So as we all have heard at some point, Batman Arkham Origins has a multiplayer mode; one which is currently in a semi-closed Beta test going on right now on Xbox and PS3. The premise of the Invisible Predator game mode is pretty simple; Joker and Bane are having a turf war and it is up to Batman and Robin to break things up. With a lot of the same gadgets found in single player alongside a slew of upgrades for the customizable thugs, Invisible Predator promises to offer at least some depth alongside the main game. So how does this game mode stack up when outside of the finely controlled conditions of a press event? About as well as a finely polished turd might stand up to a plate glass window.
The game mode is in beta, and things could very well change. However that list is quite long and extensive, I can only hope the other game modes offer something much different in terms of gameplay. As it has been touched on before, you can play as Batman or Robin in the role of a hero. The heroes’ goal is simple, intimidate the living daylights out of all the thugs present and fill a meter which will end the match due to the bad guys running out of spare whitey-tighties. With a massive collection of tools, vents, gargoyles and moves at your disposal it would seem like being Batman or Robin would be just like the single player games. Problems arise upon realizing that the heroes seem to not only have paper thin suits that offer very little health, but that even with detective vision disrupting abilities, the limited amount of ways to approach certain choke points spell absolute death for our heroes.
Thugs on the other hand offer up a fun cover based third person shooter. In stark contrast to the heroes, Joker and Bane’s gang members have a series of both cosmetic and class customizations. Even the stock weapons you start with are strong enough to take down all but the super villains themselves. Upgrades are essentially the same for both gangs; a stun/kill trap, a remote controlled air ship/helicopter, and a variety of weapons. Players can even deck out their thugs in all sorts of various unlockable clothes, tattoos and hair styles. There are even separate loadouts that can be unlocked as well.
Unlockables are gained by both leveling up and purchasing them using credits earned by playing the game. These credits can also be bought for real money as dlc too, a move that is all too similar to how unlocks were handled in Gotham City Imposters. These “shortcuts” are nothing compared to experience, knowing where the heroes can hide, where super villain, ammo, spawn points are can make or break the three man team. Once Joker or Bane comes out to play, a mixture of feces and blood hits the fan at a rate proportional to how fast one or both of them reloads their various explosive weapons. Considering the difficulties the heroes face against regular thugs, adding the villains into the mix makes it exceptionally harder for them to stand a chance. I was playing as Joker, caught completely unaware with explosive gel, then got the crap kicked out of me, only to turn around and instantly kill robin with a single shot from my revolver.
This is how the game mode currently makes me feel.
Invisible Predator Online is currently a fairly broken game mode, and while it does promise to offer up something fundamentally different from the slew of tacked on check boxes that most other games call multiplayer; it is currently a tower that not even superman could leap in a single bound. Sure, there are the usual varieties of cosmetic problems that plague any beta, but the massive issue of imbalance alongside the shoehorned credits for real cash really brings down the experience. I really do wish to see the multiplayer become something special and stand on its own alongside the main campaign, but like a good live action DC comics movie, I’m afraid that might never happen.