So instead of playing and writing about the Arkham games in the order they were released, as I normally would have, I decided to switch it up a bit and try to tell a comprehensive story with these last four blogs of the Gotham week.
Batman: Arkham Origins was released, which technically is the newest addition to the Arkham series of Batman games, but at the same time, it is a prequel to all other Arkham games. Despite it being an addition to an existing series, it was actually developed by a completely different studio than the previous two Arkham games. Instead of Rocksteady continuing the amazing franchise they created, they passed it off to WB Montreal, which pretty much set the Internet in a tailspin when it was announced. With how loved the Arkham games were, nobody wanted to see the franchise fall into the wrong hands who might not carry on the pedigree of excellence already established.
If that controversy wasn't enough, Mark Hamill, who previously voiced the Joker in the Arkham games, retired from the character, passing the torch to long-time voice actor Troy Baker, who's done some pretty phenomenal characters over the last few years in the video game industry. Nobody thought he could even come close to portraying the Joker as well as Hamill did, but last month at New York Comic Con, he was on a panel discussing the game when he broke into a monologue in the voice of the Joker, and without overstating, brought the entire room into elation, excitement and admiration for his portrayal.
Crazy to think that the Internet overreacted, huh?
Well, they overreacted about the game itself, too. The new studio did a fantastic job recreating the fantastic Arkham series, and without knowing any better, you wouldn't even know someone else did it. It feels and plays like the previous games, and that's a very good thing. Honestly, I wouldn't want any drastic changes for the sake of trying to reinvent the wheel or improve on a good thing already. Why fix something that isn't broke?
This game takes place only a couple years after Batman officially becomes Batman, back when he was still a masked vigilante trying to do good for the streets of Gotham, despite the displeasure and constant grief from the police and Detective Gordon. It plays out over one night, Christmas Eve, and criminal boss Black Mask has put out a substantial reward for the assassination of Batman,which of course brings in trained killers from all over to go after the same bounty. You're goal is to take down Black Mask, and all those who stand in your way. While there is still lots of exploration and story to play out, the game almost feels like it is one boss battle after another, as you try to take down the opposing assassins and other villains. It's not a bad thing, it's just a thing.
Long story short, the Internet once again judged something before it knew better, and once again, the Arkham franchise produced another awesome game, despite who made it or voice acted for it. Gotham has never been a colder place, dangerous place then Christmas Eve.