Batman: Arkham City was a exactly what I would have hoped that I would be: a bigger, seemingly better Arkham Asylum. Though, the game did seem to suffer from being unrestrained in its scope and direction. I wrote that on the Game Versus Life blog that playing Arkham City was “like taking a really big bite of something very delicious. It’s just as tasty as the first spoonful, but the flavor is belabored ever-so-slightly by the fact that you have too much in your mouth.”
I enjoyed it for quite some time, but shortly after Arkham City came out, I went through a really difficult break-up. I no longer had any interest in playing games. Several months passed before I began to feel like I could enjoy my hobby again, and my interest in Arkham City was diminishing. I did finish it, but I was finished with the series.
Needless to say, I wasn’t really excited by the announcement of another Batman Arkham game. My opinion of series came with some undeserved baggage, and even though I felt better than ever, I was in no hurry to revisit the emotions that I felt while I was playing through Arkham City. Eventually, though, I received a free copy of the game with the purchase of a graphics processor (thanks nVidia). I gave Batman: Arkham Origins a fair chance, and I really enjoyed it.
Arkham Origins seems to strike a really nice balance between the narrative focus of Arkham Asylum and the open-ended freedom of Arkham City. Arkham Origins might be the best entry in the series thus far. The in-house development team at Warner Bros. should be credited for doing a pretty fantastic job with the franchise that Rocksteady built. The fighting is really punchy. The narrative certainly doesn’t measure up to Batman: Year One, from which it must draw some inspiration. However, I might like it better than Arkham City. It was paced really well, and I just wanted to keep playing and playing until the end.
Perhaps the highest praise that I can give Batman: Arkham Origins is that it has reignited my interest in future Batman games. Now, we should all be really excited to see how Rocksteady is going to bring the franchise to a close with Batman: Arkham Knight.