Batman: Arkham Origins, a game we may have mentioned once or twice, arrives today, and to be honest, if you’ve played the previous two Arkham games, you know what to expect in the broad strokes. It’s the details that stand out, and here are five you need to know going in.
You Start With A Lot More Gadgets
While there are plenty of gadgets to find and unlock in the course of the game, you’ll have a surprising amount of gadgets at your disposal right from the start. Take a few moments to get familiar with them; they all handle essentially the same as previous games but you’re going to need them, because…
The Game Is Harder. Much Harder.
First and foremost, even on normal mode, go in expecting a challenge. Everything you remember about the combat mechanics is absolutely unchanged, but the difficulty has also been tuned much higher. You may start with a lot of gadgets and toys, but if you try to jump in the middle of a bunch of mooks and start your rhythmic button-pressing right at the start, you’re going to get killed.
The Map’s Going To Be Empty, At First
Batman: Arkham Origins follows the mode of most open world games in that they want to get you started on the story, first, before the game fills up with side missions and other stunts you can tackle. There will be plenty to do; the game has passive challenges that you can view in the pause menu, as well as moments you can take to, for example, try and glide through a few rings to earn a stat bonus. But you’re going to want to tackle the early story missions first, get those unlocked, and then start sorting through the side missions.
Most Of The Villains You’ll Find In The Side Missions
Despite the eight assassins the game keeps talking about, you’ll actually need to dig into the side missions to find and defeat every villain in the game… or, for that matter, to meet every ally. And you’ll definitely want to, if for no other reason than to beat up supervillains.
If You See Somebody Walking Around, You Can Hit Them
Gotham is a pretty big game world here; essentially this is two Arkham Cities held together by a bridge, which you have to cross a lot, annoyingly. And it’s also an empty one; Christmas Eve in Gotham, apparently everybody who isn’t a crook is out of town. But that does have an important gameplay use; it means if you see somebody walking around, there might be something of interest.
As far as the game itself, the reviews have it nailed: It’s not pushing the series to many new places. But so what? That’s like arguing your favorite store doesn’t revolutionize your favorite sandwich every time you go buy it. That said, this is mostly WB Montreal proving itself; we’ll be curious to see what they make next, and what Rocksteady has in store for the next console generation.