Fyreharticles – Five Issues I Have With Arkham Origins

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Arkham Origins. If you are yet to play or complete the game and take issue with spoilers, don’t read ahead.

I actually finished playing Arkham Origins a while ago, so I apologize that it took this long to do the follow up. Anyway, Arkham Origins was an overall enjoyable game, however, there were still some things that bugged me. Some more than others, to the point some are just nit-picks or fan bias, and others are things I get more annoyed than I probably should. So, here are at least five issues I have with the video game Arkham Origins.

Issue 1 – Not Enough Mad Hatter

Seriously guys what the hell? What happened? We get the promise of “Mad Hatter playing a bigger role than he did in Arkham City”, but there was still only one side-mission to complete for him. Granted yes, it was longer than his Arkham City appearance…but “his side-mission is longer” seems like a bit of a cop out when they said he’d play a bigger role. I mean, I wasn’t expecting him to be involved in the main plot, but the least they could’ve done is given Hatter more than one side-mission for us to play through. Not too hard to do either, just say he’s kidnapped several girls he thinks could potentially be Alice, not just that one teenager……at least I think she’s a teenager. If not a young woman.

Oddly enough, if they hadn’t claimed he’d play a bigger role this wouldn’t even BE an issue. But they did, and I take the result as false advertising, and thus here we are.

Issue 2 – The “Enigma” Side-Story Ended With An Anti-Climax

Might’ve been my own expectations just being too high, but the Enigma/Riddler storyline really did seem to just end on a whimper. It appears to end when you’ve destroyed his network relays, since after that he never talks to you again, even when you’ve found all the data. You unlock the secret room in his “hideout”, and all you really get as a reward is a Riddler trophy. Really? That’s it? We spend God knows how long finding all those data packs to open the room, but all we get is a lousy Riddler trophy? We don’t even get to meet Enigma/Riddler in person like we did in Arkham City? Again, this may just be my expectations going a bit high, but even the Arkham Asylum Riddler Trophy side-mission has a better ending than this did.

Issue 3 – Batman: Corpse Raider

At one point in the game, The Joker decided to kick The Electrocutioner out of a (God knows what story) window to his death, because The Electrocutioner was too busy playing games on his phone to listen to whatever The Joker was rambling on about. What does Batman do? Well, I’ll tell you what he doesn’t do. Respect the dead. Batman outright steals Electrocutioner’s tech to use as his own.

I mean, sure, Electrocutioner won’t be using those any time soon (unless someone gets him to a Lazarus Pit real quick), but it’s still raiding a dead guy’s corpse. Gotham’s saviour ladies and gentlemen. He won’t kill anyone, but hey, if they happen to die he’ll make sure their stuff goes to a “good home”.

Issue 4 – Tracey Buxton

Just…..Tracey Buxton. I mean, why does she even exist? Candy on her own was better and she appeared much less. She looks like she couldn’t decide what decade her look was supposed to be from (Punk-ish hairstyle with a Beetlejuice-like suit) and she has one of the most forced Cockney (?) accents I’ve ever heard in my life. Like, wow, Nolan North’s Penguin voice isn’t great either, but I’ve gotten used to it. Tracey sounds like someone from the US trying to mock someone from England. AND THAT CHARACTER IS SUPPOSED TO ACTUALLY BE ENGLISH…I THINK!

Issue 5

(My ACTUAL reaction wasn’t so much anger as disenchantment but you get the idea)

Seriously, this is the biggest disappointment I’ve probably ever had playing an Arkhamverse game. They build up and advertise Black Mask as the main villain, but what’s that? It’s actually Joker disguised as Black Mask? Oh. Well, that kind of sucks honestly. I get they were just trying to trick us, but come on guys. Like, did this ruin the overall experience for me? No, but it made me enjoy the game less knowing that the only true encounter you have with Black Mask is a side-quest. I do like that they actually have him technically stick around to BE a side-quest, rather than just tossing him out like nothing happened, however it is still frustrating to see Black Mask get shafted like that. Black Mask as the main villain could’ve been very interesting, and was, right up until they decided they’d screw with us.

Batman has a VAST Rogue’s Gallery, and they can’t help but make Joker the main focus of ALL THREE GAMES so far? Come on. Why couldn’t Joker just be a side-villain? Or, you know, you could’ve NOT advertised Black Mask as the main villain and just have it be Joker from the outset. It still would’ve been annoying honestly, but it would’ve been a lot less annoying. And really, less annoying is all I ask. Isn’t making things “less annoying” what America is all about?

Wait, what? This game was made by WB Games Montréal? Oh, well then, now I know what to do about this.

I’ll see you guys next time with things I actually liked about Arkham Origins.

