Batman: Arkham Origins ReviewClayMeow - November 19, 2013
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Batman: Arkham Origins
My first multiplayer match was coincidentally as Batman. Batman, like Robin, is equipped with a slew of gadgets to aid you in taking out gang members. Aside from the standard ones players are familiar with from the single-player experience, like the Batarang and explosive gel, multiplayer also introduces a couple new ones: the Explosive Batarang and the Cluster Batarang. The former explodes after a couple seconds of priming, while the latter locks onto an enemy and then strikes him and nearby comrades. I ended the match with four kills to two deaths, which happened to be the same stats as my Robin teammate. The Joker Gang won the match with four reinforcements remaining.
After a match ends, a new Batman and Robin is randomly selected from the gang members of the previous match. Gang members do have the option of opting out of the selection process though. This was a great way of handling things, assuring that no one person kept on hogging the heroes if others wanted to play as them. In addition, when you're in the lobby, players can vote on which of the four available maps they want to play.
My second match was as a Bane gang member. Both gangs play the same, though they have different secondary gadgets they can deploy. For example, Joker gang members can deploy a blimp that is flown kamikaze-style to blow up on contact, while Bane gang members have an AR Drone that flies similarly, but fires rockets instead. To level the playing field against the Heroes, gang members can activate Enhanced Vision, but unlike Heroes, it drains a battery and so you can't simply run around with it active the whole time. It also shows a blue cone coming off anyone using it, so you know if your teammates are using it or even the opposing team.
For the most part, control of the gang members is as you'd expect for a third-person cover shooter. You aim by holding down right-click and shoot with left-click either while aiming or off-the-hip when not. Holding down SPACE causes you to sprint, but of course you have a stamina bar. The only jarring thing for me was that CTRL doesn't let you crouch in the open – you can only press CTRL while near cover, which then causes you to duck behind it. Thankfully though, as you'd expect from a cover shooter, you can then hold down right-click to aim around or over cover. I would have preferred a true crouching system though, but I guess you can chalk this up as catering toward the aim-assisted console crowd.
In my six or so matches I played, I never did get to the boss door in time to try out Joker or Bane, but if I do, I'll be sure to update my experience. Finding multiplayer games takes some patience, but that could be because I'm used to only playing highly populated online games like Counter-Strike. It did seem easier on the weekend than a night during the week. I should also note that I didn't try multiplayer until after I beat the campaign (though single-player and multiplayer have little to do with each other), but I did hear there were some issues at launch, including multiplayer experience getting wiped, so that may have turned some people off.
While multiplayer was fun and should definitely be tried if you get the game, it is certainly not a reason to justify a purchase if you're on the fence. Despite the inclusion of multiplayer, Origins is still very much a single-player game first and foremost like its predecessors. Still, I did enjoy it and will certainly be going back for more. I did want to mention one last thing though – I love the Killed By screens, which display a plethora of information, as you can see below.