Batman: Arkham Origins is often considered the black sheep of the game series, but should it be? Here are 10 reasons it’s underrated.
Batman: Arkham Asylum spawned a giant, successful franchise. It consists of four main games, one animated movie, a couple of spin-off games, and a fifth game coming in 2022. It earned this legacy by providing one of the most epic retellings of Batman’s world.
However, one game did not do nearly as well as it’s predecessor nor what would follow. The prequel story, Arkham Origins was created to hold fans over until Arkham Knight came out. While it didn’t fail, it just didn’t leave as much of an impact as the other game. Over the years, Origins has gained a cult following as an underrated gem and this is why.
10 Satisfying Sidequests
Arkham Origins is not as massive as Arkham Knight but it does feature quite a few side quests in Gotham City. More and more keep adding up throughout the game that will keep the player busy long after the main story is over which is always a plus. They never become dull or irritating.
Even the infamous Riddler and his mission are at their best here. The only flaw is that Riddler’s challenge is much easier to beat than in previous games. The best part is that he barely talks, unlike in Arkham Knight where he’s neverending, making the player want to throw the controller.
9 The Glitches Have Been Fixed
The biggest problem that drove a lot of players crazy on the initial release was the glitches. Batman falling through the world, textures not popping in, and terrible framerates. Not so different from the recent Cyberpunk 2077 launch.
Also identical to Cyberpunk 2077 is that people were too quick to abandon the game. Over time, WB Games Montreal patched Arkham Origins and fixed the glitches. Now the game runs smoothly with small glitches only happening on rare occasions.
8 Perfect Batsuit
While there was nothing wrong with the base suits for each entry of the series, Origins nailed the look of Batman. In many ways, it’s the perfect suit for this early age Batman. It’s armored and militaristic but it still features enough flashy superhero design to scream: “Batman.”
This suit was actually so beloved that it returned as a DLC skin for Batman in Arkham Knight. As a plus, other skins like Noel and First Appearance are all great to have via the Season Pass.
7 Beautiful Holiday Setting
Winter and gothic settings mix together like chocolate and peanut butter. Emulating the same visuals and vibes of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, Arkham Origins is set on Christmas Eve. There is something undeniably satisfying about running across snowy rooftops and Holiday-theme areas.
The dark score even has hints of Christmas music. The theme of Christmas runs throughout the story and creates a brilliant atmosphere. In a way, it turns Arkham Origins into one of the definitive Christmas games; like the Die Hard of videogames.
6 The Best DLC Of The Franchise
The Arkham franchise has never had the strongest DLC. Typically the player just gets skins and they are pretty good, especially in Arkham Knight. However, Arkham Origins dials it up to an eleven. It adds Deathstroke as a playable character and he is very fun.
The Initiation DLC that shows Batman in his training was also great to see. However, the best comes in the form of Cold, Cold Heart featuring Mr. Freeze. It’s basically an extended interactive version of Mr. Freeze’s Heart Of Ice episode from Batman: The Animated Series. That alone is worth the Season Pass.
5 No Prequel-Itis
A lot of prequels suffer from not-subtly letting the audience know it’s a prequel. Or some twists and turns are ineffective because one already knows the characters’ fates in other titles. Arkham Origins surprisingly does not suffer from this.
Sure, it does what a prequel is supposed to do and introduce famous characters at a younger stage. Other than that, Arkham Origins is pretty self-contained and could actually be a great starting point for some people.
4 A Villain Roster Used Properly
The Arkham games would boast a massive cast of villains but several of them are just over-glorified cameos or poor boss fights. Arkham Origins nails its villains: each one providing easily some of the best boss fights in the series. Their roles are impactful and are jaw-dropping; especially the eight assassins hunting Batman.
Even the villains that have small roles are smartly written in a way to be effective. There’s even a villain who is taken out in one hit but it’s done properly unlike with Deathstroke in Arkham Knight. It’s also refreshing to see more obscure Batman villains rather than the typical ones.
3 A Grounded Story
While they were certainly effective, Arkham City and Arkham Knight definitely elevated to the heights of giant blockbusters. Arkham Origins dials way back and tells a more grounded and personal Batman story. It’s an early Batman so world-threatening plots are not a factor.
Instead, it’s showing his first time dealing with supervillains rather than mobs and basic criminals. Showing how he deals with it physically and mentally while he evolves from an urban boogeyman to a superhero. So while it may not be a gigantic as the others, it still delivers in telling a Batman story.
2 The Voice Cast Is Top Tier
Another grievance that gave Arkham Origins controversy even before launch was the cast. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill would not be returning to voice Batman and Joker. However, upon playing the game all the way through, people would realize that the replacements were splendid.
Roger Craig Smith is believable as a young Kevin Conroy but still adds his own flavor. Nolan North is still one of the best Penguins ever. The big one though is Troy Baker as The Joker and he is phenomenal. His impression of Mark Hamill’s Joker is downright uncanny and has rightfully become a fan-favorite over the years.
1 Batman And Alfred’s Relationship
Martin Jarvis delivered one of the best Alfred performances across the series. His strongest moments are easily in Arkham Origins; this is when he’s acting more like a concerned parent. He’s understandably worried about Bruce’s well-being.
It even puts him at odds with Batman. The two even have a fight with each other in the second act of the main story. Both characters grow with each other throughout and have some of the best banter. Even the simple bits of advice Alfred gives whenever the player returns to the Batcave is fun to listen to.
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