Jul 31, 2014
As Gotham City and the world at large looks towards the future and Batman: Arkham Knight, Android-centric gamers are only now getting a taste of what caped crusading in the early days of the Dark Knight’s career entail.
Batman: Arkham Origins, at its core, follows the template set by Infinity Blade. It’s a path taken by many a mobile title– including quite a few licensed ones, such as Man of Steel– but for the most part, Batman does it better than numerous others which have nipped at the popular title’s heels. It takes some of the key aspects of the console title of the same name– features such as story, setting, visuals, etc.– and grafts it onto a game more streamlined and arguably better suited for a mobile title.
As the recently-debuted Batman, players find themselves having caused a fair bit of trouble for one of Gotham City’s top crime bosses, the Black Skull. Black Skull is not terribly keen on this, and so he sets a massive bounty in the head of the Bat that draws in mercenaries from all over to take a stab– or various other kinds of lethal blows– at claiming the bounty. Among those the Dark Knight will contend with are the likes of the Electrocutioner, Copperhead, Bane, and Deathstroke the Terminator– as well as a number of random masked thugs here and there.
The game is free-to-play, which of course means that while playing is free, investments are needed in order to secure more desirable components in a timely manner. Though you can slowly accumulate soft currency, hard currency (the most expensive option of which is over $100) is likely the only way that anyone will be dressing up in a variety of the Batsuits available (each with their own stats and bonuses) in a timely manner. Among others is the Beyond Batsuit, which makes the prospect mighty tempting.
One can also customize the Batman in a number of ways, from different tools to restore health or unleash a flurry of bats on an opponent to increasing the effectiveness of punches and strikes. Different stances are even available, for those who would rather focus more on defense than offense. Certain options, however, require leveling up to a certain degree before they become accessible.
As players progress, more missions open up for Batman to swoop in and put a stop to. They begin in the upper-west side, but soon spread to all four quadrants of the Gotham City map, and no sooner than one crime is foiled than another pops up, along with occasional ambushes by those hunting the Black Skull’s Bat-bounty. This is where Free-to-Play rears its ugly head, as Batman can only go for so long, as measured by his Stamina bar. When depleted, there are of course two options: Wait for the bars to replenish over time until the amount required for a mission has been refilled, or say “Screw the rules; I have money!” and just buy a second wind.
Batman: Arkham Origins looks good and sounds great, too, presumably sharing its voice acting with the console title as Not-Kevin Conroy does a good job as a younger Master Wayne. The music is quite nice and fitting, reminiscent of the kind of tunes one might associate with the classic Batman: The Animated Series or some of the World’s Greatest Detective’s higher points in cinema. The touch and swipe-based controls work well for the most part, though we did notice that Batman seems slower to guard than he is to strike, the problems with which should be obvious.
All told, if one considers themselves a fan of Batman, yet for whatever reason could or would not play the console version, the mobile version of the game is a pretty good alternative for those still wishing to experience the story.