Batman: Arkham Origins ReviewClayMeow - November 19, 2013
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Batman: Arkham Origins
From a technical standpoint, Origins is a marvel on the PC, especially if you're sporting a somewhat recent NVIDIA graphics card. The Batman Arkham games have always been shining examples of what developers could accomplish with NVIDIA PhysX and Origins is no different. When PhysX is set to Normal, you get the cloth simulation you may be familiar with from the previous games, which includes Batman's cape. When set to High that's when it really kicks into high gear, not only adding the cloth simulation, but also APEX Turbulence effects, which enhances the appearance of particle effects like smoke, steam, fog, and of course, snow. Seeing the smoke come off Batman's hands when Shock Gloves are activated is simply awesome.
I often hear the argument that PhysX doesn't matter because it doesn't affect gameplay, so who cares? While it certainly does not affect gameplay directly, what it does do is substantially increase immersion. Since immersion is a very important part of most 3D games, PhysX does in turn improve one's gameplay experience. Immersion in Origins is further increased by setting Geometry Detail to "DX11 Enhanced" (if your card supports it). By doing so, you'll get variable depths of snow prints when you or enemy walk through deep snow (as opposed to simple, uniform snow prints with it off), which is pretty cool to see in action – especially when you slam an enemy to the ground and he leaves a nice human-shaped snow imprint. Whether you walk, crawl, sprint, slide, or roll, the snow disperses accordingly (and enemies leave footprints as well). Sadly, guards do not investigate suspicious footprints, which does indeed slightly break immersion, but I guess if they did, that would make the game significantly more difficult for anyone who turns it on. To illustrate how this works, check out the before and after shots below from the Killer Croc battle that opens the game. As you can see, it goes from pristine, untouched snow to a complete mess. Yes, that's the same area.
Other NVIDIA technology used in the game includes contact-hardening shadows, improved depth of field, HBAO+, and TXAA. I won't go into detail on each of these, but suffice it to say, if you have a high-end gaming PC equipped with a 700 series NVIDIA card, you'll put the console versions to shame. Though I couldn't personally test it, the game also has enhanced 4K support, so if you have an SLI setup with a nice 4K monitor, prepare to be amazed.
From a bug standpoint, I only experienced two bugs during my time other than the aforementioned issue getting multiplayer to work. The first was known as the "Burnley Tower Bug" where there was a bug with a vent, trapping you in the building and forcing you to restart (see the image below). There was a glitch-workaround that I used, but the problem has since been patched so it should no longer be an issue. The second bug was when I fell through the map in one of the Predator Arenas when I went exploring what I thought was a little alcove. There have been several other reported issues in the Steam discussion board that I thankfully haven't experienced, but WB Games has also been pretty good with issuing patches from what I've seen, with the PC patching often coming before the console patching.
My only other issue with the game that I can recall was not being able to perform a glide kick while in the middle of a glide. By that I mean, when I was gliding along the sky, if I got near a group of enemies and the Bat Symbol glide kick notification appeared, left-clicking didn't do anything. I finally found the solution online – you have to hold down right-click first, then left-click – but of course that was after I already beat the campaign and almost all the side missions. But hey, at least I now know for New Game Plus!