The Dark Knight rises in Batman: Arkham Origins

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Arkham Origins 1

Update: A ton of new screenshots and artwork has just been unleashed, via AGB.

In the gaming industry, you either live long enough to die as a hero, or see yourself become the trilogy-capping third game. Yep, looks like those rumours of a new Batman game were true after all, and while you can’t see it from that side, I’m wearing the biggest possible Joker grin right now as I write this.

Game Informer has the scoop on this one, as Rocksteady has passed the prequel torch on to Warner Bros Montreal for the third game, which will chart the rise of the infamous asylum. The Batman is going to have his work cut out for him on the streets of Gotham though, as he’ll be encountering familiar faces for the first time.

Mob Boss Black Mask appears to be the primary villain in this prequel, as a bounty that he has placed on the head of the Dark Knight has brought in the best assassins from around the world. According to Rocksteady via NeoGAF, this Batman is younger and fresher, while the combat system will have “new layers, new opportunities, and new tactics”.

Arkham Origins 2

Other new features include:

– New enemy types
– Batman not as finely honed as in the previous games
– Won’t control the Batwing directly
– Batwing will figure into story sequences and acts as a universe-appropriate form of fast travel
– Has the traditional predator mode in which players swing from perch to perch, glide kick, string guys upside-down, etc.
– New remote claw that is like the grappler in Just Cause 2
– Batman targets two objects and fires out a claw
– This hooks into the first object and launches another claw and rope to the second object
– Can then pull the two objects together
– Use this to knock enemies together, slam heavy objects into foes, string objects or people under a perch
– Can string up an explosive barrel under a perch, lure enemies with a sonic batarang, then cut the rope with a normal batarang, dropping the explosive on their heads
– Team knows Black Mask isn’t the most popular villain
– Old Gotham is only half of the game world
– Another new entire area is across the bridge called New Gotham
– New Gotham is classier and has much taller skyscrapers
– New zone doubles the size of the game world
– Players can dismantle the hacked tower network
– Towers emit a jamming signal that prevents the Batwing from flying into the area, meaning no fast travel
– It also halts Batman’s sensors from placing points of interest on the map
– Taking down the towers are varied and require all of Batman’s navigation, puzzle solving, and combat skills
– Some can be taken down quickly, others must be returned to later with an upgrade
– “Crime in Progress”: ex – saving some cops from a group of thugs, rescuing a snitch from being tossed off a roof
– Activities give Batman a chance for experience point bonuses
– Completing side quests also contributes to the GCPD’s understanding and appreciation of Batman
– They will begin to know Batman and which side he stands on based on how much you take on the optional missions
– Most Wanted system gives players a chance to go after villains outside of the core storyline
– These optional side missions can be tackled when you discover them
– Many optional missions offer upgrades
– Batman’s butler Alfred may notice that he had a tough time in that situation and give him a new gadget
– Dark Knight system is slightly more behind the scenes, though it’s still important
– Dark Knight system provides a lengthy string of tasks that slowly goes up in difficulty as the game progresses
– The team wants to avoid boring tutorials while still training players to be masters of predator and combat systems
– Complete a certain number of counters or silent takedowns to receive XP rewards or a specific upgrade
– Dark Knight system doesn’t replace challenge mode
– Team wants to make challenges more meaningful

Alongside the console version of Arkham Origins, a handheld sidekick version of the game will also be released on the Sony Playstation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Working in two and a half dimensions, much like my sleep-addled brain right now, Arkham Origins Blackgate is being handled by Armature Studio, and will shed more light on the past of the caped crusader.

Spoiler: His parents are dead. DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAD.

Am I looking forward to this as a fan? You damn right I am. But on a professional level, it does kind of feel a tad unnecessary. I loved both Arkham games, and to me, Arkham City ended dramatically and wrapped up without the need for any further exposition whatsoever.

And a third part of me just dropped the people’s elbow on the pessimistic part of me while shouting BATMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

Batman: Arkham Origins is out October 25 for PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.

Last Updated: April 10, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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