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Review: Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – Deluxe Edition

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – Deluxe Edition is the console version of the PS Vita/3DS game that released a time ago. Blackgate was created for portable devices and reduced all the important parts of Arkham Origins into a side-scrolling game. Although the game offered a fun experience, some of the gameplay was lost during the reducing process. The same can be said for this console version.

This game takes places just months after the events in Arkham Origins. Batman is struggling to regain control over the Blackgate prison. In order to do so, he”ll need to deal with the insane convicts in the prison. The story is told through motion comics and a high definition animated cutscene now and then. The motion comics aren’t as ‘epic’ as full animated cutscenes but the artwork is gorgeous. The comics are dark but filled with details. Too bad the story isn’t really that good compared to the other games in the franchise. The story is a little too light and straightforward but it gives Batman a good reason to kick some ass.

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Kicking ass is a major part of the game, especially because Batman never kills enemies. You don’t have any lethal weapons to take out your enemies, you must trust on your fists. Taking out enemies happens in small hordes. Enemies attack as a team in order to take you down. By pushing some buttons on the controller, Batman can perform some basic beating as well as defending en takedowns. The combat remained rather straightforward and doesn’t require any rocket science but it’s fun to play nevertheless. By beating down enemies and blocking other while they want to attack, you can create a chain of combos which basically results in a very fluent way of fighting.

As far as the combat goes, this game stayed true to the typical Arkham formula. The other part of the game is a typical 2.5D MetroidVania. This means you’ll have to solve puzzles in your environment. Just like in typical Metroid games, Batman gains several Batsuits. With every new Batsuit comes a new power. With that new power you’ll be able to enter new areas you weren’t able to access at first. This means you’ll also need to face some backtracking and long quests in order to find the right Batsuit for the job. This ‘free roaming puzzle’ gameplay is fun and challenging but also slows down the pacing.

 

Not as epic but still fun to play.

 

Aside of those typical MetroidVania influences the makers also included some typical Batman gameplay such as the Detective Mode. You can flick on the Detective Mode to find hidden items or hidden clues to solve a puzzle. There are far less hidden items than in previous games but that’s rather because the scale of this game is much smaller. Turning on the Detective Mode in newly discovered areas is very rewarding and fun. Too bad the same can’t be said for the stealth gameplay.

The biggest problem with the stealth gameplay is the camera perspective. Since you’re playing a 2.5D game you won’t have that much freedom to move. This also means enemies just follow a set path and never really seem to change their direction. Taking down enemies in stealth just isn’t that satisfying anymore. This time you don’t need to solve hard puzzles or invent creative ways to defeat the enemies one by one. You just need to be on the right spot and wait for your enemy to walk bellow you to take him out. It’s a shame the stealth gameplay suffers this much from the downsizing of the game. We’re sure the developers could do more than what they did now.

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Conclusion:

All in all we can conclude that this game isn’t as good as the ‘real’ console installments but it’s not a bad game at all. The MetroidVania way of playing is fresh and works surprisingly well in the Batman universe. The atmosphere as well as the secrets you can discover using the Detective Mode are great. Too bad the stealth gameplay lacks the excitement we came to love in the  previous Batman games. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll definitely need to try this game out. It looks good and comes at a cheaper price. You’ll just need to lower your expectations a little in order to enjoy this game. In the end you’ll have a light but enjoyable Batman experience.

7/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.