I played Batman: Arkham Orgins today at the Tokyo Game Show. There’s been a lot of concern in the gaming community due to the fact that Warner Brothers and Rocksteady have handed over the cherished franchise to a somewhat unproven development team within the organization, and are hoping for the best. They have lost both lead voice actors Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, both who many would say were the definitive voices for the role. My mission today, to be quite blunt, was to see if I could find out if this new Batman game was a worthy successor to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City despite a changing of the guard, or was this simply just a cash grab by Warner Brothers to try and sneak one last game in on the PS3 with a peak install base before the PS4 comes out.
The first concern is the combat. Is it the same? I think so. It felt the same, and maybe it was just because it was an unfinished demo, but the there was a tiny hint that the combat was a little more sluggish than the previous games. I won’t come right and declare that is slower, but I kept questioning it as I was playing and couldn’t come up with an answer.
What I loved about Arkham City, was that the skyline and rooftop areas through the city were a blast to traverse. Grappling hook to this and glide over here, drop kick this guy, jump off a building, glide some more etc. The skyline in the demo today didn’t seem to have those same opportunities. A bit flat and basic.
Once I traversed the underwhelming skyline, I entered a room and I was presented with the ever so familiar gargoyle stealth room where guys are patrolling and you have to grapple from gargoyle to gargoyle to take guys out one by one. Everything seemed pretty standard until I saw a weapon in my arsenal that kept flashing (for the demo’s purpose). So I figured they wanted me to use it. After a lot of trial and error I finally figured out how to use this new Bat gadget. HOLY RIPCORD BATMAN!!! We have ourselves a new REALLY cool Bat-gadget. Walk with me. So you equip this gun and aim the target reticle. When you cross it over an enemy that can be targeted you press the command button. Now that you have established your target, you can now scan the environment for a gargoyle or some kind of explosive canister. When you target in on one, you hit the command button again. Now you will see a line from your initial target and the environmental target. If there’s a clear line of sight, you hit the command button again. This causes you to fire a grappling weapon at the environmental target which once makes contact shoots a grappling hook at your enemy target pulling them together. So explosive canister colliding with an enemy, you know how it ends. Very fun weapon, and seriously adds another dimension to an already almost perfect game.
So in the end, the city-scape could be better, the combats fine, no real gripes, and most importantly the new toy is really fun! This may be blasphemous and I may lose a lot of readers here, but as a lover of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, the change up in the voices didn’t bother me that much and dare, dare I say, they were pretty good.
I, as I assume you are, used to be a little bit concerned about the new Batman title. I’m not going to go crazy here, but if this comes out and people start saying it’s the best Batman game yet, I won’t be shocked. I’m not calling it, but it looks good, and it has the potential to be great. I will be getting this day 1.