PLOT: It's Christmas Eve and Black Mask and his mutant sledge hammer Killer Croc have orchestrated a breakout from Arkham Asylum with one intention; unleashing eight assassins to kill Batman.

 

@popcornjunkies on XBOX 360: I spent the week playing Batman: Arkham Origins (Xbox360) and so far I’ve had a good time stepping into the boots of Batman again.  It’s the third game in the Arkham game franchise and these games consistently capture the feeling of what it might be like to be Batman (minus the internal bleeding) and Origins is no exception.  The story is a prequel set in the early years of Bruce Wayne establishing himself as Batman in Gotham City.

 

I haven’t finished the game yet so these are first impressions.  It's produced by a different developer to the first two games and it shows.  Most of the gameplay is similar but outside of the beautiful cut-scenes, it’s a little scrappy in the graphics department on the 360 (no doubt due to the arrival of next gen consoles soon).   Although I was a little put off at first, the patchy graphics do add to the rookie vibe of Batman’s early days.  There are a few neat additions including new gadgets, access to a functioning Batcave that’s awesome and an enhanced detective mode that enables you to work through crime scenes.

 

The plot features lots of villains and references to the wider universe and there have been lots of cool little surprises so far.  It’s also great playing as Batman when he’s viewed by the police as a vigilante and not an ally. Origins takes place on Christmas Eve and has the vibe of a Shane Black film that I really like.

 

Gamers have been spoilt with the previous Arkham games and Origins is probably going to be a victim of high expectations.  Despite a few niggles, the core of Origins is that it is mad fun being Batman and this game has delivered that experience for me so far.

Arkhamr

@blakeisbatman on PS3: Firstly I have not finished Batman: Arkham Origins (PS3) totally BUT so far I love it. There hasn’t been the same graphical leap as the contrast between Asylum and City (especially because of the expansion into 3D) but that doesn’t really matter to anyone while we’re on the precipice of next gen consoles PS4 and XBOX One.

The biggest worry was that the the Rocksteady team behind the universally acclaimed Arkham Asylum and Arkham City handed over the reins to their amazing interactive Batman franchise it felt like that agonising pregnant pause between Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. With Batman animated series alums Paul Dini, Mark Hamill and THE DEFINITIVE voice of Batman Kevin Conroy not along for this new ride this Bat geek felt like I just got a dose of Scarecrow fear toxin. WAKE UP. Alfred has some green drink and the dulcet tones of Lucious Fox are here to reassure you; WB Montreal bring you that familiar kick ass style but revisit a time before the Joker was orchestrating the world's greatest detective's demise. Arkham Origins rewinds to a Scott Snyder or 'Year Two' rougher bats; and Nolan/Bale's influence is definitely present.

Great game series (for example the original Gears of War trilogy) do it right; once you've established a format, specifically an engine and a tone you don't need to reinvent the wheel every time. Expanding the story in this occupied Gotham has me completely hooked.

Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @popcornjunkies

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Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.

BLAKE HOWARD IS A FILM CRITIC & THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CO-FOUNDER OF AUSTRALIAN FILM BLOG GRAFFITI WITH PUNCTUATION . BLAKE IS THE HOST OF THE ONE HEAT MINUTE PODCAST. BLAKE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ONLINE FILM CRITIC SOCIETY (AND A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING COMMITTEE), IS A CO-HOST OF GAGGLE OF GEEKS ON SYDNEY'S 2SER COMMUNITY RADIO, A COLUMNIST AT THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE INSTITUTION DARK HORIZONS AND SWAYS THE TOMATO METER WITH ROTTEN TOMATOES APPROVED REVIEWS.