Batman: Arkham Origins is a game developed by WB Games Montreal while Rocksteady, creators of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, worked on the final installment from the Arkham series called Arkham Knight, due to be released later this year. As Arkham Knight was going to take a bit long to be developed, publisher WB Games decided to create this game to fill the gap. This will be a very brief review.
Arkham Origins received lower scores than its two predecessors, with critics complaining that it added almost nothing to the series. I basically agree. Origins improves graphics a bit, adds some new effects and plays essentially like Arkham City. To me, that’s not specially good. The best game in the series so far, in my humble opinion, is the original Arkham Asylum (Metacritic disagrees with me). It took everyone by surprise by perfectly capturing the classic essence of Batman as portrayed in the comics while Christopher Nolan cast the character under a very different light at that time with his movies (Arkham Asylum was released a year after The Dark Knight).
Asylum took everyone by surprise and provided focused gameplay with a great story, a few side missions and characters and felt like a totally cohesive experience. City, on the other hand, made a mistake that’s pervasive in the industry nowadays: if you feel the game is going to be good, add more content. More side missions, collectibles and game modes so if the player likes the feeling of playing the game they can continue to do so while thinking they are making progress in some sense, like collecting some stuff or improving their score in a minigame, which would drive them closer to some arbitrary 100% completion score mark. Old gamers like myself would simply prefer to replay the game, probably in a higher difficulty setting.
In this sense, and even if it has its own story, Origins is simply more content. It has its low points, like Joker’s voice being different and a bit worse due to Mark Hamill retiring from the character, and its bright moments like the way it explains the start of the relationship between Joker and Batman, or Anarky’s speech and criticism of Batman if you listen to it.
I’d give the game a score around 8, while giving City a 9 and Asylum a 9.5, more or less. If it’s been some time since you played a Batman game and would prefer some new content instead of replaying, grab a copy of Origins and you won’t be disappointed. If, instead, you want some new gameplay and really improved graphics (at the cost of needing a much beefier computer or a new generation console), wait for Arkham Knight.