding that the Deathstroke bout is meant to be a trial of the player’s ability to effectively counter enemy punches prior to launching an attack of his or her own, one of the first things players learn how to do in the game.“
That was a section of an article from the Financial Post discussing the boss battles and how each would test the player. Senior producer Ben Mattes was the one present in this article discussing the game. Granted the issue with bosses is something that is quite prevalent in all of the Arkham games, but I’m picking on Arkham Origins because the plan was to have all bosses be different and involve some type of skill(s) to overcome. Some of them did; as the article pointed out, Deathstroke was quite a task as he required patience and perfect timing. I did use the hook claw on him quite a bit, but he does wise up to it. Firefly was a spectacular boss fight mainly because of the scope of the battle, although the challenge was lacking in the actual fight.
The other bosses in the game didn’t take as much skill if really any though. Killer Croc and Bane are fought in the exact same manner as any burly opponent you face–stun with a cape and beatdown. Deadshot and Shiva were also pretty susceptible to just a good ol’ fashioned smackdown and I was able to defeat Copperhead easily by spamming the quick-trigger Explosive Gel. By the way, don’t even get me started on Electrocutioner.
Arkham Origins did take a step in the right direction, but it ended up being baby steps instead of the full hike that WB Games Montreal said we’d get. I’m tired of facing bosses that just require a direct beatdown tactic. I’m Batman in this game; I should be faced with multiple obstacles and challenges that test me and my meddle. Give us gamers something that requires skill.
This one isn’t as important, but I felt like the addition of new gadgets could shake things up as far as gameplay. By the way, before you tell me that there were new gadgets in Arkham Origins, there aren’t exactly. They were just renamed or slightly altered versions of ones that we’ve already seen (ex. Remote Claw was the Zipline Launcher with the new ability to snag two objects; Glue Granade is just the Ice Grenade; the Disruptor is bigger this time). Part of the fun of playing as Batman as messing around with all those toys his billions of dollars can afford. Maybe give us something new we can toy around with.
Arkham Asylum didn’t have sidequests for obvious reasons. Being in a smaller, more confined environment really inhibited that. Then Arkham City came along and gave us some and, for the most part, I really liked the sidequests in that game. They had character and personality to them like the unfolding mystery of who was murdering people and cutting off faces. Random people in the city would tell you it’s Bruce Wayne, but that can’t be because you’re Bruce Wayne. Unless you were far more familiar with Batman lore than most and able to guess who was doing it, that particular sidequest played out like a detective/murder mystery. What about listening to Zzasz pour his soul out to you in a very disturbing situation? What about piecing together the clues and findings to verify where Deadshot is located?
Arkham Origins didn’t necessarily do this with their sidequests. They went along the lines of “disable these weapon caches; destroy these drug canisters; beat up this gang, beat up that gang.” Sidequests like that really don’t have that character to them as the Arkham City ones did. Granted, not all were like that: Anarky’s sidequest was pretty close to the point I’m making. I would say the same for the dialogue in Penguin’s sidequest when Barbara talks to you, but Batman never talks back to her sadly which kind of killed it.
My point: bring back some of that character in the sidequests. Arkham City’s sidequests were interesting and made me want to keep going to see what happens next; Arkham Origins’s sidequests just felt like tasks.
Think About the Need for Multiplayer
I said it in my review and I’ll say it again: the multiplayer really felt tacked on in Arkham Origins. Once you were able to get past all the issues with freezing and never finding a room (well those were my problems; maybe some of you were luckier), you ended up playing a rather mediocre-to-average third-person shooter team battle.
I have nothing against multiplayer in games at all, but the inclusion of multiplayer should make sense in the context of the game you’re dealing with. When I think Batman games, multiplayer is something that doesn’t come to mind– especially a team battle shooter.
If the developers feel like multiplayer should be something that’s added, here’s an idea: co-op. Co-op would fit more with the game and its world then having a team battle mode. Seeing as we’ve already had Robin and Nightwing, add them as playable characters along with Batgirl and have different maps that you can go all co-op on. At least in my opinion, I feel like being able to team up with someone else to accomplish a goal would be more fun in multiplayer for a Batman game.
Regardless of whether you agree with my idea or not, the developers should think about the inclusion of multiplayer more. Just because other games have multiplayer, it doesn’t mean that every game should–including a Batman game.
Don’t Turn This Franchise into Another “Assassin’s Creed”
While nothing has been stated concerning when the next Batman game is coming out, Arkham Origins, at least to me, showed some of the signs associated with Assassin’s Creed games–that is a game that has a different story and some different characters but is, pretty much, a repackaged version of the previous game(s) with only moderate improvements or additions.
Also, if you go back into the post I linked further above from the Financial Post, it’s revealed that this game’s development started in late 2011 with completion around January this year with the remaining time taken between then and October to “polish” the game. That’s about a year of development. On top of that, news is going around that Rocksteady is starting on their next game. Is it a another Batman game? Maybe one that takes place after Arkham City? Who the heck knows? The game could be something completely new. Still, the worry is there that this franchise could end up being annualized…especially if there’s only one year’s worth of development being done.
I like the Assassin’s Creed games, but the yearly releases get tiring after awhile. I don’t even buy them brand new around release anymore (the last one I bought new around release was Assassin’s Creed II). I just don’t see it as lucrative to keep buying Assassin’s Creed games when the games all play pretty much the same way. I’m not getting anything new outside of the stories.
I don’t want to see Batman go down that route. If anything needs to be taken from this article, it’s the fact that there need to be some improvements; there needs to be aspects of gameplay that should be considered and thought about. That can’t really happen when you’re finishing development up within a year’s time. I’m jumping the gun right now, but if this is something that is being considered (and I’m sure it is since the Arkham games are incredibly popular) then please do two things: stop and slow it down. Don’t make us bored of Batman.
Don’t make me bored of Batman.
With all of that said, what do you think about what you’ve read? Are there any other things about the Arkham games you’d like to see improved upon in later installments.