by Zackery Cuevas0
Batman Arkham Origins Review
It’s Not The Game We Deserve
Batman has experienced quite the popularity boost as of late. He’s been the star of three excellent movies, TV shows (I love me some Brave and The Bold) and videogames, most notably,the Arkham series which debuted on consoles in 2009. These games were one of those rare moments when a developer takes an established IP and gets it right. They captured the look and feel of Batman while delivering gameplay that combined elements of adventure and puzzle solving and wrapped it in a very satisfying combat system.
The result was a fun and immersive game. So with such a great track record, you’d think that they’d be able to create a game for mobile that could match the console games in terms of quality?
No, that would be too easy. Instead Warner Bros. decided to take the combat from the console games, strip it of any complexity or depth, and make it an insultingly simple button masher that just happens to have Batman slapped onto the title like a sewed-on batsymbol.
The game follows the story of Arkham Origins: A younger Batman goes toe-to-toe with a bunch of B-list mercenaries and villains as he tries to get to the ring leader of the bunch, The Black Mask. From here the game divides into four different locations, which Batman must visit and cleanse of its henchmen overflow like a costumed janitor.
The graphics in this this game are really impressive, but a good portion of the game is spent flipping through the menus of the batcomputer, upgrading Batman and equipping different unlockable suits , which include everything from Batman Beyond to Batman: Red Son. It’s nice to see them throw references to Batman’s 75 years of lore, but most of the costumes are locked behind hefty price tags.
Once you’ve decked Batman out, it’s time to take him onto the streets and into the arena. Arkham Origins is advertised as a brawler, and sure enough, Batman does do a bit of brawling, but the gameplay mechanics are bare bones. You tap the screen to punch and kick, and hold both fingers to the screen to block. You also have a special move and the ability to switch between an offensive and defensive stance. The controls do work well, but you’ll quickly grow tired of the one-on-on battles that consist of mostly tapping the screen and watching Batman karate chop some faceless goon.
And that’s it. I know most brawlers are repetitious but this is just flat-out boring. Enemies come at you, one at a time, and throw a punch every once in a while. While this is a fairly accurate representation of the average Batman thugs’ combat strategy, it doesn’t exactly lead to compelling gameplay. Most of my playthrough was spent mashing my phone like I was Ike Turner while I looked for something else to drain my gray matter. Boss battles, on the other hand, are more annoying and their higher difficulty made fights frustrating fights.
So Origins is a boring game, but what make it a truly bad one are the microtransactions. The game is packed full of in-app purchases, which are almost required to unlock some of the higher price suits and upgrade. The games cardinal sin, however, is that it’s energy-based. This means if I play more than 5 missions in a row, Batman gets tired and I have to wait to play again. I’m waiting for someone to make a good case for this game design decision, because I can’t understand why I can’t play the game for longer than 15 minutes at a time!
This one mechanic absolutely ruins this game. It’s bad enough that Origins is a boring, beat ‘em up game, soaked in micro transactions, but the energy- based gameplay is really the nail in this batcoffin. Perhaps the only reason you might consider playing this game is so you can link it to the console game to unlock bonus content, but otherwise there’s really no reason to even bother, even if you’re the truest Batman fan.
Holy Crap, Batman – your game sucks.
Summary: Batman Arkham Origins is a free-to-play, energy-based brawler that’s about as exciting as a batboot to the face. Play the console game for your Batman fix, or if you’re looking for a mobile game, try Arkham Orgins: Blackgate, and forget that this game exist.
Title: Batman Arkham Origins
Developer: Warner Bros. International Enterprises
Buy it: Here