I had a gaming fail. You know how I sorta remember that Halloween is coming up a week before, and scramble to play a spooky game in time? That sort of happened again. I didn't know that this game took place on Christmas Eve until I started playing it. The problem? I started playing it the day after Christmas.
Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. It starts off with a villain going after Batman. Like Batman, this villain is rich, and has hired several villains to go after Batman. Despite his prominence in promotional materials, Deathstroke is merely one of them, so he's only a minor boss. Not long into the evening, you discover that someone is impersonating the villain, because he died last week. Zero guesses as to who is behind the mask.
The gameplay is based on the rhythmic fighting that the last two games featured. Despite the city being under a blizzard warning (residents are advised to stay home), gangsters hang out on the streets. Groups are easily avoided, but nothing is stopping you from beating them up. Edward Nigma has hidden several extortion and blackmail data caches around the city, along with jamming towers in every neighborhood. There are a lot of data caches inside intricate mechanisms, and since I left that storyline until last, I wasn't in the mood to collect them all. Once you have every piece of equipment from the main story, you can disable every tower, which I did before finishing the main story. (The tip to use glue grenades to create rafts wasn't given until almost the end of the game.)
Graphics and sound are as excellent as the last two entries. Since this takes place in winter, it's snowing all the time. I noticed how realistic the footsteps are on snowy rooftops, and how smashed down it was after a fight. (Is Batman the jaded emo version of Santa?) The city retains the gorgeous gothic architecture of the first game. The entirety of Arkham City's world is about half of this game's world. There was a bridge from there to the rest of the city, which you blow up in this one. Clever excuse.
I don't have much criticism for this game, only nitpicks. Your quest markers don't show when using detective mode (x-ray vision). The combo to perform an aerial attack is difficult to input. I had potential access to several batsuits, but I was unable to use them until after I finished the main story. By that time, the stock batsuit was looking rather shredded. If you look in the achievements for this game, there is one for a x50 combo. It seems impossible, but I got one while taking down a large crowd during the main story. It felt like being in a pinball machine, bouncing and thumping around the bumpers.
Especially in these trying times, I can understand why someone would want to lighten the mood. The problem is that Joker is so psychotic that he can't find anything but death funny. No, random death and destruction doesn't lighten the mood! Just chill, man! Can you describe some kind of mundane logical contradiction instead? Would that kill you?
I enjoyed this just as much as the last two games in the series. I haven't wrote a thesis on them, so I can't tell which one I like better. I can't say that I'm passionate about any of them; not even enough to put them on a list. Rest assured, I liked them all. I have Arkham Knight, but I'll wait until I have a breathtaking videocard before playing that.