10th February 2014: Arkham Origins Done (Sort Of)
I don't have many games on my PS3, as I bought it primarily to be a Blu-ray player, but without doubt the best games I own for it are Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, both of which I played through twice, fully completing not only the stories but also all the secrets and riddles.
And so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into Arkham Origins. I patiently waited a few months to pick it up, as not only are new console games too expensive, I also wanted some serious patching to be done, after reading how many bugs were in the game at launch.
Unfortunately, even though a patch was available when I installed it, I still came across bugs and errors left and right as I struggled through the mess that Warner Brothers had turned this once fine series into. Here's just some of the bugs I can remember. Check these out:
- A whole bunch of times, hitting counter did not work and the goon would still clobber me. This was true even when Batman was not performing any other actions.
- In one fight, one enemy sank into the floor up to his waist, and we couldn't attack each other.
- In another fight, some goons had overturned a car and set it on fire. One of them sank into the underside of the car up to his waist, and kept trying to throw grenades at me, which vanished. This time, I was able to grab him out with my batclaw and finish him off.
- In a side mission to take out Penguin's weapon caches, I took one out while on my way to another mission. When I came to finish the Penguin side quest I had to take that cache out again, as it hadn't remembered.
- Sometimes Batman would fire his batclaw behind him, right towards the camera, when I was trying to aim it at the guys in front of me.
- Heading to save Black Mask from the Joker at the steel mill, I took out the armed guards, then got a message from Alfred telling me I can now track Electrocutioner whenever I want. I quite fancied his gloves for the upcoming battles, but couldn't see him anywhere on the map. So I guessed maybe it's an item back at the Batcave. I headed back there, but could still find no way to track him. I assumed (correctly, as it turns out) that it's actually something further on in the story, and the message was not true. So I went back to rescue Black Mask again. All the armed guards had respawned, and after taking them out, Alfred again gave me the exact same message that I can track Electrocutioner whenever I want. Lying game.
- A whole bunch of times, when I was sneaking up behind enemies, the option to perform a silent takedown did not present itself. This inevitably led to me being discovered a bunch of times by gun-toting goons as I scrambled around trying to find the right position to enable the move. This even happened during the final Bane fight, alerting him to my presence and pissing me off immensely.
- Just before the fight against Firefly, I jumped down into a group of his goons to find none of my attack buttons would work. None of the goons would attack me either. We could only circle each other menacingly. I had to reload the checkpoint and luckily it worked.
But bugs for me were not the main problem with this game. There were things that Warner Brothers changed (from Rocksteady's original two games) that I really didn't enjoy. Like I had with the previous games, I originally planned to finish this game to 100% completion and not just finish the campaign, so whenever I could solve a puzzle, collect datafiles, or destroy cameras, I would. I frequently broke away from the main story to complete side missions, do training in the Batcave, or do glide drills, knowing all would probably be required.
However, just 27% through the game, I gave up and decided to just finish the main story. Travelling around the city had become a total ball ache. So many enemies with guns and sniper rifles lined the rooftops that I couldn't go gliding down a single street without being shot at. The snipers could even seemingly see me (and in some cases shoot me) through solid brick.
Gunmen weren't only a problem when moving round the city, either. Just like Arkham City did compared to Arkham Asylum, this game once again greatly increased the amount of stealth missions. Sneaking around trying to take out one gunman at a time is not what I wanna do in a freaking beat 'em up game. I wanna plough fists first into a mob of enemies and wail on them 'til my knuckles bleed.
But there was very little joy in terms of close combat here. Not only were there not enough close combat fights in the game, but WB seem to have changed the AI of the enemies to make the fights very frustrating. The enemies always seemed to attack one after another in a continual sequence, forcing me to counter repeatedly. If I broke away from countering to throw an attack of my own, the enemy who was next scheduled to attack me would be free to clobber me as I attacked my target. I found this forced me into a very defensive mindset, at least until I had unlocked a few upgrades and started to unlock the special takedown moves. It was just not a very fun game to play all round.
And then, even after deciding to just finish the main story and ignore the rest of the game, I was still left disappointed. Because up to that point I'd concentrated just as much on finishing side quests as I had the main campaign, I assumed I was still a considerable distance away from the end of the story. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. All I had left to do from that point was defeat Firefly at the bridge, then take out Bane and the Joker at Blackgate Prison, and the campaign was over. By far the shortest storyline of all three games.
I only hope the rumours about Rocksteady returning to make the next game in the series are true.