Batman Arkham Origins– The road well taken…..
One of the important reasons that I was so excited about this game was for its purported story and the subject matter it chose to talk about. Which is, needless to say, a road less traveled.Every Batman story tries to talk about him at his peak, his most badass awesomeness of being Batman and the cool use of gadgets and the secret thrills of soaring the skies of nighttime gotham terrorizing street punks. The previous Arkham games have been guilty of the same. They were fun-filled games with heavy emphasis on the gadget/stealth/terror part rather than on the actual story of Batman and what made him to be what he is.When one emphasizes on the fun part of being Batman, he clearly forgets what it is to be Batman and what the highly demanding, soul destroying cost was to become Batman. Sure, Batman is amazing and at his best while he takes down thugs sneakily, but one has to understand that after all that is done, he goes to brood in a cave filled with nothing but bats and his cool gadgets. To deny that tragic part of Batman is to deny the core of the character.When I came to know that Origins was supposed to be based on the early years of Batman, I was excited for it. I was hopeful that there might be one game in this series which would capture his essence as a character and not as an icon, for a strong story has never been the strong suit of the Arkham series.Arkham Asylum felt overtly-cartoonish with it being mostly apparent on the dialogue section. City improved on that a bit but the story didn't fare much better either. And then came this trailer and I was exuberant. It was perfectly telling of what Batman had to go through and what he will have to live with to the end of his life. And the story was revealed to be about the early years of Batman, when he was young, inexperienced, prejudiced and too headstrong for his own sake and him being hunted by 8 assassins for a huge bounty placed on his head by one of the most notorious Crime bosses of Gotham.Did Origins prove to be the story that was to be so full of turmoil, tragedy, terror and intensity that I hoped it would be? Frankly speaking, No. It wasn't.While the story could have been tons better, it was apparent that they didn't have any idea what to do with the plot, exciting as it is. 8 assassins hunting for Batman while Batman himself hunting them. This could have been a explosive story considering the fact that it featured a much younger, angrier, headstrong Batman. But sadly, the story meandered a lot when it had to deal with this part of the story and it was apparent that they didn't know what to do or where to concentrate upon and the story gets exciting only after joker enters the picture. Evidently, they needed joker to make anything look remotely interesting and that in itself has become a problem with Arkham series. The story, in the end, ended up being heavily reliant on Joker, much like the previous games.The gameplay was exactly the same as the previous games too, but this is not a bad thing in itself. It is still fun to punch the bad guys, soar the skies and to take out thugs by sneaking on them but it is precariously at the point where it might turn mundane and eventually boring. The Music by Christopher Drake was a real surprise and it was perfectly fitting of the theme of the story, especially the theme music for Joker, which was delightfully whimsical, innocent and terrifying at the same time.But credit is to be given where it is due and I would congratulate the developing team for trying to capture the turbulent and troubled Batman and for actually trying to analyze the relationship between Batman and Joker, twisted as it is. The best moments of the game were mostly when it was trying to analyze the warped relation of this crazy duo and an especially comical moment when Batman looks dumbstruck when a thug he was on the process of scaring the truth out of just faints, scared as he was. The strong part of the game lies not in the story of the game but in the gameplay, environment and the music. While it makes for a not-too-bad gameplay owing to the fact that it has nothing majorly new and sticks to the previous one vehemently, it begs the question was this game even necessary if it couldn’t be bold enough to address the subject it chose to concentrate upon. To add up, Origins is not what I hoped it would be. It's not bold, not daring nor is it defining. It much rather prefers to stick to the road well taken and tries to get a peek at the road that could have been taken. Occasionally. And not often enough.Rating: 3/5.