Reviews by kiyd

83

What next?

kiyd | Feb. 17, 2014 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins

As limited in combat style as Arkham Asylum was, it's still an utterly replayable game and one of the better Metroidvania-style offerings one can get into. Arkham City took that formula and pumped it full of Venom (though Bane plays as small a role in AC as he did in AA). There's nothing wrong with Origins for being so much like AC in terms of gameplay - in fact, for those of us who are highly proficient at AC combat, it meant dropping straight into the world and going to town on huge piles of thugs - but at times it feels a bit too straightforward, and where there are changes, there are also bugs. In particular is the Dark Knight system: people accustomed to going for 100% complete gamesaves will find this system frustrating, not because it's difficult (though one achievement in the Predator tree will have you quitting the game and rebooting your save to try it over and over), but because certain aspects of it are difficult to track until after the fact, when it's too late to fix what you could have done differently. Also, the game file doesn't actually go to 100% complete even after you beat all the game modes, an oversight that's somewhat unforgivable in this day and age, especially for a game that doesn't feel at all like it was rushed out the door.

Still, there's just enough different about the game - the mini-boss fights, the humor with Alfred, a couple of new gadgets - that, in some ways, this is a game preferable to AC. Playing through the challenge maps and campaigns on this is frankly more entertaining and satisfying than AC's were (at least for Batman). And the changes in voice acting ended up working out nicely; I've been listening to Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill do these characters since the 90s, but their successors are worthy. It'll be interesting to see what the DLC has in store for it, particularly since AC's DLC was so uniformly disappointing. But really, given the plotlines of the last two games, one wonders if this is the end of the franchise or if they have something else up their sleeve that actually moves the gameplay forward again.