Batman Arkham Origins – Xbox 360 – The Darkest Knight is yet to come!

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So The Dark Knight is back – it’s been just over 2 years since Bruce Wayne’s last outing in Gotham. A sumptuous playground ripe for beating up bad guys whilst also doing what he does best with his detective work. The game was a masterpiece. Some die-hard fans complained it was a step to far from the claustrophobic feeling of Arkham Asylum. But personally I loved it. It gave an insight into what every fan boy dreams of. Being Batman, whilst also offering some pretty enticing gameplay…with a particularly shocking ending.

Well fast forward a couple of years and Rocksteady have passed the torch onto Warner Interactive. (Fittingly for Batman). There’s been whispers over the net since the first announcement. Concerns of the game not living up to it’s predecessors. Those fan boys have clearly spoken too soon, as Batman Arkham Origins, is another triumph in the Arkham franchise.

Set five years before Arkham Asylum, Origins shows a younger, more angry and reckless Batman who’s not been doing his crime fighting for that long. He’s struck a chord with the misfits and criminals of the city, but in turn they’ve called for Black Mask to bring in 8 of the world’s deadliest assassins to kill the bat. This is the first time Batman really has encountered what you’d call the ‘masks’ and before the night is out he’ll have had some pretty mind blowing encounters with some of Gotham’s deadliest super criminals.

The game itself doesn’t play dissimilarly to either previous Arkham games. Which is great for just jumping in and getting involved. There’s some additional new weaponry and also a much larger map for you to explore. Which is fantastic. In the previous Arkham outing, you glimpsed the high-rises of Gotham City in the distance, just out of your reach so it’s nice to now be able to glide your way around the darker corners of the city exploring whole new areas. Along the way you’ll encounter side missions and investigations for Batman to follow up.

Another new addition is being able to fly between areas of the city in the Batwing (extremely handy for saving time) and flying back to the Batcave, where Alfred will offer Bruce words of wisdom along with some extremely enticing new weaponry to try out on various Gotham thugs.

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The detail is phenomenal. Just standing in the Batcave and watching hundreds of fluttering bats dance in the moonlight above you is pretty spectacular. Not to mention the amount of detaiing in Gotham itself. As you’re out fighting on Xmas Eve (cleverly excusing the lack of Gothamites) you’ll see previous settings from past Arkham outings decked out in full Xmas regalia. It conjures up memories of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns alongside the more brutal Christian Bale outings. Something also matched by Batman’s more simplistic costume compared to ‘Arkham City’. This all helps to set the game apart.

Many people doubted it could truly be done but Warner Interactive have picked up the bat-on (‘scuse the pun) and run with it. Arkham Origins is a triumph and a breath of fresh air into the franchise…. Heck if Ben Affleck doesn’t live up to expectations – at least we’ll have Roger Craig Smith as our gaming Batman.