Batman: Arkham Origins was the first game I played on the Playstation 3; it was my introduction to the next generation of game console. Once I had sorted out the settings, I was blown away by the look and feel of the game. I recently revisited the game to try and earn a few more of the trophies. In the process of doing so I learned that the gameplay is broken and buggy, but it does do characters well.
The setting of the game is appropriate for the time of year as it all takes place on Christmas Eve. Patrolling a festively decorated Gotham City intensifies the importance of the job Batman is doing: protecting the innocent citizens hidden away in their homes. It highlights Bruce Wayne’s loss of his parents and the lonely lifestyle he leads, but also the strength of his relationship with his butler – and surrogate father – Alfred.
An important theme of the game is how Batman comes to realise that he cannot do what he does without allies, despite his early protestations otherwise. By the end of the game we start to see the bonds forming between Captain Gordon and Batman which play such a pivotal role in many Batman stories.
Batman is also brought close to another character in the narrative of this game: the Joker. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Joker is portrayed in a sympathetic light, however his sadness and mental ill-health are written large – the Joker attempts to kill himself twice, both times being saved by Batman. We see in Arkham Origins the genesis of the co-dependent relationship between Batman and the Joker which Alan Moore captured so expertly in Batman: The Killing Joke.
Having completed the game in the New Game Plus mode, I think it is time to say goodbye to Arkham Origins. There is a further level of difficulty (I am the night mode) but it’s addition of a permadeath feature in a game where simple fights can very quickly take a turn south, means that I am unlikely to revisit it.