Hey guys, time to take a quick look at the Arkham series.
Admittedly, I probably should have done this as I was going along, but for some reason it didn’t entirely occur to me, much like the written review, the video review (at the bottom of this post) will cover the three games (Asylum/City/Origins) in one, neither review covers Arkham Knight, because I don’t have it.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
So, I only really started Arkham Asylum because it was requested back when I was playing Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions.
I mean, I enjoy Batman as a character and I knew the Arkham series were really popular, but I have tried to play Arkham Asylum three times so far and like often happens, I’ll sink 3 or 4 hours in and then distractions stop me coming back.
In part this is why I started streaming and discussing games afterwards, it’s always been a big deal to me to finish a game and now I have more reason to do it.
Part of what stopped me wanting to come back to the game was that I had started Asylum so much, it was more irritating than anything, but as a whole the game is good and I am glad I actually sat down to play through the entire thing, I loved the setting of the Asylum and by far consider it my favourite if only because it seems everything is so tightly knit together.
Batman: Arkham City
Essentially dealing with the fallout of Asylum, one of the things I would have liked to see is the transition, we’re just kind of thrown into the new setting quickly, as a way to get into the heart of the action no doubt.
It might just be me coming in from comic books, but I’m sort of used to the exposition taking longer than the real combat.
I really do think the open world was wasted on me specifically, I didn’t take much time to explore and didn’t look around for bonus items, as much as I appreciated having the space to play around in for me the majority of what I did was still just the core story.
On top of that, I both loved and loathed the Catwoman elements, they felt forced so the game could have a Deus-Ex Machina moment, without the game just throwing a God’s-hand solution at you, it was interesting to play a different character in the same world but it wasn’t something I needed in the game so much.
I would have liked it much more if Catwoman was a self contained mini-storyline that didn’t interact with the core game.
When it comes to fighting the Joker again, I can completely understand why he shows up as the bad guy, it’s a direct sequel covering the fallout from Asylum, but I would have liked it if he was passed over for another of Batman’s rogue gallery.
Batman: Arkham Origin
Now of City and Origin, I have to say Origin started out my favourite, getting to handle 8 Bounty Hunters in one night seemed like an opportunity to push the game.
I loved the idea of getting alerts of crimes in progress and officers in need of assistance, showing that Batman is more than just punching the crazy mob bosses, but honestly the sheer volume of calls for help just made me feel like Batman would never get anything done.
I also loved the inclusion of the crime scene detective mode, having to analyse individual aspects of a crime scene just felt more like an activity than “scan and follow” that we had in the previous games, it did however feel a little too convenient seeing how much information we could deduce without specific evidence for.
What really let me down however, was the plot and just hear me out for a second.
Firstly, it’s what? Year 2 of Batman’s existence and his collection of tech is in some ways superior to what Batman has in Asylum.
Second, Joker again? I wouldn’t have minded if Joker played a small part in the game, but it just really feels like they don’t have faith in any other of Batman’s bad guys and he has a great and rich selection to choose from, putting each of the other bad guys as what amounts to as mini-bosses just weakens the series, when many of them could have been the big bad in their own right.
Now overall, as the series progresses I actually feel like it’s pretty good.
I mean if we ditched the Joker in Origin, nerfed the “detective mode” (especially in Origin) you know what? Fuck it, I want Origin to be an Origin story, I want it to be without the tech, empty Batcave, don’t give me this “Year one” bull, make it start with Batman taking down street thugs and mobsters and as his reputation grows so too do the badguys.
I know a lot of people had issues with the combat in Origin and I am going to be straight up and tell you that I had no issue with it, literally the combat for me was just fine and dandy, maybe it is just my reluctance to use the counter move (I rarely need it) so combat for me is more just a flow of punches creating space so no one can sneak up and attack me.
I did have a hell of a time playing the Arkham series and I know I didn’t touch Arkham Knight yet, I’ll save that for the future and another review.
I can definitely see why Arkham Asylum got picked up and turned into a full series, my only concern is really that the games reinforce the idea that the Joker is the only villain that can be a “big bad” and Batman’s entire rogue gallery is just mini-bosses to fill the time to get to Joker, and that really pisses me off as Joker isn’t the smartest or toughest of Batman’s enemies, he’s just unrelenting, he always comes back but that doesn’t make him the best.
One thing in Origin did sort of piss me off, Bane working out Batman’s identity, this should have been a huge monumental moment and should have been the tipping point in a Batman game focused on Bane, instead it’s just a foot note in a game in which Bane is relegated to little more than a henchman.
From what I know of Arkham Knight they seem to have gone in almost the complete opposite direction, going from the over-used Joker to taking Jason Todd (former Robin) as the bad guy, am I alone in wanting to see some of Batman’s other enemies actually being used as more than cannon fodder?
Regardless of this, A++ would play again, though not for a while as I am a little burnt out on Batman for now.
Not to mention the bugs in Arkham Origin were hilarious, the opening fight against Killer Croc had me thinking the opening was a VR training mission, as Croc flickered in and out of existence.
Don’t want to read all of this? Check out this video.