I’ve paid for one game in the last 6 months, Batman: Arkham Origins. As an Arkham title, not made by Rocksteady, it was always going to be a challenge for WB Montréal. Its lacklustre compared to the Kentish Town studio’s offering but certainly not deserving of the apparent vitriol for the third title in the series. However, it does prove the effect of the internet echo chamber on a title’s release.
To be clear, the gameplay is just as solid as other in the series. It would have been foolhardy for WB Montréal to fiddle with this, and I would advise anyone who enjoyed the mechanics of other titles to check out the step-child of the series. More apt criticism of the title was levied at the story and boss battles.
To address the latter these have never been the strong point of the series, even amongst the games produced in London. Outside Xbox has produced a fantastic video on Boss Battle tropes, from Quick Time Events to minion spamming these are the cheap tricks used to add unimaginative and contextual unnecessary challenge to the toughest parts of videos games. The aforementioned video highlights several examples within the Arkhamverse, both Canadian and British produced.
Batman… Not that good a story
Producing a good story was always going to be as challenge for cash-grab prequel made by another studio. It often noted that the most interesting thing about Batman is his enemies. Take the excellent Gotham, its second series is evident of this, with its subtitle – Rise of the Villains. But what do you do when the precursor studio has dibbs on Dark Knight’s best nemeses – Origins tried its best but unlike Rocksteady couldn’t get DC to produce a new character for their game. Furthermore, WB Montréal made a much bemoaned shoe horn in of the Clown Prince of Crime. But if the Joker wasn’t included, geek culture would have thrown a fit. As an aside, that’s not a spoiler when a studio produces marketing material
Also, I’d take issue with anyone who thinks that Batman has the best stories and Origins was inspired by one of the best. Batman: Year One is regarded as the second best title of the Dark Night continuum and one which was plumbed by Christopher Nolan for his own take on the universe. For those that have finished with Batman: Arkham Knight and skipped Origins, I’d recommend going back and checking it out. For those that felt that the Montréal studio should have been closed because of it had the indignity to produce an Arkham title – first it was it’s and Rocksteady’s parent companies decision, and second its already done another Arkham title with the additional content Batgirl: A Matter of Family.
Featured image is sourced from promotional material for Batman: Arkham Origins a title produced by WB Montréal. Used without permission, please contact squareblind (at) email (dot) com if you are the copyright holder and wish this image to be removed.