Batman: Arkham Origins ReviewClayMeow - November 19, 2013
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Batman: Arkham Origins
Replayability has always been a big part of the franchise and Origins is no exception. As in the previous games, you once again have Riddler Trophies to find and acquire, this time called Enigma Data Packs. Yes, this is also the first time Batman and Enigma interact with each other, which as with The Joker, leads to some interesting and thought provoking conversations. As in Arkham City, you can beat up and interrogate Enigma's henchmen, scattered across the map, to unveil Enigma Data Pack locations on your map. And also like the previous game, certain Data Packs are only reachable after you acquire the necessary gadgets. In order to infiltrate Enigma's HQ, you'll not only have to find every data pack, but also destroy every Network Relay. There are ten relays within each of the seven districts for a total of 70, plus one GCR Comm Tower in each that needs to be hacked.
Restoring a Comm Tower also allows you to use your Batwing to fast-travel to and from that district, so even if you have no desire to find every collectible and enter Enigma's HQ, at least dealing with each Comm Tower should be on your list of things to do. The Batwing fast-travel system is a new addition to the series and a much needed one. The game world is essentially double the size of Arkham City, so it's nice to have the ability to go from one end of the map to the other (after you've unlocked the towers). You can only engage fast-travel if you're outdoors, not in combat, and in a district where you unlocked the tower (or in the Bat Cave); so it keeps the fast-travel system feeling natural rather than just a game system.
Aside from the Enigma Data Packs and Network Relays, there are also Anarky Tags scattered across the map that can only be seen via Detective Vision and Cyrus Pinkney Plaques that can be seen in both vision modes, but are small and hidden very well. Scanning either of them grants you a healthy dose of experience, with the latter unlocking some journal logs. Lastly, there is the Dark Knight System, which is a series of in-game challenges divided into four categories: Shadow Vigilante involves combat challenges; Gotham Protector is a random assortment of challenges, such as gliding a certain distance; Worst Nightmare involves Predator and stealth challenges; and World's Greatest Detective is completed by solving numerous murder mysteries. Each category has 15 ranks. Achieving Rank 15 in a category gets you an achievement, but there are also unlocks along the way – like the aforementioned Sonic Batarang. The only small issue I have with the system is that they can only be completed during the story modes – you cannot complete the Shadow Vigilante or Worst Nightmare challenges by completing Challenge Maps, which means you may run out of Predator Arenas if you're not careful and thus have to try again in New Game Plus. As you can see below, I have to do just that because I didn't pay attention to the Worst Nightmare challenges until it was too late.
In addition to the side missions and collectibles during the story mode and the aforementioned New Game Plus mode, which features new enemy configurations and the lack of cues, there is also I Am The Night. I Am The Night is New Game Plus mode with permadeath. You must complete every single story mission with just a single life, which includes defeating every boss on the first try. If you're looking for an extreme challenge, this is certainly it. If that's a little too much punishment, there are always the nearly 100 Challenge Maps, which you cannot only tackle as Batman, but Deathstroke as well. During combat, Deathstroke isn't that different than Batman since the keystrokes are the same, but he does have a few different tricks up his sleeve to make Predator Arenas feel quite different.
While it's been reported that you can complete the main campaign in as little as ten hours if you rush it, you'll more than likely spend double that, if not more. I already spent over 30 hours in single-player and barely touched the Challenge Maps. Even if you do not care for online leaderboards, there are of course achievements associated with the Challenge Maps to entice you to try them out. In addition, there's one minor side mission that only unlocks after you beat the game, which I won't spoil.