Review: Batman - Arkham Origins / Platform: iOS / Release Date: Out Now
With the release of another high profile superhero videogame comes the now-inevitable handheld mobile phone tie-in. After the entertaining Arkham City Lockdown, Injustice: Gods Among Us and Man of Steel side-swiping beat 'em ups (these days it’s either that or a Temple Run style dash 'em up) we have Arkham Origins, which pits a young neophyte Batman against the might of Black Mask, Deathstroke and a whole host of other Arkham assassins.
Arkham Origins closely follows the template set by Lockdown, Injustice and Man of Steel. The Dark Knight enters one of Gotham’s many combat arenas, happens across a goon (and occasionally, a boss character) and the two of them stand there trading blows until one of them falls over. If you’ve played any of the previous games, you know the deal; kicks and punches are dealt with frantic finger-swipes across the touchscreen, occasionally throwing a batarang or special move into the mix to shake things up. There are challenges to challenge, points to be earned and shiny new Batsuits to be bought. As usual, the game would love for you to spend your own real-world money on unlocking some of the shiny new things (well, I would love a Long Halloween Batsuit) but it’s perfectly playable without doing so.
The graphics are astonishingly good; with the (i) phone we were playing it on having no trouble at all, even in the heat of combat or during the introductory animations. A variety of upgrades and unlockable Batsuits (including Red Son, The Dark Knight and Batman Beyond) should keep players entertained, while the battles are short and sweet enough that you can dip in and out of gameplay whenever you feel like it. Sure, it’s a little repetitive, and this writer wasn't too keen on Bat's Arkham Origins suit, but there’s no beating the totally Batman-like feeling of accomplishment you get, when literally headbutting an opponent into submission while bedecked as the goddamn Batman. There’s even a mission where the Caped Crusader has to ‘save Christmas’ by rescuing orphans’ Christmas presents from a gang of thieving goons. We don’t get to see the orphans or their Christmas presents, but it’s a cute touch.
Prior to Arkham Asylum, good Batman games were hard to come by. Now we get them for free on our handheld mobile telephone devices. Truly, we are living in the golden age of video gaming.