After being thwarted by the queues on my first day at the Expo, I started my second day by heading straight for the already-burgeoning queue of people waiting excitedly to get their hands on the latest in the Batmans series; Arkham Origins.
Following the critical and financial success of the series’ previous two entries – Arkham Asylum and Arkham City – there was a lot of anticipation over how good this one would be. There is one major change this time around, with a change in developer as Warner Bros. Games Montreal taking over from Rocksteady, although assurances have been made that the same game engine has been used and there will be minimal difference compared to the previous two games. Having tried my hand at Origins’ Vita version Blackgate the day previous – and coming away from that largely impressed, despite it’s shortcomings – I was massively excited to try out the latest console entry for The Dark Knight. So much so that I decided to approach this demo somewhat differently than most I was in the queue with; I would actually purposely not ‘play’ the game. With the title’s full release a month away – and already pre-ordered – I could wait 30 days to fully envelope myself in the game. What I would this demo for, I decided, would be to see how it differed, it at all, from Asylum and City. Instead of following the on-screen markers and mission statements, I would use this opportunity to explore Gotham while not actually ‘playing’ the game. A different approach, I think you will agree.
So what did I think? Without playing the game – in the traditional sense – what were my first impressions?
For anyone that was worried about the change from Rocksteady to Warner, you can allay those fears. Arkham Origins looks and feels virtually the same as the previous two entries. If you have any experience of those two games, you will be fine here. However that also left me feeling slightly disappointed; Don’t get me wrong, consistency is fine. After all, why fix what isn’t broken? However you felt that with Origins Warner had a chance to do things a little different. A change in developer often brings a change to the game, it is expected. And while Warner would not have wanted to cause disharmony or anger by changing a beloved and established franchise, they would surely have been forgiven some modifications? Alas, I may be nitpicking and trying too hard to find something I can criticise. What did I think of the game? Naturally, it looks gorgeous. Gotham has again been visually represented in the best possible way, and the open-world aspect of Origins only increases the chance to fully appreciate the work put into making this game look amazing. Motions are fluid, and the basic battle action I did experience was crisp and clean. The usual gadgets are also present, a staple of any Batman title. From the early indication I got with this demo, it appears to play very much like Arkham’s Asylum and City.
By the time I chose to end of the demo, I strangely felt my unique approach to this paid off. I got to enjoy the game without playing it, I got a chance to see what will no doubt take hours of my life when it is released in a month’s time, and I feel safe saying that we may have the best Batman title yet.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be released on October 25 worldwide, on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and PC.