ben pierson

Batman: Arkham Origins

Review by Ben Pierson.

I first played Arkham City because a friends recommended it as “Assassins Creed but you’re Batman”. I went out a brought it that same day and I was massively not disappointed. I loved every aspect of it so on completion I went and brought Arkham Asylum (Yes, I know I played the second game before the first, I did it with Mass Effect and I’ll probably do it again with another series I’ll end up wanting to marry.) Asylum was understandably less shiny and well put together as City but that was to be expected. City learnt from Asylum. It’s progression, it’s how things evolve. Sadly the same cannot be said for Arkham Origins. Or Mass Effect: Andromeda but let's not get into that here.


Having the origin story as the 3rd instalment struck me as a bit odd but I enjoy the Star Wars movies (except those three, you know what ones I’m talking about) so I can deal with it, even if in  this game you get better weapons and the same upgrades as you get in later games that are set after this one but made before. We could argue that different suits require different upgrades but then we have to wonder if the thugs and bullets get stronger as the years go on or if we should just ignore that bit as it’s a video game and writing the last sentence gave me a headache as it is...

The basic premise is this; It’s Christmas Eve, loads of people don’t believe Batman is a real thing yet as basically no one has seen him except apparently Black Mask who offers a bunch of assassins $50,000,000 to the one who kills Batman. I don’t think Black Mask is 100% on the existence of Batman at the beginning of the game but he seem to think it’s worth getting contract killers involved but they only get paid if they do it tonight because reasons. Amongst those who make up the list of assassins after us, we have some well known such as Bane and Deadshot and other, perhaps not so much. Personally, ‘Copperhead’ sounds to me like an insult to be hurled cruelly at ginger people by insecure children. Alfred doesn’t really help the Caped Crusader very much by making snarky comments. Calling the Electrocutioner ‘Shocking’? People are dying here Pennyworth!


Although the game is a prequel and is set before City, it feels like it was made before the others too. A bit doughy when compared to its sleeker predecessor. It reminds me of Asylum which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but City was such a vast improvement on the second that to regress feel like such a step back even if it is to something that wasn’t bad. It doesn’t mean it’s not good, you still get to runaround as Bats, beating up nameless thugs and there’s loads of hidden things to find and a decent amount of fan service. It’s good but it just feels ‘not bad’


I don’t know if the graphics had been made to look like Origins look closer to the first game (some of the characters, like ‘Loose Lips’ but me in mind of a more Borderlands art style) or if I’m over romanticising City, but this does not look or feel like something that came out halfway between City and Arkham Knight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the Arkham series, however I can’t see me returning for another hour to this particular chapter. If you haven’t played it before and want an extra chunk of DC night crawling, go for it. I’ll probably just be over here replaying Knight and totally not getting emotional about any relationships or deaths that may or may not happen. And if you utterly disagree with me I shall borrow a line from Thug #3: “Would it help if I said I was sorry?”

Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom

Review by Ben Pierson

I love Attack on Titan. Got the manga, the DVDs, Wings of Freedom on PS4 and a tattoo on my leg to prove it, so I was vastly excited to get my hands on the sequel to the 2016 game.

For those who don’t know, Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin (yes, I know, the translation’s a bit dodgy), is a manga and later anime series where humanity has been forced to survive living behind huge walls to protect themselves from the man eating giants that roam beyond, named: Titans. The Scout Regiment are a group of humans who venture out into Titan territory to try to learn about and attempt to reclaim the world, often with bloody, gruesome results.

Hitting Start drops us into an intro sequence showing off the titular titans and  characters from the popular Japanese franchise as well as some sneak peaks that fans of the series will already know. (WARNING: I’m not putting any spoilers in this. People that spoil things are dicks, end of.) 

The first time that the epic music swells, putting me in mind of Lord of The Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean, we take control of our character, hooded in the Scout cloak (because we haven’t made their face yet) and start fighting against one of the harder bosses from the last game. This felt a little unfair given I wasn't sure if I understood the revamped controls straight away or if the game was supposed to give me a hard time deliberately. As the screen fades to black and it becomes clear that this was foreshadowing, I decided that it was likely a combination of both.

The plot of the game itself follows someone reading from a book about/written by a nameless soldier. That’s us. A cool way to add a customisation character into a pre-established story but it doesn’t bode well for a happy ending but then, nothing really does in AoT… I promised no spoilers, so let's talk character building;

The choices regarding customisation are close to Skyrim level detailed, so expect some horrific combinations as you scroll through your choices of eyes, ears and noses as you find the ideal look for your Giant Killer. Whether you choose to recreate yourself or create a terrible monstrosity with zero dress sense, you won’t struggle to spot yourself in the crowd of the 104th trainees. 

Certain parts of the script and video scenes are almost identical to the original material, which is fun. In other cut-scenes you have dialogue options so you can decide how to interact with the characters you speak to.

Speaking of speaking, your fellow soldiers in training often have things they want to talk to you about and if you select the correct thing to say, it may well benefit you (Don’t worry, even with little to no knowledge of the characters, you can probably work out the right to say. If not it’s a 1 in 3 chance.) 


By telling them what they want to hear you can increase their ‘friendship levels’. The conversation options you choose when you speak when chatting when you see them in the HUB world of the barracks influence your friendship level while helping them in side missions and fighting alongside them also increases their friendship, possibly increasing their effectiveness when out in the field? Either Way I wouldn’t get too fond of anyone character mind you… 

The combat itself is a little weak. In the first game, Wings of Freedom, the was a decent amount of purpose and *omph*, each move powerful and precise. In A.O.T 2 it feels slightly wet, more like a playground swing than rockets attached to your crotch as you blast across the landscape.

One hour was may not have been enough to get the full effect of the joy and terror this series has to offer, however, I personally don’t see myself sinking days and days into this. AoT’s unique story as it arcs, twists and turns need the fire, the urgency that this game seems to miss while the previous game captured so well. My love for the series remains untarnished but in all honesty, I’d always choose Wings of Freedom over A.O.T 2. If you do too, you’ll soon be streaking across the sky covered in blood with a string of gigantic corpses in your wake. 

It may just be me but maybe skip out on  A.O.T.2

Go play AoT: Wings of Freedom.

In Fact, go watch the anime, read the manga and thoroughly enjoy yourself.

Hajime Isayama, give me free stuff.