Set three months after the events of the Batman: Arkham Origins game by WB Montreal, Batman Origins Blackgate sees Batman get drawn to Blackgate prison while chasing Catwoman. Commisioner Gordan tells him that three of Gotham’s biggest criminals, Joker, The Penguin and Black Mask have taken over three seperate areas of the prison and need to be taken down. With the help of Catwoman, Batman enters the prison to stop the criminals one by one.
I’ve played all three Batman: Arkham games to date and enjoyed each one. The graphics have been amazing and the feeling of “Being Batman” is like no other I’d experienced before. I must admit I was hesitant to play the game as almost everything I’d seen showed a more cartoony style for this. The developers Armature Studios describe it as being a 2.5HD reboot of the PlayStation Vita and Nitendo DS game of the same name. I was pleasantly surprised with the implementation of this transfer. There are some sections of the game that are totally on rails. You can’t explore the corners of every room and the camera moves around with you as you move through various areas but this really is a great looking downloadable game. Scenes like the fight with Killer Croc really stand out as beautiful. The majority of the cut scenes look like motion comics with voice over from the actors but it’s a nice style and doesn’t take away from the game once you get used to them.
Once you are in the main game you can choose to go after the three protaganists in any order you wish. Penguin has taken up quarters in the Cell Blocks, Joker has taken the Administration wing and Black Mask has taken the Industrial section of Blackgate prison. While I don’t really understand why Blackgate has an Industrial section I love that you get to choose in which order you play the game. With the added bonus of collectables for each of the bad guys (Penguin – 20 Bird cages, Joker – 20 sets of chattering teeth, Black Mask – 20 porcelin masks) it keeps you coming back for more and more.
Batman himself has an array of gadgets available to aid him in his mission. He starts out with the Batarang, Bat-Scanner, (Bat?)Grappel Gun and Cryptographic Sequencer (a decoder for the electronic key pads of locked doors). Each of these items is hugely useful but I found myself relying on the Scanner most often. You can scan every corner of every room. When I got lost or couldn’t find where to go on the less than helpful map, all that was required was a scan of a dead end to find a breakable wall or a vent that I could break open. More gadgets are unlocked and upgraded throughout the games running time but are generally provided in the area where you’ll use them most. These include a Line-Launcher for crossing areas you couldn’t cross before, a Bat Claw for grabbing on to objects or people and pulling them down or towards you and a Gel Launcher for sending explosive charges at breakable areas and setting them off at will.
Also present if you’ve played the previous Batman: Arkham games is the free flow fighting system. This is a system built on pressing one or two buttons in a timed order to pull off moves that only batman can achieve. You chain your combat in order to knockout your enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. Batman doesn’t kill. While I was never great at this process in the Batman: Arkham games I’m terrible at it in these games but luckily the difficulty is not that hard so while I can’t pull off a 30 times combo I can dispatch enemies with some Batman style.
With three full campaigns and loads of collectables, trophies and secrets to be found this game is well worth the price tag. I paid €19.00 for this on the Playstation and spent more time playing this than the majority of games I’ve paid full price for.
I was taken aback by how much I enjoyed this game. When I originally heard that it was a transfer of a game from the PlayStation Vita to the PS3 I was expecting a two to three hour sub-par experience that I’d give an afternoon to and then not come back to again. The fact that the voice actors from Batman: Arkham Origins are involved and that the story takes place over three sizable playgrounds means it doesn’t get tiresome. It’s definitely different from the fuller console versions but it really is an enjoyable diversion while we’re waiting for the next generation PlayStation 4, PC and XBox One exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight, recently delayed to 2015. I’m going back to solve more cases.