Batman: Arkham Origin Blackgate – Deluxe Edition is an updated version of the handheld title that was released on PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. It is a 2.5-D action game that features HD graphics, 5.1 surround sound and new navigation system. So with further to do let us take a look and see if the transition from small screen to large screen has worked for Batman.
Platform: Xbox 360
Developers: Warner Bros
Release Date: 1 April 2014
Thanks to the developers for providing the review code.
Blackgate is more of a companion game than it is an original title. The story is set 3 months after the original Batman: Arkham Origins and you reprise your role as Batman, who has been tasked with sorting out the trouble at Blackgate prison. All your favourite characters like Catwoman, The Joker and Penguin are back, as well as classic weapons like the Batarang and grappling hook. Initial thoughts when you start the game are that this was previously released on the handheld platforms.
The biggest indication of this is the cutscenes – they are a mix of 2D artwork with the drawn characters and vehicles being moved across the background. Not that this is a bad thing, as it gives it a nice feel an interactive comic book. You start off pursuing Catwoman, who tricks you into entering Blackgate prision because some of Batman biggest enemies are planning to take it over and kill a lot of innocent workers. Of course the big, bad, bat can’t allow this to happen.
The fundamental mechanics of the gameplay are unchanged from the previous titles in the series. This is great as the quick-reaction; counter-attacking moves are still as good as they ever were. The only drawback I would say is that the movement of the cape crusader, he seems to move sluggishly walking and when you run, it’s more like a power walk. The camera is also non-moveable and why for the most part works ok, you do end up missing moving a camera around to look. The map is a bit of a pain to get used to, as being a 2.5D perspective you don’t get a 2D sideview, but more of a ¾ overhead with some depth to it.
In the original handheld version when you were hacking you had to use combination of the sticks and buttons. This frustrating system has been replaced by a new Crypto sequencer which means it is a lot easier to use. You must pick the right 3-number combination by moving the boxes around the screen, matching them up with the right numbers and turning it green. This is a massive improvement over the original and kudos should be given to the developers for this change.
The visuals of Blackgate features nicely rendered motion comic. The game detail is varying as it can go from impressive to not so great depending on which areas you visit. I quite liked the style in which the game story is told except for the times when you get the characters talking like a ventriloquist, or they move without moving their legs so they look like they hover along. This is probably more to do with the port from handheld to consoles.
With regards to the audio there is not much to say about it. Even though the music used in game is standard, it works and adds the right atmosphere to the environment. The voice acting is very good and holds up to the same standard as it does in all of the Arkham games in the series, it is just a shame that the motion comic don’t have lip sync when the characters speak, so it looks Strange.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – Deluxe Edition is a handheld port. It did transfer fairly well over to the big screen. The 2.5D ¾ view works, but at certain points you do find the lack of movable camera frustrating. The fighting mechanics retain the same fun as they always have, with giving you a satisfaction when you took out enemies with an awesome counter. Overall, if you look at this as a companion title to Arkham origins, then your will enjoy it immensely despite its flaws.