The Games Of Christmas: Batman Arkham Origins (Xbox One/360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)

Batman Arkham Origins

UPDATE: We've updated the article to reflect that the game wasn't released for PlayStation 4, but PlayStation 3. However, you can play it on PlayStation 4 through PlayStation Now, and we recommend doing so when you get the chance.)

ORIGINAL STORY: We’re taking a look at some of the best games with Christmas themes, just in time for the holiday, and we’ve got a selection of a few favorites that you’re sure to love – even if you’re not playing them today or tomorrow.

For our final selection in The Games of Christmas, we once again turn to the Caped Crusader, who was previously profiled in Batman Returns. This time around, the adventure being recommended is Batman Arkham Origins, which was released in 2013, inbetween Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Games. Origins was produced by WB Montreal, and considered by many to be a top-notch game, despite some technical hiccups and comparisons to Arkham City.

The game takes place over a very chaotic Christmas Eve, in which Batman is called in to stop a jailbreak at Blackgate Penitentiary, led by the vicious Black Mask. It’s here that the Dark Knight actually learns about a heinous plot, in which a handful of assassins are after his head for a $50 million bounty. Rather than hide in the Batcave and put the public in peril, Batman opts to face off against his adversaries – and find that there’s more to the story than originally thought.

The game features a who’s who of superstars from the Dark Knight’s world, including Deathstroke, the Electrocutioner, Killer Croc, the Penguin, Copperhead, Bane, Deadshot, Firefly, Shiva, and, making his return after Arkham City, a much younger Joker. They’re all involved in a wild plot that will have Batman facing off against the very best, using a number of abilities and special tools to get through each of the stages.

Batman Arkham Origins 2

Batman Arkham Origins’ design is nothing short of stunning, as WB Montreal’s take on the Dark Knight’s world is just as good as Rocksteady’s, with a huge city to explore and a variety of missions to take on. It also looks terrific, especially on the Xbox One, as the game became available for the backward compatibility program for that system earlier this year. (The other versions, especially for PC, look terrific as well.)

The game also introduces some new gameplay techniques, including the ability to use electrical gloves while fighting, as well as improvemets to detective mode and other equipment. There’s also a New Game Plus mode, for those that are willing to take on a heightened challenge.

Origins also introduced multiplayer to the series for the first time, and many felt it was an unnecessary addition, mainly because these Batman affairs are meant to be enjoyed by a single player. Still, there are some who came to like it, although WB has since shut down the servers for it, so you’re on your own from this point onward.

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With sharp gameplay, a solid presentation (complete with a voice cast that includes Troy Baker, Roger Craig Smith and Kelly Hu) and plenty to do within its immense world, Batman Arkham Origins is an overlooked game in the series that deserves a second chance. Besides, the more interest it receives, the better chance we have of getting a sequel – and we know a lot of folks who want one.

Quick side note -- being able to play as Deathstroke in the challenge mode and play through the Mr. Freeze-oriented Cold, Cold Heart DLC (loosely based on Batman: The Animated Series' "Heart of Ice" episode is awesome.

Batman Arkham Origins is available now for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (through PlayStation Now), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.