COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate' Deluxe Edition PS3 Review

Created: 04/04/2014 2:37 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

I am a huge fan of Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment’s “Batman Arkham” series.  I really think the story is awesome and very dark. 

This past week I received a review code for Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment’s “Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate – Deluxe Edition” for the PS3, and it is amazing.

“Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate” was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita last October when “ Batman Arkham Origins” was released on the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360.

“Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate – Deluxe Edition” has new features such as it has been enhanced to high definition 2.5 D graphics and 5.1 surround sound.  There are new maps, batsuits, and a newly designed navigational system.

I really liked the story a lot, and it takes place three months after “Arkham Origins”

One night while Batman is out, he sees Catwoman breaking into a building.  He chases Catwoman and eventually takes her to Blackgate Prison.  Soon Batman is summoned by Commissioner Gordon who tells him that there have been some explosions at Blackgate Prison, and he needs to check it out.

Batman goes into the prison where he meets up with Catwoman.  Catwoman tells Batman that there is something going on and that Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask are up to something and he must stop their plan.

As I mentioned earlier, I thought the story was great and very well written.  It’s exciting and full of action.  The whole time I was playing, I wanted to see what The Joker, Penguin and Black Mask were up to and what their plan was at Blackgate Prison.

The graphics are awesome.  The cinematic scenes look great and you get the feeling of watching a comic book come to life right before your eyes.  The characters and backgrounds are drawn beautifully and are very darkly colored. 

The characters look great and are extremely detailed.  There are many surprise characters that you will recognize from the movies and comics.

“Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate” is a platform style game, but you can move freely back and forth between the three sections of the prison.  There are many areas that you will not be able to access until you have found a certain gadget that will help you open a door or blow up a wall, so you will have to backtrack a lot.

Blackgate Prison is broken up into three sections and you can choose which section you want to explore first.  Each section is controlled by a villain.  The Joker is controlling the Admission section, Penguin is in the Cell Blocks and Black Mask is in the Industrial area.

You can access the map by pushing the select button, and you can see your location, your destination, locked and open doors, plus some other important information.  I thought the map was very easy to understand, and I had no problems finding things.

Controlling Batman and using his gadgets is extremely easy.  There is an in-game tutorial that will show and tell you what buttons you need to push to do certain things.

Batman can climb, run, jump, fight, crouch and glide.

Some of Batman’s gadgets include: a grapnel gun used for reaching high places, explosive gel, batclaw and batarangs.  These weapons can all be upgraded at certain points in the game.

Stealth is very important and there are areas in the game that are heavily guarded by thugs.    You can hide in grates and hang onto ledges.  The guards can all be taken down quickly, and you will not be detected.  One really cool thing is that if you are on a ledge above the thugs, you can snare them in a rope and hang them upside down.  The AI is pretty smart, and if one guard detects something, they will start walking around in groups, so you will have to try and outsmart them.

The fighting system is awesome. If you have played any of the other “Arkham” games, then you will be familiar with the fighting system.  Batman and chain together multiple attacks and counters by timing everything nicely.  Each enemy has its own unique attack and defense that you must learn how to deal with.  For example there are thugs that have shock sticks and In order to hurt them you must jump over their backs and attack them from behind.

The one thing that really makes the fighting different in “Blackgate” is that the fights take place in a 2D environment instead of the 3D where you have room to run away from the attacks if you have to.  The fights are still great and are very exciting.

Batman is a detective and can enter “detective mode” by pushing the “L1” button.  You will be using this for most of the game. While in detective mode, Batman can search the area for hidden things such as walls and floors that he can break with explosive gel.  He can also see where thugs are and if they are armed.   There are many different things you can discover while in detective mode, so I would highly suggest that you use it whenever you enter a new area, because you never know what you will find.

As you are exploring Blackgate Prison, you will come across clues.  The clues are used to solve “Detective Cases” and there are usually three clues per case.  You might find empty shell casings or a device.  If you solve the detective cases, you will unlock artwork that can be viewed on the title screen.

Speaking of the title screen, I want to mention that you can also watch all of the cinematic scenes again.  So once you have passed a level you can go back and watch it again.

Another cool gadget that Batman has is the Crypto Scanner.  This will allow Batman to hack into computers to open doors, and turn power back on, etc…  Once you get to a certain area, text will appear on the screen that says “use Crypto Scanner.”  You will go into a mini game where you have to try and match up the three numbers.  The screen is filled with many numbers, and you move the boxes over the numbers you think are correct.  When you find the correct sequence more text will appear on the screen that says “Hack X,” so you push X to open the door or to turn on the power.

I really thought Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment’s “Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate – Deluxe Edition” was awesome.  The story was exciting, and the graphics and sounds were outstanding.  The game play was full of fast-paced action, and the controls were easy to learn.  If you are a fan of Batman or are looking for a challenging and fun game to play, then I would highly recommend that you check out “Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate – Deluxe Edition.”

Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate – Deluxe Edition is rated “T”

Aaron Chalich is a KSTP.com entertainment columnist.