Don’t say ‘Origins!’
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Batman: Arkham Asylum, through and through, is just a good video game. It took a simple concept (“Be the Bat”), introduced the free-flow combat system and the Predator stealth mechanic, and didn’t go too far with it. The asylum setting wasn’t too large, the collectibles didn’t go over-the-top, and it was easy enough to get a 100% rating and have fun doing it. Many consider it to still be the best entry as it did nearly everything it set out to do.
Having said that, City is still my favorite. I feel like the boss fights are more refined, the rogue’s gallery is more impressive (Hush!), the sidequests are more engaging, and the city is just big enough to give you a sense of wonder without going overboard. I really enjoyed the bigger scale, as it emulated some of my favorite Batman films and The Animated Series, allowing you to romp around a giant sandbox as The Bat, wrecking havoc on evil-doers.
Origins…man, it’s rough. You could argue that the entire game’s story feels wholly unnecessary, and this rendition of Gotham is far more plain and barren than the second entry was. The boss encounters were worse, and WB decided that creating and selling more DLC was more important than fixing the game-breaking bugs present in the final build, a few of which are still present today. It’s very clear both internally and externally that WB considered this a second-rate cash-in, though it had some bright spots and I did enjoy the Mr. Freeze add-on.
As far as Arkham Knight goes, I’m torn. On one hand, I really like some of the fights in the game, but they’re completely overshadowed by the Batmobile’s presence. “Be the Batmobile,” a friend said while watching the game, and it’s very true. Rocksteady just went car-crazy, and injected it into nearly every facet of the experience, to a fault. I had a running joke while playing that went something like “when in doubt, remote control the Batmobile!” It ended up being the solution to 90% of the game’s puzzles.
Beyond that, Knight doesn’t really hit the same notes as Asylum and City. Most of the sidequests are boring and repetitive, and there’s simply too much to do now with all of the Riddler trophies on top of all the side activities. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a challenge nor do I inherently hate big games, but most of it isn’t fun, which I do have a problem with.
So how about you?