STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE
While little effort was made to overhaul the core gameplay concepts, there are several nice touches that make Origins a worthwhile beat-em-up for The Bat. Forget about Batman as rookie – he’s just as adept at flipping around and cracking skulls with effortless style. He also comes ready-made with plenty of tech, so there’s no real ‘learning the ropes’ stage to push through.
Bane, the Penguin, Killer Croc, and other favorites return with central roles in the narrative. But the likes of Copperhead, Firefly, Dead Shot, Deathstroke, Electrocutioner, Shiva and other B-list Gotham ghouls also make their presence known as would-be Batman assassins. It’s nice to see some of the lesser villains get a chance in the spotlight – there’s only so many ways to reimagine the classic Gotham antagonists after all.
The simple but entertaining equation of Batman = badass has not been interrupted.
Origins leans into its new cast and slightly more expansive premise by offering a comic book style Synopsis. Pop open this pane on the pause menu and behold the game’s plot up to that point, rendered as a stylish graphic novel. It’s a great way to reinvigorate interest in a lackluster story and art design, when neither the writing nor the world itself are top shelf.
Origins doubles down on detective mode to great effect. While problem solving crime scenes, Batman can now rewind and fast-forward the events of the crime to look for clues or discern cause and effect. Stop the recreated action at exactly the moment that will provide insight into the trajectory of a bullet, or allow analysis on a key piece of partially destroyed evidence.
Batman can now speed with his zip line and quickly swooping to new locations. There’s a legitimate fast travel system now, via the Bat-Wing. The Dark Knight can even dive-bomb onto unsuspecting 7-11 lifters, knocking them cold in spectacular fashion.
So while the world around Batman hasn’t necessarily been spruced up too much, he’s been given new freedoms to vertically traverse and exploit his Gotham. While similar attention would have been welcome to other sections of the game, WB Games chose the right area to focus on. The simple but entertaining equation of Batman = badass has not been interrupted.