Since Batman Arkham Asylum was released back in 2009 by unknown developers Rocksteady, The Batman video game series was changed forever with people expecting the series to keep to the same type of quality as the previous entries in the series aswell as adding new features but how does Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate; The first handheld entry in the series fair.
The story is set after the events of Batman Arkham Origins as Batman encounters Catwoman stealing from a high tech building in Gotham in which he proceeds to catch her and take her to Blackgate prison. 2 weeks later, Commissioner Gordon contacts Batman to inform him of an explosion at Blackgate Prison and that workers at the prison are now being held hostage by the now free Prisoners; Most of which Batman put there. When Batman arrives he finds out there is also a turf war going on in the prison between The Joker, The Penguin & Black Mask.
The game takes a new direction in terms of gameplay with open world exploration being switched with a side-scroller which is slightly disappointing considering the series’ previous entries which as stated had open world exploration which gave you a sense of freedom and actually made you feel like Batman prowling the streets to find criminals to punch whereas the side scrolling limits you to how much you can actually do however there is still plenty of features from the previous games to enjoy such as the free flow combat system which still looks fantastic even on the handheld systems and the Predator missions return which with the side scrolling element makes you really think before you act.
Like the other Arkham games, this game has side missions but instead of the others being about numerous cold cases, this one has you completing side missions to find out more about the mysterious explosion that happened at Blackgate. Another thing I have to praise with this game is the artwork during the cutscenes which are phenomenal and visually stunning to watch as it feels like an interactive comic book in the style of former Batman Graphic Novels. I also have to praise the voice cast which once again consists of Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Troy Baker as The Joker, Nolan North as The Penguin & Brian Bloom as Black Mask along with new & returning actors like Grey DeLisle as Catwoman & Adam Baldwin as Captain Rick Flag.
There is a few problems with the game however which I will get into detail about now. Obviously my biggest gripe with this game is the lack of the exploration of the console games as the PS Vita (which was my console of choice) could easily handle 3D gameplay and even if they couldn’t do full open world gameplay, Armature could have at least done 3D gameplay in a similar style to Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Another big problem in my personal opinion is the sensitivity of the vita version because when I play on my vita, I sometimes accidentally touch the back touch pad and when I done it on Blackgate, It kept going onto the detective mode and sometimes the scanner and while detective mode didn’t really bother me it was the scanner that annoyed me as it prevents Batman from moving. Other than these few little problems, the game was fine.
Overall I think Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate was a good first attempt at bringing the arkham world to the handheld systems however I think it could have done with a few imporvements such as 3D third person gameplay and less sensitivity on the back touch pad. The game does have quite a few features which do redeem it with the excellent voice cast led by Roger Craig Smith & Troy Baker to the references that the Suicide Squad could appear in the future with Deadshot & Bronze Tiger making appearances as bosses. The gameplay runs smooth enough and it has a good enough storyline but this isn’t the greatest game in the Vita’s History and Batman could certainly get a better handheld title in the future if Armature take in the criticisms and improve on the very few faults in the game.
My Score – 6.5/10
- Fantastic Voice Cast
- Stunning Artwork during cutscenes
- The usual Batman Arkham Mechanics (Free Flow Combat, Gadgets, Detective Mode)
- Side Mission linked to the Story
- Great Boss Fights
- References to the Suicide Squad
- Predator parts makes you think before you act
- Side Scrolling Gameplay disappointing
- Sensitivity of Controls
- Story could have been better
- Limited to what you can do
Review by Matthew McNamee