'Batman: Arkham Origins' Explores The Dark Knight's Longest Night

October 28, 2013

Batman is one of the most important characters in all of pop culture, and has been for quite some time. He's one of an elite group of comic book characters that have crossed over into the mainstream, and done so in a grand fashion. From the comic books, to the TV shows, to the movies, to the merchandise, Batman is a franchise unto itself, and a beloved one at that. However, up until a few years ago, The Dark Knight had a bit of a rocky streak when it came to video games. It wasn't so much that Batman video games weren't good (well, some weren't), it's just that they didn’t capture the true essence of the storied vigilante, while emphasizing his world renowned detective skills. Fortunately for Batfans, that all changed in 2009, when Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released Batman: Arkham Asylum, developed by Rocksteady Games.

Arkham Asylum was an elaborate tale that demonstrated that Batman should be more than just a pair of fists. After the wild success of that release, the series expanded with 2011's Arkham City, which took the Bat, and the bad guys, out of the asylum and let them roam the streets of Gotham. Both of those releases were critical and commercial successes, helping to improve Bruce Wayne's video game legacy. Now, Batman is back in the latest entry to the Arkham series in Batman: Arkham Origins, which lets players don the cape and cowl once again. However, this title serves as a prequel, and explores one of Batman's longest nights from early on in his career.

Developer: WB Games Montreal
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

While the first two entries into the Arkham series were developed by Rocksteady Games, Origins was handed off to the freshman development team at WB Games Montreal. The studio has been around since 2010, and has actually worked on a previous Batman game, porting Arkham City for the Wii U's Armored Edition, but this is their first crack at a wholly original game. Wisely, they have not changed the formula of the game too drastically, and faithfully followed to examples set forth by Rocksteady in the earlier games.

Batman: Arkham Origins takes place early on in Batman's career, on one fateful Christmas Eve. While The Caped Crusader has only been patrolling the streets of Gotham for a short time, and is still a bit of an urban myth amongst the city's civilians, he has created a name for himself amongst the criminals. In fact, he's stirred the pot so much that one evil mastermind, Black Mask, has put a hearty price on his head, and enlisted the services of some of the world's top assassins to put an end to the Dark Knight. As Batman sets out to take down Black Mask, famous faces like Deathstroke, Deadshot, and Bane are all on the hunt for their bounty. As you progress through the game, each of the assassins serves as a boss battle, as there's a showdown with each of them, all of which put Batman to the test. As you navigate the streets of Gotham looking for clues to piece together the larger mystery of who's behind this night of terror, you'll cross paths with some other famous faces like Enigma and The Penguin, each of which plays a vital role in Batman's night long adventure.

Arkham Origins also introduces multiplayer to the series for the first time. For what has traditionally been considered a single player experience, this time around, Batman can take on the Invisible Predator Online mode. The mode is a unique take on the series, as it pits Batman and Robin against The Joker and Bane's gang members at Blackgate prison. The good guys have to eliminate the gang members, while the bad guys try to boost their respective bosses' abilities.

Arkham Origins snuck on to all of the current major platforms (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC) late last week. Handheld gamers also got their dose of Origins in the form of an entirely unique release: Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is a 2D, Metroidvania style release that tells a story that takes place three months after the console game, and centers around a series of unfortunate events at Blackgate prison. If that's not enough Arkham Origins for you, there is also an entirely original game for iOS devices, that lets you brawl your way through some of the console versions' deadly assassins.

A lot of people know Batman's origin story: it's been told countless times, in almost every form of media. However, the story of how Batman became the Dark Knight is a lot more interesting, and it's a story that hasn't been told in too many different places. Batman Arhkam Origins puts one of Batman's darkest nights under the spotlight, in its full glory. The other Arkham games give you a great idea of who Batman is, in a more traditional sense, but Arkham Origins lets you see him before Jim Gordon was on his side, before the Batmobile was built, and, perhaps most importantly, before he had seen just how twisted the criminals of Gotham can truly be. If you're up for the challenge, and you think you can handle finding out more about what makes Batman tick, then settle in for a wild night in Arkham Origins.