Batman: Arkham Origins is the third installment in the Batman: Arkham series of video games; it serves as a prequel to both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and provides an insight into the early days of Batman's career. This is the first game in the series I have played extensively, despite owning the other two titles.
This game follows Batman/Bruce Wayne on Christmas Eve in Gotham City; the villain Black Mask places a significant bounty on your head, meaning the best and brightest villains flock to Gotham on Christmas Eve to take down Batman. I thought this was a great way to provide diversity in the villains you'll encounter, each with their own characteristics and different fighting styles; Bane, Copperhead, the Joker, Deadshot, Mad Hatter, Deathstroke, Electrocutioner and the Penguin are all villains that Batman will encounter in one way or another. The voice acting and motion capture of these characters is absolutely brilliant, and it was very enjoyable to face off against them.
This game is a sprawling open world brawler; Batman has a number of tools and gadgets to navigate the vast environments such as grappling hooks, glue grenades, smoke grenades and batarangs, all of which come in useful in a variety of ways. You can glide across the cityscape uninterrupted; this is one of the best features of the game, as the player is allowed to navigate the world as you choose without limitation.
Gameplay in Arkham Origins consists of engaging in fist fights with goons, sneaking around areas, solving puzzles and gliding around Gotham. Like previous entries in the series, Arkham Origins uses the freeflow combat system; as Batman, you can fly around a punch up whilst delivering hits and countering attacks. Different enemies require different fighting styles and techniques, and the enemy diversity as well as the range of tools means the fights are always entertaining and challenging. The stealth sections are equally entertaining, as you can use your tools and the environment to eliminate enemies undetected. You'll also come across challenging puzzles within the game, such as bypassing traps and blocked areas as well as solving puzzles left by Enigma.
Video and sound design in this game is also very good. Excellent attention to detail in combination with a highly appealing graphics engine, this game looks absolutely stunning on high settings. Voice acting and sound design is also fantastic, and feels like a highly authentic Batman experience.
This game was very enjoyable due to its highly polished gameplay and compelling story. Without spoilers, the scenes concerning the Joker and his early meetings with Batman provide a unique take on the story that I found extremely interesting and riveting for the game. If you enjoy action packed brawlers in an open world setting, I highly recommend this game. Loads of replay value and excellent value for money, Batman: Arkham Origins is an epic game for fans of Batman and action games in general