If you’re like me — all-too-aware that Warner Bros’ imminent Batman: Arkham Origins is the first Arkham-series game not handled by Rocksteady, the studio responsible for the prior two games — you’re probably a little nervous about its prospects.
That’s to be expected: Arkham Asylum isn’t one of the best superhero games I’ve played, it’s the very best by a country mile. And Arkham City — a wonder of a game — transcends the genre, right up there next to BioShock 2, Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time as far as I’m concerned. Sometimes I’ll fire Arkham City up just to glide around Rocksteady’s gorgeous study in neon, admiring the awesome improbability of the Wonder Tower, watching that gloom-cloaked Halloween moon bathe Gotham in spectral light.
Batman as archetype might involve a privileged, megalomaniacal, schizoid narcissist with sadistic tendencies, but in these games, he’s the master detective off the leash in something like an inhabitable version of everything good Tim Burton and Frank Miller did for the franchise.
I could take or leave Scott Snyder’s Batman stories, take or leave the Christopher Nolan movies (the third, improbably, is my favorite), take or leave most of the forgettable detritus that’s accumulated around a myth DC corporate can’t stop rehashing for anything but artistic reasons.
But I can’t take or leave any of the Arkham games, and I’m hopeful — cautiously optimistic, even, watching this video (and corny dialogue aside) — that Arkham Origins isn’t going to derail hopes that we’re about to witness an Arkham trifecta.
Tuesday shoppers, take note: Arkham Origins arrives for current-gen systems (a next-gen version hasn’t been announced) as well as Windows and Nintendo’s Wii U this Friday, October 25.