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AW Game Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

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Christmas time in Gotham City isn’t as festive as it sounds.

Last Friday, WB Games released the 3rd installment of their popular “Batman: Arkham” games.

Taking place before “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Batman: Arkham City”, “Origins” doesn’t bring you to the beginning where Bruce Wayne actually becomes Batman (though that would be pretty neat) but rather throws you into Gotham as a young and overtly confident Bruce Wayne who is still learning the ropes to what fighting super villains is all about.

One aspect of the game that brings this story to life is the fact that villains, like The Penguin who only knows of The Batman by reputation, are not yet acquainted with The Dark Knight so the story becomes an introduction to popular DC villains and it’s interested to see how the first meeting between Batman and his common foes play out.

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No Conroy? No Hamill? No Dini? No problem!

One of the concerns many fans had with this release was that a lot of the talent that made the previous games what they were would not be on board with this release. Kevin Conroy is no longer voicing Batman, Mark Hamill would not be portraying The Joker and Paul Dini didn’t take the writing credits. On top of that, the developer Rocksteady is not even behind it.

So, how did that affect the final product? Well, it really didn’t. The voice acting changes really haven’t made an impact in the over all experience and though Dini is an excellent storyteller, especially when it comes to Batman, the story of “Batman: Arkham Origins” plays out just fine and also has the twists and turns in the plot that add to the shock value in the game as a whole.

Though I did feel like something was missing knowing in the back of my head that Rocksteady didn’t have their hands on this title, looking at it completely objectively, it really does fit into the series pretty flawlessly.

The gameplay is virtually identical to “Batman: Arkham City” so fans of the previous game will be able to jump right in without any problems.

Some of the new features include some new weaponry, like shock gloves which deliver a charge to the enemies you’re fighting, and also a mode of fast travel via the Batwing.

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Your initial goal is to find Black Mask by migrating through Gotham and questioning some familiar faces. In the process, you must take on 8 assassins that are sent to stop you in your tracks. Assassins include Bane, Killer Croc and Deathstroke as well as some of DC’s lesser known evil like Copperhead and Firefly.

Some reviewers have complained that the Origins gameplay is just too similar to that of “Arkham City” but the ability to jump in and play another chapter of The Dark Knight’s campaign against crime in Gotham is just as fun as it was last time and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Being able to see the relationship development between a young and naive Batman and some of his greatest enemies makes this game intriguing and it soon becomes the video game equivalent of a page turner.

“Batman: Arkham Originas” is available now on all major consoles and the accompanying side scroller, “Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate” is available for the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.