Spoilers abound! Precede only if you’ve finished Batman: Arkham Origins.
I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ XP
I often felt like I needed to do the side missions in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City because I needed the XP. I need to unlock more gadgets or abilities to get the job done effectively. In Arkham Origins, I never felt that way. In fact, the only side missions I completed while doing the main story the first time through were the Riddler’s radio towers. They were fun to complete, as I imagine a lot of the other side missions will be when I get around to them, but at least the Riddler’s radio towers were necessary, for the most part. Sure, you could glide around the city freely, but the chance to open up the whole of Gotham to fast travel is appealing. Aside from this though, I didn’t feel the need to accrue extra XP to do anymore upgrading than the XP I gained along the way while completing the main story afforded me.
Assassin Appearances Unbalanced
You know, for having eight assassin’s after Batman, you’d never really know it. It seems like only four of them ever really got the message. Electrocutioner kinda shows up, Copperhead makes a valiant effort, Firefly pops up as filler towards the end, and Bane is in the game way more than he needs to be. The boss encounters in Origins are really unbalanced.
Electrocutioner may be the worst “boss” fight I’ve ever played. Oh! Hit square! Fight over. No, seriously. But he gets away because Batman didn’t tie him up, like I was telling the TV that he should do! Then, Joker kills him and you raid his corpse for the win button (I mean, Shock Gloves). He only exists in this game to let you get your Shock Gloves.
I enjoyed the Deathstroke fight. It felt like a classic Arkham boss fight and was mildly challenging. It was a little prompt heavy at times though, and the reason I had to replay it a bunch of times was because I was being a bit too proactive with my countering and while the game wanted me to have a really cinematic counter with Deathstroke, I was trying to play it like a regular fight, which led me to countering earlier than the game wanted me to and then dying five times.
Copperhead’s fight was also fun. She poison’s you and while you’re walking out of the building to pick up an antidote drop, you’re caught in a hallucinogenic scrap with ten Copperheads all at once. It’s a shame more boss fights weren’t like this.
Hey mom! I’m a QTE sequence.
What’s the deal with Bane getting three fights? Had the developers watched Dark Knight Rises so many times that they had Bane on the brain? You first encounter Bane with at the hotel should’ve been the last. It’s the hardest of all the encounters and I felt like “what was the point?” after artificially losing after getting him down to a sliver of health. You put a tracker on him, but he uses it to lure you away so he can kinda, but not really, destroy the Batcave. Then, he kinda, but not really, kills Alfred. Good thing Plot Device’s (I mean Electrocutioner’s) Shock Gloves are around to save the day (again). Then, you see him again back at Blackgate Prison, and after you kick his ass, Batman’s dumb rule about not killing anyone brings him back and you get to fight him a third time, and this time it’s one of those “use the environment” fights. I never really like those.
Anarky, Shiva, And Deadshot Only Show Up As Side Missions
Remember how there were eight assassins? Remember only fighting four of them? (Electrocutioner doesn’t count!) Well, the other three are still out there, but as side missions! I didn’t do any side missions yet, so I’ll not pass judgement on their quality, only that what’s the point of saying you have eight assassins after you when only five ever come after you?
I know they want everyone to know think that this Batman game is the just the same and as good as the last two, but they’ve gone overboard with the “Arkham” naming scheme. This game never goes anywhere near Arkham Asylum, and Arkham City hasn’t been thought up yet. In fact, the only mention of Arkham Asylum is at the end, during a radio sequence during the credits where they talk about Arkham being reopened.
I was a little disappointed at the length of Arkham Origimns as well. Playing just the main story clocked in around eight hours, and while there was a lot of filler like Firefly’s oddly timed appearance and Bane’s way too much camera time, the ending of Arkham Origins wound up feeling rushed somehow. The first encounter with Joker was really great and you get to see how Joker feels about Batman. The final encounter goes by way too fast and you’re barely in control of the game during the final sequence. It’s little more than a QTE at the end.
I enjoyed Arkham Origins. The more I think about the game though, the more I find that I dislike about it. I still have a lot to do: Anarky, Deadshot and Shiva’s side missions for starters. Also, Mad Hatter and Riddler’s bits. I didn’t do more than two of the challenges in the Batcave and none of the Predator challenges. There is also supposed to be new story DLC in the upcoming season pass, which while I haven’t purchased yet, I would gladly pay another $20 for more Batman story content.