Gotham’s Dark Knight makes a welcome return to iOS devices with NetherRealm Studios latest release, Batman Arkham Origins. The game kicks off with a really good intro video that sets up the story that follows. The villain Black Mask has put out a hit ‘One Night To Kill The Bat’ with a rich reward of $50,000,000. This brings a slew of Gotham’s notorious villains to the party including the likes of Deathstroke, Firefly, Copperhead, Deadshot and Batman’s arch-enemy Bane. You take control of the Caped Crusader in his earlier years as you face-off against these ruthless assassins and their thugs.
Before you begin to prove your worth as the Dark Knight, you have to get suited up. As you progress through the game you can buy and unlock over 15 alternative bat suits each providing special advantages in Health, Damage and Speed. Once the suit is equipped your can then start to upgrade Batman’s Skills; Assault Stance and Guarded Stance. You can switch between these two fighting stances during combat. Upgrading the Assault Stance makes you deal out more damage to the baddies and upgrading the Guarded Stance lets you take in less damage overall. There are over 250 upgrades that can be unlocked.
The Mission Map is where you go to select your challenges and is divided into four districts, Uptown Gotham, Downtown Gotham, The Docks and Industrial District. You play your way through each neighborhood ridding them of all the bad guys by taking on various missions ranging in difficulty and rewards. Each challenge you partake in will take a few bars from your stamina and once your low on stamina batman will either need some rest or an instant refill can be bought through in app purchases. Once you have selected a mission your ready to start the battle.
The controls are fairly simple to master. You tap on the screen to perform a combination of punches and kicks, and every now and then have to follow the on-screen swipe to perform a special move. There are icons on-screen for blocking and changing the stance from Assault to Guarded. The gameplay doesn’t give you much control over the character movements as batman automatically moves forwards and backwards, but rather focuses on attacking and defense during combat. This is a bit of a letdown. Arkham Origin plays a lot like NetherRealms famous beat ’em up Mortal Kombat. You take on each villain ‘mano a mano’, and once they defeated another jumps right into the action until you have successfully defeated all the villains. The game does become a bit repetitive as you face the same characters every so often with the same background stages.
Visually the game does everything right though. From the opening intro, to the menus and the game itself, the graphics do not disappoint. All the characters are well rendered and animated and the backgrounds look reasonably good. The music score sounds like it came straight off the Dark Knight soundtrack and the sound effects blend in well too.
Unfortunately, Arkham Origins is not the Batman Gotham fans deserved, but still manages to put up a decent fight. It should keep fans entertained for short while, at least as a companion app to the console version. Arkham Origin is free-to-play and available on the App Store for download on iPad, iPhone and iPod.