E3 2013: Batman: Arkham Origins (PS3) Preview
During E3, Warner Bros. Interactive gave us the chance to check out a new demo for the next installment of the Batman: Arkham gaming franchise in Batman: Arkham Origins, the prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. This new game features a younger Batman in his earlier years, so he’s still a little rough around the edges. Noticeably, Batman now has a new voice in Roger Craig Smith (previously Chris Redfield in the Resident Evil games and now Captain America in Avengers Assemble) instead of longtime Batman veteran voice actor Kevin Conroy. Smith’s iteration of Batman actually isn’t bad at all. It’s a similar attitude to Conroy, though since this is supposed to be a younger Batman, it sort of makes sense to have a different voice.
Now with Arkham Origins, I’m a bit concerned about franchise fatigue. Plus this is the first game in the franchise that wasn’t developed by Rocksteady Games. The story with Arkham City was so intense, and yet the story goes back with a prequel here instead of progressing the story forward. While the story for the game is intriguing, I’d really like to see the aftermath of Arkham City and Azreal’s ominous words to Batman that Gotham would burn. Plus Hush got away too. That being said, this game does look cool. The demo puts some time after early on in the game. The parts of Gotham City you get to explore are what later become the cordoned off areas of Gotham City. Buildings are crawling with criminals and crooks. You can stop crimes in progress or respond and help victims for the side mission portions of the game. This is enhanced by the crime-in-progress detector.
The demo lets you explore some of the side missions. If you continue with the main story mode, Batman investigates a police chopper crash. In a cool sequence, you actually recreate the crime scene using Detective Mode and your Cryptographic sequencer. You can see the crash was caused by a sniper that looks a lot like Deadshot. Batman then enters in a hotel and you get to try out a new Predator room. Controls and combat works much like the previous games. The free flow combat system from the previous game remains and thankfully still works well. The graphics look a little grittier and grainier. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or if the game is still waiting to get a little extra polish before its release. There are some fun new gadgets to use during the Predator room sequence including a grapple gun that attaches a line to an enemy and nearby object causing them to collide. After Batman clears the room, he ascends up the elevator and confronts The Joker (now voiced by Troy Baker). The Joker taunts Batman and blows up a nearby building. Batman tries to rough him up, but Bane shows up and intervenes and Batman is at their mercy.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be hitting the Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows PC on October 25.