Sunday, October 27, 2013

The earliest of Impressions - Batman: Arkham Origins.

It's not as good as Arkham City.  Period.

All the moving parts are here, but they aren't assembled as elegantly as you'd find in a Rocksteady title - and that's ignoring technical issues like hard freezes and mission markers suddenly disappearing, which wouldn't be such a problem if the map weren't really, really big.

It doesn't feel like it needs to be this big.  It feels like it has this much real estate just so they could say "a world map twice the size of Arkham City!"

Technical foibles I can stand, but the craft of the package is also lacking, when compared to the last two games.  I buy that this is Batman and that's the Joker, but this feels like a less loving rendition of the Batman mythos.  The folks at Rocksteady really loved Batman, and you could tell - it seeped from every inch of Arkham Asylum and City.  I've little doubt there are many folks at Warner Bros. Montreal who love Batman too, but I get the sense that some of the team, at least, was just tryin' to put out something halfway decent and get their bills paid.

And it is halfway decent.  It's not bad by any stretch of the imagination - it's just not as smart and polished as one expects of the series.  It's not a game that's strictly in tune with the player's Gamer Sense, regularly offering puzzles with an answer one couldn't reasonably intuit, regularly demanding mechanics that don't entirely work as described.

It's not bad, to the point that I have every intention to keep playing, and am keeping hope alive that it will get better - but, ladies and gentlemen, this is no Arkham City.

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