Oct 25 2013 11:00am

Gaming Roundup: Arkham Origins Explores Batman’s Early Years

Batman Arkham Origins

In his early years, Gotham’s Dark Knight occasionally came across as a brash, raw, and aggressive protector (especially evidenced throughout the Legends of the Dark Knight arcs). Warner Bros.’ Batman: Arkham Origins is an attempt to recapture this era of Batman—the early years, if you will. Despite some early trepidation due to the fact that the franchise was moving away from original developer Rocksteady and into the hands of relative newcomer, Warner Bros. Games Montreal, everything we’ve seen and heard regarding the game thus far indicates that Arkham Origins is a worthy successor to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

Set five years prior to the events of Arkham Asylum, Arkham Origins posits Batman as a relative rookie of a crime fighter in the second year of his career, and no one—be it cop or criminal—is quite sure what to make of him yet. It’s Christmas Eve and Black Mask, head of Gotham’s criminal underworld, has just set a $50 million bounty on Batman’s head, attracting eight of the world’s most talented assassins to Gotham, including Deadshot, Deathstroke, Bane, Killer Croc, and Shiva. At the same time, several gangs and crime lords (including Joker, Penguin, and Mad Hatter) have taken this opportunity to wreak general havoc in the city—because Bruce’s day wasn’t quite bad enough to begin with. To top it off, the GCPD has not yet established a trust with Batman, which means he’s on their wanted list, as well. And we haven’t even mentioned the rogue SWAT team out to collect Black Mask’s bounty themselves...

Yeah, holidays can be rough. If you’d like a sense of how the game plays (hint: pretty similarly, in feel, to the previous Arkham titles), check out this 17 minute gameplay trailer released Monday. Given the look of the gameplay, if you enjoyed the previous two games, you’re going to love Origins.

Batman: Arkham Origins launches today and is available on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U.

In other gaming news this week, the Kingdom Hearts 2 remake is on the way, Assassin’s Creed IV nears launch, and Titanfall gets a release date. Read on!

  • A heads-up to you Kingdom Hearts fans: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix is due out in 2014. Have a gander at the latest trailer.

  • One of the Xbox One’s most anticipated games, the mech-based Titanfall, launches on March 11, 2014.
  • Path of Exile, the popular and critically acclaimed free-to-play MMO that many consider to be the true successor to Diablo, is hitting Steam. The price? Still free.
  • Think you’ve seen all there is to see in GTA V? Think again. Check out IGN’s list of paranormal easter eggs for sea monsters, ghosts, aliens, and more.
  • Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD, formerly a PS Vita exclusive set in 1800s New Orleans, is coming to the PSN on January 14.
  • Speaking of Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft has released a 9 minute 101 video for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag that covers all the basics of what you can expect from the game. AC IV launches October 29 for current-gen consoles, and shortly thereafter on next-gen (Nov 15, 19, and 22 for PS4, PC, and Xbox One, respectively).

  • On a next-gen note, PS4 owners will have exclusive access to any AC IV or Watch Dogs downloadable content for the first six months after game release.
  • If you want to play God, or simply just create tiny people and drown them in pools with no ladders, you should be aware that Sims 4 is launching in Fall 2014.
  • What went wrong with the launch of the Ouya console? Lots of things, according to CEO Julie Uhrman. The good thing is they’re clearly aware of their mistakes and the more competition there is in the console marketplace, the better.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
Liberation is also coming to XboxLive, and if you get the Season Pass for Black Flag it has a 25% discount.

Having finally started AC-III, I can see why people were let down. The writers are playing the story too coy, and they screwed up the previously perfect combat system.

It's really made me rethink my decision to preorder Black Flag. My love for the previous ones made it seem like sure fire awesome, but wow the flaws in 3 have been a big turn off.

The one question I've had about Black Flag is, are they bringing back the High Profile/Low Profile gameplay system. Not ONE of the videos(and I've looked at a few) or articles addresses this, which makes me nervous.

One of the videos I watched, a gameplay video narrated by the lead game designer, specifically addresses some of the flaws of AC-III, but not that one, which makes me think they've changed the system but not returned to the old one. And I really miss the old one.
Christopher Morgan
2. cmorgan
I've heard nothing but good things about Path of Exile so far. Really looking forward to playing that. Picked it up the Wendsday, just haven't had the time to get down to it. I'm unsure about Batman though, it looks like there is a review embargo going right up until release and they still aren't letting certain prominent reviewers, like Penny Arcade, have a early crack at it. Which makes me wary.
Pritpaul Bains
3. Kickpuncher
@1 Aeryl - Thanks for mentioning Liberation's Xbox Live launch! Forgot to work that in. I have IV on pre-order (here's hoping for a return to form) but ended up trading in III unplayed when I picked up GTA V - too many games, too little time. =(

@2 cmorgan - I've been meaning to get to Path of Exile for ages - big fan of the genre - but haven't gotten around to it. Hoping to remedy that this weekend.

I was wondering why I couldn't find more concrete info around the web on the game itself - a review embargo would explain that particular issue. Hmm...
Nathan Martin
4. lerris
I'm cautiously optimistic about AC4.
My observation on the pattern of the series is that every game they introduce new gameplay elements. Those that work, stay, those that don't, don't. And I had a lot of fun with the naval combat missions in AC3.
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
@4, I've noticed that too, which is why I'm optimistic. What I'm inferring from the videos, is the combat is still similar to AC-III, but hopefully more refined.

I've been playing for about a week and I'm starting to get the hang of the new system, but I miss holding the trigger for a defensive crouch. It was helpful.

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