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.