Why I Think The Joker Should NOT Be In Arkham Origins

Oh yes, you did read that correctly. I honestly don’t think The Joker should be in Batman: Arkham Origins. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Joker, but I’m not blindly going to get something because The Joker is in it. Also I’m not saying they should take him out last minute or anything, or generally saying they should undo all of their hard work; though I will concede that this is basically “he never should’ve been in it in the first place”. I also will make a follow up article after I have played the game stating whether I hold true to this opinion, or if the game has made me change my mind. Remember, this is written having not played the game yet, so my opinion could easily change once it’s released.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand exactly why The Joker seems to be in everything and is everywhere; he’s an iconic villain and the character has earned that spot. However Joker has been the main focus of both previous Arkham games. Sure, he was the main villain in Arkham Asylum, so that gets a pass, however he also hogs the spotlight in Arkham City; a game where the main villain is SUPPOSED to be Hugo Strange (or Ra’s Al Ghul, or both). Don’t believe me? His story ends AFTER the main plot does. I will admit it worked due to how they handled the conclusion of that story, but the fact remains that a sub-plot concluded after the main story.

Now, we come to Arkham Origins, where the main villain is supposed to be Black Mask, which automatically drew me to the game out of curiosity as to how that would play out, with Deathstroke’s inclusion being what sealed the deal for me. But what will most people like me (comic adaptation fans) most likely care about? The Joker is in there! Come on guys! Even Batman Begins didn’t have Joker! Why should this? I get it, I get it…”Joker sells”, fine, but come on guys, if you’re going to include him, make him a flat out side villain with guys like Anarky, or flat out diminish him to a cameo appearance like Mad Hatter got in Arkham City.

Hell, think about it. If they’re trying to “fall back in mainstream known villains”, and that’s their logic for using Joker in every game, guess what? THEY DID A POOR JOB OF THAT IN ASYLUM!

  • Riddler – voice only
  • Two-Face – only verbally mentioned right at the end
  • Mr. Freeze – no verbal mention
  • Catwoman – no verbal mention (Yes I know she isn’t always a bad guy but still)
  • The Penguin – no verbal mention

They didn’t seem too preoccupied with trying to throw in a bucket load of well-known (mainstream wise) Batman villains. Hell, even the biographies in Arkham Asylum are filled with a bunch of villains I had no idea existed at the time (Great White Shark, Tweedledum & Tweedledee, Killer Moth, etc.). Honestly I wish that trend had continued with the Arkham City biographies, but oh well, a man can dream.

Actually, that’s a whole other thing I’d like to bring up. Fine, Joker’s in it. But guess what? I actually find myself being drawn towards EVERY OTHER VILLAIN more than Joker, purely because I don’t know as much about the other villains. Does that mean I’ll necessarily like all of the other villains? No. But to me the unknown is a lot more fascinating in this sort of case. Mad Hatter was a case for this in Arkham City, and he turned out to be one of my favourite villains despite only making a cameo appearance, so I’m excited to learn he’s having a (probably only somewhat) larger role in Arkham Origins. As far as Joker goes though, I honestly do not care about Joker’s storyline at all as of writing this. He wants to blow up a bunch of buildings on Christmas Eve? Seems more like a Calendar Man scheme to me. Seriously, switch out Joker for Calendar Man in that scenario and see if it changes anything. Makes more sense with Calendar Man doesn’t it?

Going along with that, Joker’s sub-plot seems entirely tacked on and pointless to me. Here we’ve got a game where the main plot is that, for some reason, Black Mask has hired eight assassins to try and kill Batman; so Batman has to survive their attacks and find Black Mask, also trying to figure out why this is even happening in the first place. Sounds like a basic, yet strong, story to base a game around to me. If Joker is a major player then it just throws everything out of balance, considering we have NINE main villains already. There are enough characters to focus on without needing Joker as a major player, or even a minor player. Once again, Batman Begins didn’t need The Joker, so why does Arkham Origins? As of now it’s a completely unnecessary addition to an already appealing game in my eyes; whether it’s handled well or not

That aside, I realise I could actually end up being wrong about how large a role Joker even plays in this game. For all I know, he could actually just be stuck in the same boat as Anarky and be a side-mission villain (ala Riddler, Zsasz & Bane in Arkham City), rather than a major sub-plot villain. If that’s the case? Then fine, I won’t mind as much, and I’ll admit that in a follow up article. But as of right now, I firmly believe this game does NOT need The Joker. And I honestly doubt that his story being well done will change that. Whether it does or not, I do intend to do a follow up article.

Does anyone actually agree with me? Do you disagree? Either way leave your opinions below (Negative wise only if you actually have something constructive to say) and I’ll see you all again next time.