During my time at the 2013 Comic Con International in San Diego, I was invited to meet with producers for some hands-on time with Batman: Arkham Origins. Being a fan of the Arkham series I look forward to my meeting and was quickly brought up to speed on the background of the game I had of course scheduled interview that will be published later date. The game is set in the very early years of Batman’s career. At this point in time it was explained to me that he had done nothing more than take on petty thugs and criminals and had yet to face any of the super villains that with become such an iconic part of his universe. Due to his success, a contract is put out on his life, and various assassins have made their way to the city to try to collect.
Set during the holiday season it’s very interesting to see the spiraling Gotham City encased in snow which adds an interesting dimension to the gameplay element. After doing some free exploring of the city in which I learned that there were side quests which could be assigned at random times, I went into action stopping a bank robbery. I was able to make sure work of the bad guys are dropping down on them from above and using the free flow combat system that has been so successful in the previous two games. Being able to flip, stun, and deploy series of offenses moves was not only smooth and seamless, but highly enjoyable. I especially enjoyed a finishing move that allowed me to bring down my elbow onto the head of an enemy which resulted in a very quick lights out for the unfortunate scum.
After making my way through the city, I came upon explosives that were sent to cause massive damage to the holiday crowds. Going into detective mode I was able to disarm one through use of a cryptographic device, while the other one located some distance away was dispatched by simply taking down the security around it and punching through the control panel.
It was at this time that I encountered one of the newer enemies that had the ability to counterpunch my offense of moves. What this meant was not only could he block my attacks, but should anything fail to land, was able to immediately dispatch offense of cell phone of their own. This required me to come in blocking first and then once I had successfully blocked an attack, unleash a series of combos to take them down while being on guard block again at a moment’s notice. There was also a much larger opponent that could not be taken down through conventional attacks. I had to stun them first by whipping my cape at them and once this had been completed, I could finish them off with an all-out attack.
Shortly after completing this mission and helicopter went down in flames before me. Rushing to the scene I found that there were no survivors and quickly went into detective mode to analyze the crash scene. This allowed me to see where the helicopter first one into trouble and by investigating various locales where different parts of the helicopter had landed, I was able to piece together a trajectory that showed that the helicopter had been the victim of gunfire and where the bullet had been fired from.
Making their way up to the scene I found the sniper had already been killed and with a brief bit of investigation, saw that someone had taken out sniper with the ricocheted shot of their own.
Dropping down to the ground, I made my way to a hotel where I quickly became under attack by gun wielding goons. Much like the previous games I made my way around the gargoyles that adorned the lobby to dispatch those guys in groups of one or two by using stealth attacks from above. At this point the developer showed me an interesting new trick that I could use with the Batclaw. Once activated, I was able to tag an object, and if another object was in range, I could tag them as well. Once two objects were tagged successfully, the two objects would be drawn together in a collision. For example, tagging a canister and a bad guy will result in the canister smashing into the bad guy and taking them out. Should you tag a gargoyle and a bad guy, then said individual is immediately pulled out of the fight and become suspended in the air.
My demo session ended shortly after this experience but it made it very solid impression on me. Not only are we getting a new Batman story that contains all of the great gameplay mechanics and visuals that made the previous two in the series such massive hits, but were getting new features as well. Not only are the new weapons very interesting, but there is a fast travel system which will eliminate a lot of the time spent roaming back and forth between previously visited locales. I also really enjoy the holiday setting of the game and look forward to seeing what new surprises and features lay ahead when the game is released.