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Arkham Origins: How the rush to beat next-gen seems to have broken Batman

@StevenPears Serious frame rate issue when fighting large numbers of thugs and 10 minute login wait first time I logged on with my WBID (360)

@Luca_WR yes! Fair few glitches and then today after making sure it saved have a corrupt file with 10+ hours played

@passthemstickss Plenty of glitches and some freezing when attempting to load new areas. Had a bunch of tweets about it last night.

@SillyMikey Yes, crashes every 45 minutes on 360. Very annoying

@Eriatha I had a bug, on PC, where I fell through the floor in The Bowery. And one of the comm towers is inaccessible due to another bug.

@Beximus Had trouble getting the game to start on 360 and shockingly slow load times - took me four attempts to start a new game

@TheKiddNova bad lagging n glitches on PS3 deathstroke challenge map glitch stuck under random crate n thugs killed me by throwing bricks

@MwLpNo1FaN I'm on the PS3 version and I was killed during a mission but the checkpoint didn't register or something so I go back to the location of the mission and nothing is there for me to keep continuing the mission.

@CplDHicks huge drops in frame rate, sound cutting out, npc's disappearing....

@BobShoy 90% through - load save to be falling endlessly through blackness. no way out of it = broken game. gutted.

@mikeprw Xbox 360 - TERRIBLE frame rate. Corrupt save. Freezing. Glitching. 40 pound well spent...

@cleverexcuses Tons of issues. System has frozen twice, and tons of lag, bugs, and glitches. Game is a HUGE disappointment.

@JackOfIreland got to the start screen. Stuck on that bit now.

So yeah. Suffice to say that Batman: Arkham Origins is not working out as Warner Bros. might have wished it to. A release like this is bad for consumers, company reputation, and the reputation of a hitherto flawless nigh-franchise that its previous developer crafted to within an inch of its life. Not to mention the reputation of the new studio, who--in terms of game design at least--have otherwise done a great job in picking up the mantle from their predecessors.  

Now just to be clear, not everyone is running into problems. Based on my current anecdotal evidence, PS3 and Wii U owners seem to be safest from the technical earthquakes ripping through Gotham right now, and I’ve had a few Xbox 360 owners claim to be okay at the moment too. But the fact that technical failures this serious are happening, in such catastrophic combinations, on such a seemingly widespread basis--I had no problem accruing 23 negative reports on the game yesterday morning alone--raises some serious questions, a couple of which go way beyond Arkham Origins.

In regards to this specific game, assuming that the day one patch did break the game (I’m not currently sure that it did, but the fact that pre-release and review play was fine is possibly a big hint), how on Earth did Warner Bros. let an update go out that it (in the best case scenario), wasn’t 100% sure was safe (because surely it couldn’t have put the patch out knowing that it was defective)?. If the patch isn’t the cause of the problem, how on Earth did Warner Bros. let a whole game out without knowing what a technical mess it was (because surely it wouldn’t have released its tent-pole title of the last year of a whole console generation knowing it that was defective)? In terms of scope, Origins is not the rushed-out sequel I feared, but on a technical level it currently feels like exactly that. A good game taken out of the oven too early, in order to to avoid being buried by next-gen hoo-ha. 

But the bigger issue is why this stuff keeps happening. Broken games, whether busted at launch or smashed up later by the unforeseen side-effects of supposedly medicinal patches, are not an uncommon thing. In fact at this point, they’re par for the course. When was the last time you didn’t expect a big game release to have problems? When was the last time you felt confident that multiplayer would work from day one, and that you could play through a campaign without any graphical issues or game-killing bugs?

As I've said before, we keep accepting this sort of treatment, and we shouldn't. Imagine if Arkham Origins was a Batman film instead of a Batman game. Imagine if, two-thirds of the way through a screening of The Dark Knight, the projector started stuttering, and then eventually caught fire, melting the reel in front of my very eyes (in my mind, cinemas have not gone digital and never will). 

Say the lights came up and the doors opened. Say the cinema staff gave me the option of starting the whole film again, or just leaving and not bothering with the last act. Would I accept either of those two options as good enough? Would I happily start all over again without feeling the need for compensation for my wasted time and money? Would I balls. But gamers do that all the time. And by doing so, we just invite more of the same shoddy treatment, over and over again.

I got in touch with Warner Bros. for a comment. To their credit, they looked into the issue very quickly and got back to me this morning. The official line from Warner Bros. Montreal is that "We are currently reviewing and validating issues that have been reported to us.  Updates will be deployed once we have fixes available." That at least, is heartening news. Fingers crossed that those fixes become available soon.

Because I really hope that Warner Bros. fixes Arkham Origins. Despite the game’s flaws, I was enjoying it. No, it’s not quite up to the same standards of polish and design flair as Rocksteady’s games. And I’m not convinced that Origins’ free-flow combat works as well as that of Asylum and City. But it’s an enjoyable game regardless, and one that I want to keep playing. But right now, I can’t recommend it to anyone. Before launch, I could, and I did. I want to be able to do that again. But at the moment I just can’t. 

41 comments

  • Shinn - October 31, 2013 3:30 a.m.

    Oh great, now I can't get past Deathstroke. After I beat him, Batman was stuck in a loop examining his new tool, after I quit, the save reloaded before the fight. Now whenever I fight him, he disappears after the first round. I cannot progress.
  • Shinn - October 31, 2013 3:05 a.m.

