Welcome to my blog about, at least mostly, games. Here you can find reviews, impressions, pictures and things that I think are interesting enough to write about. If you want me to speak up on something, then write it to me. Want to discuss something in a post then write it in the comments. Hope it will be good reading for you.

måndag 3 november 2014

Review - Batman: Arkham Origins

The Arkham series brought my interest in Batman from cool superhero to me now being a really big fan. Arkham Asylum introduced everything from classic Riddler challenges, its absolutely superb fighting system, really good story, awesome villains, a badass Batman and cool bosses. The game's only weakness was the length of the game that was too short in my opinion. Arkham City was Batman perfection, 25 hours were spent on the first play-through, better story, a bigger ensemble of villains, cooler Batman, one of gaming's coolest boss battles (Mr. Freeze) and an already great fighting system polished to perfection, and the game trounced every single game that year. (yes even Skyrim, but it's overrated ... more on that in a later post perhaps ....). I loved it so much, that I two years ago dressed like Hugo Strange on Halloween. So I followed the news of Arkham Origins with cautious positivity. Cautiously because of the announcement that Rocksteady would not be developing this part. But it was still Arkham, how much wrong could you really do?

The game is placed five years before the events of Arkham Asylum and City. So it is a greener and more of a beginner Batman that we encounter, where he is only two years into his career as Gotham's protector. So of course he doesn't have as cool a suit and not nearly as many cool gadgets as in the other games. Here comes mistake number one. For that statement is completely wrong, the suit looks much more armoured out, and Batman begins the game with most of the gadgets he needed to amass five years later. Worst of all is the Grapple-boost, which in Arkham City is told to just be a prototype that Batman must master to use. Here, it's standard from the start. It takes away the illusion of a prequel when it makes him more equipped than in later editions. I mean, did Batman just think, “Nah, the villains are way to easy for me, I should dial down on the awesome gadgets to make it fair” in the previous instalments? The only thing that really show a more inexperienced Batman is that he must discover the villains who would otherwise be obvious to us. But perhaps one can overlook this. Perhaps.

It's Christmas, and Black Mask has just promised a sum of money to eight assassins, for anyone on this single night that can kill "The Bat". Just like the Batman's Origins-twist, it is a promising idea that opens up a lot of gameplay possibilities. And just like Origins-twist, it's clumsy and poorly executed. The bad guys you encounter (even those beyond the eight main ones) are presented clumsily and hastily, and with the exception of two or three, they are all boring and predictable, and in some cases, not at all as themselves. The story takes an unexpected and unwelcoming twist quite so early in the game that makes you angry yell "huh ?! In this game, too? "The story does not get much more interesting than that, either, and I struggle through the game mostly of the motivation that I need to play it through at least once, I mean, it's still an Arkham-game.

The boss fight are almost all broken down into two categories. Fight against the big guy,, where you dodge and hit, or in Predator Mode, but with boss guy. Only two fights deviates from this formula, and only one of them is entertaining. A big step backwards when you see what was done with the Freeze-fight in Arkham City. In general, it feels as if the Warner Bros.-team not dared to change too much, have been too cowardly and run on an idea only halfway

For what is good in the game is three things. First, the Predator occasions are still really entertaining. Nothing compares to hear someone yell "Where are you ?!" while watching their panic reflected in movements and heartbeats. But it's never as good as in City, mainly because they are fewer and in scenery that are not nearly as inspiring or imaginative. But not bad

Second, the fighting system is still good. Why change a winning concept? But it never feels as refined or perfect as the City, and you never feel that you master it the more you practice, for it is not quite as smooth and flowing. This can actually get really frustrating in the harder fights, where your timing needs to be perfect, and the game doesn't register your counters directly. But still the main draw of the game.

Thirdly, and here it comes the part with not daring to move away from the original, the new thing that they put into Origins is a system to reconstruct crime scenes. By going back and forth in the event you can find new clues and get a bigger picture of what has happened at a crime scene, and bit by bit quite like a puzzle, you piece the pieces together into a crime canvas. This is actually really entertaining ... well when the opportunity is given. For when I can play through the game and encounter such a scene three or four times, then there is something wrong. It's so good, why isn't there more of this? I wish it could give room for really big crime scenes so you really get to feel how it is to be the world's greatest detective. But even here it falls flat.

I'll be honest and say that I have not tried the multiplayer mode much. My friend has, however, and he says this of his experiences: Clearly the greatest component of Arkham Origins, even though it has its flaws, and suffers from a server and connection issues (it can take a long time to find people to play with). The setting is cool where you either play as the Joker's gang or Bane's gang in a gang war, but with Batman and Robin lurking around every corner, played by another team. Make up your own gang member and start gang wars, it's Batman saga from the villains' point of view, and it's pretty cool.

Finally Origins is not a bad game, and if you like Asylum and City, I think you'll get through this too, at least once. But it is still hard to feel anything but disappointment when virtually everything is a little worse than in Rocksteady's masterpiece.