The Arkham series is often placed on a pedestal for being the best video-game portrayal of a superhero. They are centred around DC Comics’ Batman aka. Bruce Wayne, who is the perfect games protagonist due to his ludicrous arsenal of gadgets and brutal fighting style.
In July 2018, I purchased all the games in a Steam Sale for a mere £20 then turned to friends to ask just which game to start off with. As it turned out, Arkham Origins was the beginning of the story despite not being the first game in the series. I downloaded it, hit the launch button and braced myself for an exciting delve into the perspective of one of my favourite superheroes.
Many months later I’m still not finished with the game, only making it just less than halfway through the main story. This is because completing Origins feels like a chore.
Whilst gameplay is a mixed bag, the story is a slow burner
My job as the player is to struggle through repetitive gameplay until a boss eventually pops their head around the corner to give the artificial impression of progress. The fights are long-winded and fail to challenge me in any meaningful way, due to a low variety of moves on their part.
Despite these issues, the combat is quite good. The most enjoyable parts of the game are getting into fist fights with a variety of brutes but, when guns are thrown into the mix, the combat becomes nightmarishly tedious. The stealth mode of the game was initially quite fun but, unfortunately, it falls flat quite quickly as the enemies are unbelievably lacking in intelligence and each stealth scenario feels exactly the same as the last.
The fights are long-winded and fail to challenge me in any meaningful way, due to a low variety of moves on their part
Whilst gameplay is a mixed bag, the story is a slow burner. Until a satisfying twist, the narrative is hollow and lacking in excitement. The characters are dull and provide little other than their assigned roles: exposition, villain, or ally.
After a shock, things quickly improve and the story unfolds into a brilliant spectacle, carrying the mediocre gameplay along as you claw for more cutscenes and, most importantly, more interactions with Troy Baker’s chilling Joker.
2013’s Arkham Origins may be the beginning of the series chronologically, but I would definitely recommend either skipping it or playing it later on, rather than right off the bat. It’s not a brilliant introduction to the series and so release order is perhaps a better option for those looking to delve into the acclaimed Arkham world.