Batman: Arkham Origins
It seems that Gotham is at its most dangerous at Christmas time. That is if you're Batman of course.
In his latest adventure and the first one not told by Rocksteady Batman will return to his second Christmas as Gotham's crime boss gives Batman a special present of a 50 million USD bounty for the man that kills him on Christmas Eve.
We took a look at some gameplay footage which shows not only that Batman seems to be as good as ever but that Warner Bros Montreal may have managed to build on the successful platform created by Rocksteady's first two Batman title.
The night begins as you would expect with Batman high above the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City searching for ways to get at the Black Mask to try and neutralise the threat that the bounty poses.
Batman: Arkham Origins is more than twice as big Arkham City with the whole of Gotham City featuring this time. This will be the first time that the Batcave will feature in a Batman game and Warner Bros Montreal have designed it as a gameplay hub for Batman to access new gadgets, criminal intelligence, advice from Alfred and training and challenge opportunities.
The Batcave has a full new training area which will allow players to access training programmes and challenge maps. It is especially handy to try out new gadgets before using them in the field. The demo shows off Batman testing his Concussion Detonator, a new gadget that can stun multiple enemies allowing him to take on large groups of thugs far more easily.
His journey to the Batcave to pick up the Concussion Detonator did have a purpose – to tool him up for breaking into one of Gotham City Police Department precincts.
At this early stage in Batman's career he is still wanted by the city's corrupt police for his actions as a vigilante and so he needs to break in to steal information on criminals and their activities rather than accessing it directly from the Batcomputer or giving Commissioner Gordon a call.
All of Batman's familiar tools are here. There's Detective Mode for his Batsuit allowing him to anallyse his surroundings as well as the usual array of useful toys from smoke pellets to a variety of different Batarangs and grappling tools.
It seems to take a bit of a lead from Just Cause 2 here with Batman able to tether fire extinguishers to targets causing them to explode which creates a distraction and a cloud of smoke which Batman can use to his advantage.
The combat here seems to be working really well again. The Batman games have always benefited from a simple yet dynamic combat system and Batman: Arkham Origins seems to refine this again. All of his useful moves are there for taking on thugs with a variety of armaments are there and it looks like the combat really retains its comfortable flow.
Sneaking around the Gotham City Police Department shows just how well the stealth gameplay has been developed with Batman now having the ability to snap to cover rather than just jumping into corner cover. This coupled with all of Batman's wonderful toys make the stealth element seem even more compelling than before.
The gameplay playthrough hints at some of the more interesting points in the narrative as well with Commissioner Loeb dying early on in the game bringing turmoil to the GCPD as Jim Gordon takes over as Commissioner. It also seems to feature his daughter Barbara although whether she'll star as Batgirl as well is not clear.
Batman: Arkham Origins is shaping up to be the biggest and darkest adventure in the series so far and choosing to tell a story of Batman's early career really adds an interesting dimension to the game's narrative.
If it is pitched as well as it looks this could prove to be a defining moment in what is already one of the game series of this console generation.
Batman: Arkham Origins is due out on Friday, October 25th on Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC and Wii U versions are due to follow on November the 8th.
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