Batman: Arkham Origins
Last week in New York, we had hands-on time with a new bit of Batman: Arkham Origins. Assassin Deathstroke has been heavily featured as part of the story (and is even getting his own challenge maps). Now we need to take him out.
The battle takes place on the deck of Penguin's mobile arms market, the Final Offer. After a surprise attack from Deathstroke, we regain our footing and engage in a multi-stage fistfight. Of course, the masked assassin is in this for blood, and doesn't fight fair.
He's trained like Batman, with quick reflexes and an arsenal of tools at his disposal. He starts his assault with a metal bo staff. We press the attack, but quickly find that overcommitting leaves us open. Deathstroke capitalizes, blocking and reversing (just like Batman does).
With a timed block, we push the assassin away to a safe distance. The free flow combat featured in the past games is crucial to this battle, as mixing in grapnel grabs with stuns and blocks can keep Deathstroke on his toes.
Throughout the fight, Deathstroke will escape with a flash bomb, leaping back into the fight from above and forcing us to rapidly block a flurry of attacks. He also affixes a remote grapnel to Batman, causing an exploding barrel to hurtle at us.
Countering this allows us to close the distance to Deathstroke. Failure gives the assassin time to use his guns. Only a smoke pellet and grapnel combination bring the fight back to fist distance.
After a time, Batman will break the bo, leaving Deathstroke with his sword. The timing of these attacks is a bit different, forcing us to adapt to the new pacing.
At the end, Batman incapacitates Deathstroke and takes his remote grapnel. We're told that the same principles from the previous games apply to Arkham Origins, and new tools open additional areas for exploration.
This is one of the earliest assassin battles, which gameplay director Michael McIntyre calls "final exams." Throughout the game players will be given the opportunity to learn and practice being the best Batman they can. "We want to test the core skills of the players," McIntyre tells us. "We want to train players to be the black belts at being Batman."
We felt pretty good about our fight with Deathstroke, but we also know more is coming. Everything about the combat feels familiar, but also tuned up from previous entries. We're excited to don the cowl once more when Batman: Arkham Origins arrives on October 25, 2013, for Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
For more on Batman: Arkham Origins, you can read our coverage from the May 2013 issue.