    The PC version has been stable for me, no crashes or corrupted saves so far. But no matter how I play, or what I do, every takedown alerts every enemy to my exact position. It doesn't matter if it's a stealth takedown, inverted takedown, ledge takedown, anything I do makes every enemy stop what they're doing, scream "he's here!" and start shooting in my immediate direction. Even enemies on the other side of a wall start shooting at the wall in a straight line to my location, with no line of sight at all. It's making the game's stealth sections boring as hell. It's just takedown, grapnel away, move move move, stealth takedown over and over for me.
  • allen-martin - October 30, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    I've played through all of story mode and honestly the bugs weren't that bad. I had a couple failed boot ups and crashes through the course of it, and a few other odd bugs come up. Calling the game borderline broken though is just a gross overstatement. It's not half as buggy as a lot of other games that have come out in the last few years. Honestly my bigger issues are with game play and story which I honestly didn't think lived up to the standards set by the first two games. It's not a bad game at all, but it's not as good as the first two. Though the bugs are minor nuisances at best. Lost save game info could be a big problem, but so far haven't run into that. The other bugs are just mildly annoying, they don't break the game.
  • N7Spartan95 - October 30, 2013 6:07 a.m.

    I was considering getting this, but if things are this bad, I might as well pick up Arkham City for cheap instead.
  • sagakarikikkaru - October 30, 2013 4:01 a.m.

    I had framerate dips but calling it a borderline failure is just overstating it. It's not even that bad.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - October 29, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    I've been growing frustrated at the free flow combat too, thought I was nit picking at first but soon realized it wasn't as good as Rocksteady's.
  • GoldenEagle1476 - October 29, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    Goddamn. This sounds even worse than the GTA Online launch. At least with that the single player wasn't broken.
  • Fuzunga - October 29, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    I have the Wii U version and have experienced no problems thus far.
  • Unoriginal - October 29, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    Alrighty Then: -I randomly become unable to Interrogate thugs after fights. -The game freezes 50% of the time a pre-rendered cutscene starts. -Framerate drops below 1 FPS after I fast-travel. -Sidequests and Riddler icons sometimes disappear from the map until I restart the game. -If I do anything other than stand still during autosaves the game freezes. -Dialog stops playing and I have to read the subtitles to know whats going on. -The Camera has a tendency to enter walls during frantic fight scenes. -Sometimes Batman takes out his Cryptographic Sequencer when in-engine cutscenes begin and the camera goes nuts trying to show me both the Sequencer and the event being portrayed. This is just the things I stumbled into frequently during one playthrough. The PS3 version of the game should not have gone on sale in this condition. I find it alarming how few reviews mention this.
  • Redeater - October 29, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    And here I was, almost regretting getting the 360 version. I've found severe problems with the combat as well. I keep getting hit yet in AA I could pull off the all gadets/all moves combo flawlessly. It's now sitting on my shelf while I dip into AC 4.
  • jh4911 - October 29, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    I've found the PC version fairly stable. I really enjoyed the game, what I really don't understand why the console version is so much more expensive than the PC version.
  • jh4911 - October 29, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    I've found the PC
  • bebl09 - October 29, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    I've found it too, it brought me peace and enlightenment
  • jedisamurai - October 29, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    And that, my friends, is just one of the many reasons why I almost never buy games the day they come out. Paying 60.00 for a game is bad enough. 60.00 for a broken game? It would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. I'll wait for the game-of-the-year edition with all DLC for 19.99 (hopefully with all glitches fixed). And if the glitches are NEVER fixed? Then copies of this game will be floating around for nothing and I'll grab it for pennies. Forget buying new games this Winter. Time to hit the back catalog. I still need to beat Mass Effect 3 again...and Gran Turismo 5 is calling...and I barely started Twilight Princess...oh crap I have over a hundred unplayed games on steam!
  • Bercilak - October 31, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    Precisely, old chum! Except that I'm going to wait for the collector's edition and buy it used. WB Montreal will never see a dime from me. They didn't earn it. I'm tired of broken games being released so that video game companies can use consumers as beta testers--testers who actually *pay* to do so, mind you, by buying the game. Unfortunately, so long as consumers continue to tolerate such shoddy quality, there's no real incentive on the part of companies to change their business practices.
  • CharThom - October 29, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    This game has Bioshock2'd (its an adjective). I've played the same mission from the start 3 times.. when I started I played it for about 7 hours. In that time it froze 11 times and the game bugged during high enemy number fights, 10+. To quote Yahtzee Croshaw, this game is buggier than a big bug bugging out on a dune buggy. My own opinion about the game (ignoring bugs) It's sad because it seems rushed and uninspired, don't think I'm the only person annoyed about the riddle-based riddler challeneges been removed and the guy doing a pretty bad Kevin Conroy impression. But those are my own quams. The state of the bugs in this game and errors etc though are astounding.
  • bread_or_decide - October 29, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    And yet...you gave it a rave review...okay.
  • Bloodstorm - October 29, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    He clearly said he didn't have problems until after the day one patch.
  • bebl09 - October 29, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Not only did Dave not review the game, he clearly states in the article that the review build was fine and that it appears to be the patch that has caused all the issues.
  • Redeater - October 29, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    This game is shit. I've come to this decision. Not being able to play it for the first 5-6 hours because of the WMIB (or whatever). Having a newer 360 and constantly having it freeze after 20 minutes. A completely boring/underwhelming intro that doesn't even hold up to AA let alone AC. Inexplicably NOT having Conroy's voice because they wanted a younger sounding Batman yet he sounds even older because he is trying to do a more gravely Conroy but it just doesn't work. The City design is one of the worst I have ever seen. You have to go through narrow archways all the time because they won't let you go around when moving from one are to the next. One of the worst/complicated menu system I have seen in a while. Ugh, I'm going to stop here. There are too many complaints for this game. Whoever scored this on GR was completely off. Destructoid seems to be the only site who has given it the shit it deserves. (Aside from this great GR article).

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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