BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS BLACKGATE
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is a 2013 2.5Dvideo game developed by Armature Studio and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for theNintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita handheld game consoles. Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, it is a companion to the 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins, and is a part of the Batman: Arkham series. It was released worldwide on October 25, 2013, with the Nintendo 3DS version releasing in Europe on November 8, 2013.
Fans have enjoyed Warner Brothers open world, chaotic, true to it’s core, Batman games for years now. Transitioning that success to the Playstation Vita is a slippery slope to conquer. Instead of being an open world game to explore within the series, it takes a bold step in another direction. Armature Studios brings the classic Metroid style that incorporate clever ideas from the Batman franchise. It’s filled with wonderful ideas, but it also manages to leave the player feeling complacent and confused. Let’s begin to evaluate.
3 months after the gruesome events in Arkham Origins, Batman is sent into Blackgate Prison to investigate the riots, (explosions) and capture the key bosses. Each section of the prison is controlled by different villains. Batman’s journey will begin with the help of Catwoman. At first glance he will be reluctant to take her advice, in the end he has no other option. The controlled areas are somewhat a chore to overcome. Batman will not have his gear on him. Instead you will be sent to retrieve these items from Wayne Tech crates scattered around the facilities, while the sadistic inmates cover most of the area. As you recover essential gear, you will be presented with boss fights that have you stick to 1 or 2 gadgets. These encounters are extremely frustrating as it relies on timing, sound, or dumb luck.
The game is very unfriendly to casuals. I cannot stress enough how challenging these battles will be if you have little experience in the Batman franchise. At times you’ll wonder around trying to find the next fight. The story has a wonderful cast of enemies, however they seem to be poorly used. At times you wish you could hear more evil dialect from Joker or Penguin.
The story drags out to an absurd amount of time. It would be quite less if you didn’t have to consistently struggle with navigation issues. It’s a simple story of chase and capture with very little dialogue during the chase.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate on the Playsation Vita, is truly one of the best looking 2.5 Metroidvania clones to ever exist. Even though it’s a very dark looking game, the characters pack a pretty powerful punch for being on a mobile device. The soundtrack is on par with other entries on the PC, and consoles. However, the pause music never changes and can be extremely annoying to hear after awhile.
Cutscenes play out like a graphic novel. It’s beautifully done. Voice acting is superb, but also it walks into the kingdom of abnormality. Conversations will flow without lips moving. Certain boss fights require you to carefully listen to trigger a responsive counter attack. These are quite faint and you should consider plugging in a headphones/earbuds.
The Metroidvania style has its pros and a fair amount cons in this game. Navigating through different sections of the prison is awfully frustrating. Your direction is constantly switching up and can be quite the strain on your eyes. Due to conflicting issues with navigation and camera control, stealth sections are poorly timed and often are in a position to make the player fail.
Combat isn’t as free flowing like other iterations in the series. A group of guys will wait as you take on a enemy 1 on 1. It’s a very bland fight and rarely do you encounter a situation where you can be defeated by the prisoners. Once you clear out an area of bad guys, enemies wont re spawn. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate suffers from too much backtracking. This would be somewhat acceptable if there were new plot twist or different enemies, and puzzles to solve.
For a mobile Batman experience the game drags out. (story wise) Different Batsuits pieces are scattered around the prison. These have different perks and different visual appeal. Clues from different cases involving the head villains of this game are poorly implemented. Armature studios has the detective mode in place to help you find these, however without a connection to the main story it doesn’t make the user go out of its way to locate these.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate seems to be filled with great ideas, but as a whole it seems unfinished, and incomplete. The Metroidvania style can be an engaging process at times, and in other sections of the game it is down right frustrating. The story has some of the best villains in the series, and they are completely misused. Combat should be fleshed out with new ideas and better animations.
Armature Studios first attempt has promising ideas, yet fails very short of being a great experience. It’s a shame that this will be the last attempt to bring the iconic Batman franchise to the Playstation Vita.