Building (Critical) Consensus: Batman: Arkham Origins
Poor WB Games Montreal. The rookie developer probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt before launch if they had taken up any DC franchise but the Batman: Arkham franchise. Rocksteady Studios did an amazing job with the first two Arkham games so they left a tough task for the devs who followed. In this case, the act was so tough to follow that Warner Bros. didn’t just embargo the game to release date but didn’t issue review copies to some prominent reviews including Jim Sterling. That’s gotta make you feel great about it.
While the reviewers felt that Origins was a solid effort, the recurring theme in most of the reviews was that WB Montreal played it fairly safe but not doing anything particularly new with the Arkham franchise apart from adding multiplayer to the game. If you liked the last two Arkham games, chances are that you’ll like this one as well. Just don’t expect this to be anything new or the big improvement that City was over Asylum.
OXM (90%): Origins’ combat is still incredibly impressive in many respects. Yes, it’s frustrating at times, but it sure as hell got our blood pumping. Plus, the animations look unbelievably organic — especially contextual finishers that incorporate the surrounding environment —and the sound effects give every hit a satisfying sense of bone-crunching devastation. The camera and controls are also predictably spot-on, making the action that much more immersive.
Game Front (86%): Arkham Origins is a fantastic game, and one that is worthy of the Arkham legacy, but that being said, one can’t help but feel that WB Games Montreal played this one safe. They relied on the strength of Rocksteady’s rock-solid foundation, and simply applied new coats of paint and some extra decorations that weren’t there before. That’s not to say that Origin’s isn’t on par with Arkham City, quite the contrary–and even though Batman may have lost a little altitude this time due to a coasting flight, he’s still flying high, high above the competition.
NowGamer (75%): When it comes down to it, Batman: Arkham Origins is a good Batman game that still gives the player that sense of ‘being the bat’ in its best moments… The issue is that there’s nothing that feels fresh about Arkham Origins, nothing that it feels like you haven’t seen before… That shouldn’t detract from the fact that there is plenty of fun to be had with Batman: Arkham Origins. Just be aware that if you go in expecting Arkham Origins to be a big step forward, you’re likely to come away disappointed.
Eurogamer (70%): What Batman: Arkham Origins really recaptures is the solid middle of an Arkham game – the combat, the traversal, the little stealth arenas, the open-world puzzles and side missions – without really offering any highs. There’s no batcave-on-Arkham moment, no shark in the museum. Perhaps the developers were too focused on not breaking all those wonderful toys, or perhaps they were bound to a tight deadline, but the game feels slightly flat as a result.
GameSpot (60%): Batman: Arkham Origins is a deeply predictable game. It gives you exactly what you’d expect in another Arkham game, without doing anything to push the series forward. In the absence of new elements, the tried-and-true free-flow combat and predator mechanics feel routine rather than inspired. Origins is worth experiencing for the way it sets the stage for the events of the other Arkham games, but it also resides squarely in their shadows.