Why is Batman: Arkham Origins Getting Harsh Reviews? | Fanboys Anonymous

Why is Batman: Arkham Origins Getting Harsh Reviews?

Posted by Aaron Lanton Monday, November 4, 2013
Batman: Arkham Origins is one of the best actions game of this console-PC generation. Origins is a flawed game riddled with glitches, odd level design choices, and a lackluster multiplayer mode, but it is still a really good game that should be played by everyone. However, some game critics strongly disagree with this opinion. Dissenting opinions are certainly not a bad thing, but it appears that the criticisms directed at this game are completely ignored when other critically acclaimed games have the exact same problems. Flaws in a game are ignored for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the best cologne for flaws in a video game is immersion.

Arkham Origins bad review
This is what happened when Batman invited all of the game reviewers to one room.

Long ago, I came across a quote from a video game designer who discussed how to use immersion to keep video games from becoming boring. After all, every video game is about pressing the same buttons and performing similar actions over and over again. Immersion is important because it sustains a player’s interest in the world through motivations such as creating mystery (Metal Gear Solid series), environment (BioShock series), badassery (God of War series), fear (Resident Evil series), music (VVVVVV), new attacks and tactics (every role playing game in existence), and other variables that capture the attention of the audience. I was unable to find the exact quote that brought this to my attention, but I did find a forum post by Yut Put of Byond Forums that shares this sentiment:
Most game designers, especially the ones in the industry, know that the more hours you get out of your game the better it will sell. Games like Skyrim are made to pull players in for hours and hours without the players getting bored of the game…

There are many ways to make your repetition work. One way is to consistently introduce new game mechanics encouraging new game-play styles up until the very end of the game. For example, in Batman: Arkham City the player will be seeing new enemy types and new game-play challenges right up until the final level. The game never stops throwing new elements of game-play at you, and the player almost feels as if they are always learning something new about the game. For example, on the very last level the player is introduced to stun baton wielding enemies that must be defeated a certain way which only appear on the main quest 1-2 times. On top of that, the Riddler Challenges constantly encourage the player to try new and unique things. I could go on for a while about Arkham City's excellent use of repetition, but I'll save you the tl;dr.
In terms of gameplay, Grand Theft Auto V is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Rockstar has put together a technical and production marvel with their latest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series, but the weakest suit, as always, is the gameplay. The aiming system is still awkward, the combat is cumbersome, so on and so forth. The Grand Theft Auto series is and always has been about immersion—drawing players into the experience and making it feel satirically authentic to real life. For example, players are excited that NPCs in cars flick you off when they are upset about your reckless driving. That’s not a gameplay feature. It is an additional detail that immerses players further into the world of GTA. So let’s forget that Grand Theft Auto Online, the biggest new feature to the game, has a long list of bugs like deleting all player progress, poor connectivity, and freezing. Game reviewers are so immersed that they almost exclusively handed out ten out of ten reviews even with average gameplay mechanics and an unplayable online mode.

Grand Theft Auto Online bugs and glitches

I would argue that Batman: Arkham Origins is not as good as its predecessors, but the criticisms of Origins are far too harsh. The biggest failing of Origins is that the pace of the game is not as fluid as the older titles, which has a negative effect on immersion. The world has become twice as large as before but it does not serve a purpose. It is also harder to navigate the world by gliding with the cape because the number of elevated areas that players are allowed to access via grapple has been lowered without reason. For some strange reason, you start with more Bat gadgets in this game (in your first two years as Batman) than at the start of Arkham Asylum (much later in Batman’s crime-fighting career). A few new gadgets are added, but they function like previous gadgets, which makes them feel like the same tools with a different skin. These and other tiny issues hamper the immersion that gamers feel, which makes them complain that the game is not adding anything new despite previously acknowledging new additions such as the larger map and changes to the battle system. They are not accurately depicting their frustrations with the lack of immersion.

There is a lot to love about Batman: Arkham Origins. The boss battles are well executed. The story is hit or miss, but engaging throughout. The gameplay is solid as always. Also, there is enough content to keep perfectionists busy for tens of hours. A lot of game reviewers punished Origins on their final scores because it’s not better than Arkham Asylum or Arkham City. It’s a still a really good game, without the masterful immersion that masks the flaws the series has always had.

Batman Arkham Origins bugs and glitches

Please feel free to voice your opinions in the comments so we can get your thoughts on how Batman: Arkham Origins has been received. Are the reviews fair or unfair?
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER

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