This is part 2 of the Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate review. The first part where I talk about the game’s story, graphics, gameplay and controls can be found here. In part 2 which you are hopefully about to read, I express my opinion on topics such as level design, equipment and some of the good and the bad the game has. In the end I make up the balance and present you with my recommendation.
Level design & Backtracking
Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate has a 2.5D design. This basically means that the player still platforms in a right, left, up or down fashion but that that game is modelled in 3D. Because of the nature of the genre there are moments that you can see parts of levels which you cannot reach yet. These parts become available when the player finds the necessary equipment.
Normally the map would be a large help for keeping track of where these places of interest are. But often I still found myself to be lost on how to reach the rooms I set course for. This happens mainly because levels can have different floors but the map doesn’t make a distinction between these floors. Rather than doing that, the game presents the map from a top down perspective.
There came a point where I adjusted to the way the map needs to be read and because my travels across the Blackgate facility helped me familiarise myself with my surroundings, backtracking became far more pleasant.
Equipment & Collectibles
Batman is known for his use of high-tech gear when dealing with his enemies in a non lethal fashion. So expect to find gear; the essential weapons upgrades and alternate batsuits to fully explore the BAO Blackgate. I touched upon this earlier, but players can find many collectibles in all the different areas throughout the game. The events which Batman investigates in Blackgate prison didn’t transpire out of thin air and finding the detective files unlocks some of the back-story and shows how things came to be.
*update: Developer Armature Studios will present a “Full pickup map” this week, on which the location of every collectible can be seen.
True, Bats doesn’t shy away from using his gadgets but this doesn’t mean he can’t do hand to hand combat. His excellent martial arts skills are in the game and battling groups of enemies feels fun and empowering but never becomes too difficult. There can be multiple enemies onscreen, some in the foreground others in the background but don’t expect to be able the actively switch between fore or background. Combating multiple opponents at once shows Batman’s superiority; the player keeps an eye out for enemies who try to attack him, counter them while
Often there are times when players can sneak up on the unsuspecting goons; dive kicking them unconscious, snaring them up, or doing silent takedowns all look fancy, but because the fistfights are so fun I often chose to battle these inmates head on.
Sadly, I can’t overlook a negative experience I had when playing Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate; on my first playthrough and near completion of the game I ran into a game breaking glitch which didn’t allow me to reach an area in the game.
I was one of the first to experience this and I contacted the developer with my findings, who after doing some research expressed their regret and confirmed they would fix the nature of the glitch in a future update. Since then there have been numerous reports of game breaking glitches of which I can attest that some are false. True the game had some problems for me and others, but a large portion of what was presented online as “game breaking glitches” was more due to players thinking they were stuck rather than that the game had failed them.
I hope the publisher Warner Bros does the Vita community and this game a service by patching these known glitches as soon as possible, because the game deserves it.
Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate might not be the console game which made the franchise popular, but I for one am happy that publisher Warner Bros and the developer Amature Studios set out to deliver PS Vita gamers a different experience in the rich Batman universe.
There has been a lot of public outcry on how the Vita’s library supposedly lacks in AAA games, and Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate undeniably offers such an AAA experience. If the bad in terms of glitches are fixed with a patch, I would argue Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate is amongst the best Vita games of the year and I would recommend it to any gamer.
This is part 2 of my review for Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate. If you like to read the full story and haven’t yet, this link will take you to part1 of my Blackgate review. Hopefully you guys enjoyed my thoughts. Check back soon for the review of PS Vita fighter Injustice Gods Among Us Ultimate edition.
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