Sunday, April 6, 2014

Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate Deluxe Edition (2014) Xbox 360

Rating: 3 out 5 Origins That Have Nothing To Do With Arkham

Plot Synopsis:  Blackgate has been taken over by villains, again, and it's your job to stop them, again.

The Good:

-It's more Batman and I love me some Batman.

-Several HUGE areas to explore and each area become more open as you collect gadgets so you are constantly finding new places that you couldn't get to before which really cuts down the tedium of backtracking that you have to do because even when you backtrack you find and see new stuff.

-This game is a little bit of Batman, a little bit of Mark of the Ninja and A LOT of Shadow Complex.  If, when you were playing Shadow Complex, you said to yourself "Self, I wish the fast gun play was replaced by Batman and melee combat." then this might be the perfect game for you.  It's not the perfect game for me but it was serviceable.

-Lots of Batsuits and each Batsuit offers different buffs, so that's cool.  I love a variety of costumes and I love them even more when they change something about the gameplay.

-There are clues everywhere and a bunch of cases for you to solve about how Blackgate got taken.

-Graphics are good, they expand it to a full screen and manage to keep it looking sexy.

-Controls are mostly fluent, there aren't many times that it was the controls fault that I failed, often there was something else to blame.

-The 2.5D environment is handled really well, the environment looks very 3D and there's a lot of depth and detail that hides that fact excellently.

The Bad:

-The plot is worn pretty thin.  It would be better if you didn't already deal with Blackgate riots/breakouts/trouble TWICE in Arkham Origins.  So I'm kind of already sick of Blackgate and its inability to stay not on fire and overrun by inmates.

-Stealth SUCKS.  The stealth sequences are just terrible.  Or maybe I'm just terrible at them.  The controls are fluent but despite that I'm constantly being seen and subsequently being killed during the stealth sequences.  There seems to be a specific way you need to do each sequence and if you don't follow it then you die but I did not, at any point, feel like a predator badass I mostly feel like a yutz.

-The combat is Batman combat, that isn't my problem, my problem is that the combat feels floaty and weightless.  In the main Batman games when you fight the hits have weight.  The sounds and the animation make you feel like the combat is actually happening, like your hits have consequences and weight.  This doesn't have that.  Combat functions fine, for the most part, but just lacks that bit of extra oomph.  There are times, however, when the 2.5D fucks with your lock on and you are unable to hit what you want to hit.

-As far as I can figure I there aren't any quickfire gadgets so combat is pretty much just punch and repeat.

-The map is a bit confusing so I had trouble plotting a path from point A to point B.

-There is this really annoying scan feature.  On the handhelds this was done with your finger so the feature is probably more convenient on that medium, here it can get tedious.  If you want to target anything you have to scan it first.  Basically if you want to interact with the environment you have to scan it first before using a gadget or whatever.  These things don't show up in Detective Vision which makes Detective Vision sort of extraneous.

-No Riddler.

The Ugly:

-It's an Arkham game so there's not a whole lot ugly about this game.

Final Thoughts:  There isn't a ton to say about this as it is pretty straight forward.  It's a Batman Arkham game, if that doesn't draw you in then you can probably skip it.  It's not an exceptional game but it's a solid game.  If you liked Shadow Complex then you'll probably like this.  If you like Metroid-vania style games then you'll probably like this.  If you like your games spiced with Batman then you'll probably like this.  If anything on the "Bad" list seems like a deal breaker to you then you can feel free to skip it.  If, like me, you have a compulsion to play every Arkham game then it's worth the $20.  It has a ton of places to explore and secrets to be found but it's no Arkham City.  When Origins came out my plan was to buy Origins, a PSP Vita and Blackgate.  Then I lost my job and I could no longer afford to get a Vita.  I'm really glad that this got ported because I really wanted to play it and while it's mildly disappointing, in that it isn't as good even the 360 Origins, I'm happy I got it and I think it was worth my money.

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