"Batman: Arkham Origins"
Sony PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360, PC)
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.0 stars
It's no secret that the recent Batman reboot is the most successful and well-made superhero game series to date. Not only are these titles extremely fun to play, but they're also highly imaginative and filled with hidden content. Yet, although the third game in the series, "Batman: Arkham Origins," faithfully follows the concepts presented in the prequels, it doesn't offer many new ideas.
When the nefarious villain, Black Mask, escapes from prison, it's up to Batman to bring him to justice. However, Black Mask has grown tired of the caped crusader's interloping, so he puts a rather large bounty on the bat's head. Eight well-known assassins, including Killer Croc, Bane and Deathstroke, answer the call, making Batman's job more dangerous than ever.
Although this game is a prequel, Batman still uses familiar gadgets and beats down opponents with free-flow combat. It's kind of odd to see the young superhero utilize advanced moves and items not found in previous games (confused yet?). For example, the Tesla-inspired Shock Gloves easily penetrate the defenses of most enemies, so why wouldn't they become a permanent armament?
Other new gadgets include the blinding Concussion Detonator, the EMP-releasing Disruptor and the handy Glue Gun. It's great fun to combine these cool devices with Batman's flowing combat to take out large groups of enemies! When more advanced adversaries -- like armored enforcers, venom users and martial artists -- enter the arena, these new gadgets become necessary for victory.
Exploring new sections of Gotham is interesting at first, but the lack of civilians makes it seem like a ghost town. I appreciate the option to stop random crimes in progress, but that usually ends up as little more than fighting a group of enemies. Thankfully, optional hidden missions, which include taking down Gotham's Most Wanted criminals like Anarky and Penguin, add needed variety.
"Batman: Arkham Origins" is fun and exciting, but it lacks originality.