Overall, the sheer weight of stuff does play out for the better. While certain areas or plot or mechanics could have benefited from a more conservative execution, you really can’t fault the amount of stuff to do here. The eight main assassins of the plot who’ve been hired to kill Batman over the course of Christmas Eve don’t all function quite as you might expect, and there’s a real feel of a city uniformly gone to hell, of which the main mission is only a part. There’s been a good attempt to make sure side missions are varied in terms of activities, size and involvement, so it’s not just a split between ‘main mission’ and ‘busywork’. Memorable moments can sneak in anywhere.
One thing I could have actually had a lot more of was the newly expanded detective mode. Here, scanning a crime scene for clues builds a timeline that you can scrub through like a video recording – playing the moment back and forth as a computer generated overlay around you, as you look for clues. It’s never overly taxing but there’s something very satisfying about its CSI-style approach to building up a picture of what happened in order to find the MacGuffin you need to continue. I could take a whole game of that.
And then, on top of all this, there’s the multiplayer. I’d happily put that in a box labelled “things that don’t need to exist”, along with my credit card bill and about two thirds of Miley Cyrus’ tongue, but there’s no denying that Brink developer Splash Damage has done an admirable job of turning the main game’s mechanics into competent online experience.
It sees two criminal teams fighting it out while Batman and Robin zip between the rafters, trying to intimidate them into quitting. It basically plays like the main game, only with all the criminals player-controlled. It’s a fun addition and will easily take up your time, but its addition neither adds nor subtracts from the list of reasons to get this single-player experience.
No, the real attraction here is that this is the largest and most comprehensive interpretation of being Batman yet. For the comic book guys and girls out there it’s all you’ve ever wanted and more, while for the basic gamer it’s a satisfyingly large and varied experience. You could finish the main plot (a good 10+hours) and still only be 25-30% complete at best. The weighting of the remaining missions span everything from basic item collection to self contained story threads that almost feel like DLC that got left in. And what’s coming isn’t always obvious when you start any given bit, making the discovery of what’s expected far more interesting. The variation in texture as everything chops and changes is especially satisfying, and ensures you’re entertained throughout.
Most of the gains are in scale and size rather than substance, but this is still a satisfying adventure with only a few minor faults that’ll keep all but the hardest to please happy
Origins isn’t entirely a step up for the series – more a step on, that adds enough and expands in the right places to make this feel like a proper entry into the franchise rather than a simple mechanical sequel. There are some familiar elements – Arkham City’s ice grenades reappear as the mechanically identical glue grenades for example – and most of the gains are in scale and size rather than substance, but this is still a satisfying adventure with only a few minor faults that’ll keep all but the hardest to please happy. This is the free-roaming superhero game you’ve wanted since Arkham City teased with its urban segment: a huge and well populated take on an adventure as the World’s Greatest Detective, that rarely puts a foot wrong.
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