Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Batman Arkham Origins (iOS)

At this point in the evolution of iOS gameplay, it's pretty clear that no one is going to "out Infinity Blade" Infinity Blade. That is to say, the Infinity Blade I, II, and III trilogy is as good as it gets in the iOS arena for swipe and tap attack games. In fact, the Infinity Blade model has been so successful, that it is now the engine du jour for all manner of tie-in iOS games for other studios, as seen in Marvel's Avenger's Initiative and both DC's Injustice: Gods Among Us and Man of Steel iOS games.

Batman: Arkham Origins is the newest game in this series and, despite what you might think from that lengthy prolegomena, it's definitely worth your time. Why? Two reasons.

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First, it actually has some unique game play elements. When NeatherRelm released the predecessor to this game, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, the game was basically Infinity Blade Lite. It brought next to nothing unique to the table. B:AO, on the other hand, has some nice unique elements that spice up the now-standard tap and swipe game style. Batman has a host of gadgets that require you to do different things to activate them. Also, each boss fight (the game revolves around Batman being hunted by most of his rogue gallery) involves critical junctures where you will have to defend yourself with timed taps, quick swipes, and the like in order to avoid serious injury.

Second, the game is free! Infinity Blade, Avengers, even Man of Steel all cost money up front. This doesn't. So play it! Is there a bit of grinding? Yes, of course. But it's not obnoxious. I read several reviews of people complaining you have to spend money to advance past the second stage. Um, no sir. Maybe be better at games. I have spent $0 and advanced to the third stage, bought a couple kick ass upgrade batsuits just by saving up money along the way, and done so in a reasonable amount of time.

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