The lights are on
Last time we checked in with Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, we pursued Catwoman through a series of early tutorial challenges. With the basics already under our utility best, we dove back into Blackgate for a gameplay session roughly an hour into the game. During the demo I acquired the Bat Claw and faced off with a deep cut from DC’s roster.
Batman’s crawl through the crumbling cell block of Blackgate is more stealth oriented than our last experience with the game. He stalks through floor vents and jumps out to silently take down foes. When I was spotted, I employed the series’ excellent attack/counter-attack focused combat to easily take down foes. Blackgate’s side-scrolling nature is decidedly different from the previous console games, but beating down dudes feels like it should.
WayneTech crates are hidden throughout the prison, and the one I found contained the Bat Claw. This device lets Batman upgrade his grappling gun to latch onto objects in the environment. I used it to pry off vent grates and tear down a cracked wall. Similar to the Metroid series, items like the Bat Claw are necessary to progress in certain areas. Developer Armature says you may hit a wall traveling through a certain branch from Blackgates hub which requires a specific item, but shortcuts are being implemented to minimalize backtracking.
Despite developer Armature’s suggestion of shortcuts in the final game, I spent a good chunk of the demo retracing my footsteps in order to find the door requiring the Bat Claw. Beyond it I discovered a route leading to the prison yard, where The Penguin was holding a deadly cage match. The spike-fisted, corn-rowed Bronze Tiger is the current champion of the prison fights, but Batman is here to put an end to this. The ensuing boss fight begins with standard counterattacks. After dealing some damage to Bronze Tiger, he begins leaping into the air for a ground point attack. Double tapping the run button makes Batman roll, allowing me to dodge under Bronze Tiger and attack him from behind. I finally best the boss, and the demo ends with a brief comic-style cutscene where Batman and Bronze Tiger join up to chase down the Penguin.
This cell block section of Blackgate shows off the gadget-gated sections of the prison and more of the solid Arkham combat, but I’m still eager to see how challenging and complex the final product is. Rocksteady’s games are known for their involved crowd-control combat and open-ended stealth predator sections, but Blackgate seems like a much simpler experience at this point. We’ll see how it all comes together when the game releases concurrent with Batman: Arkham Origins on October 25 for Vita and 3DS.