A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn logical reasoning, the value of teamwork, and how to handle stress while playing this action-heavy, Caped Crusader romp. They must analyze scenes for clues and apply the information they glean to making decisions. However, a good part of the game is spent in combat. Batman: Arkham Origins can sharpen a player's sleuthing abilities, hand-eye coordination (while mastering acrobatic combat moves), and social skills when playing with others.
On one hand, the message is positive -- you're the Caped Crusader out to stop thugs and criminal masterminds -- but on the flipside the game focuses heavily on combat. Still, it has a positive message to stop those who do harm to others.
Positive Role Models
For the most part, Batman is a positive role model, but he does engage in close combat with enemies. He can punch, kick, and use weapons to clear a scene. He is noble and brave and wants to clean up Gotham City, but he does rely on combat (and exploration and detective skills) to achieve his goals. You also can play as Robin in this game. In the multiplayer version, be aware that you can also become a supervillain and be part of the Joker or Bane’s gang -- and even play as them temporarily.
Ease of Play
The game plays similarly to the two previous Arkham-branded Batman games, utilizing the dual analog sticks, face buttons, and triggers. Newcomers to the genre might have a harder time at first, but overall this game has a fairly straightforward control mechanic.
Violence & Scariness
Though tamer than most other third-person action games, including "Teen"-rated ones like the Uncharted series, this game does have a lot of melee combat (mostly in the story campaign) and some ranged (firearm) combat in the shooter-like online multiplayer modes. Blood can be seen smeared on walls and floors. Some forensics scenes might be disturbing, with strewn bodies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In one scene, a villain appears to be briefly groping a female character's behind.
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Profanity can be heard in the dialogue, including words like "s--t," "bastard," "bitch," and "ass."
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Products & Purchases
Although not based on a particular Batman TV show, movie, or comic book, the game is closely tied to the DC Comics "Dark Knight" universe.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene depicts illegal narcotics with a white substance in small packets.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an action-heavy game with a strong emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and third-person shooter mechanics in the multiplayer modes. Players also can assume the role of the bad guys on the online games. Batman uses fists and kicks as well as special weapons to beat up the baddies. Some blood can be seen in the environment, along with dead bodies. The Joker and other characters might scare younger gamers. Finally, there is one sexually suggestive scene (a villain grabbing someone's buttocks), some profanity, and representation of illegal narcotics.
Is It Any Good?
Yes, it is, but those who played the last two games -- Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City -- might get a sense of deja vu. Oh, sure, the developer added a fresh story and a couple of new mechanics, not to mention the fun online multiplayer mode, but it won't take long to question whether this is essentially the same game as its two predecessors. Still, the free-flowing third-person combat feels great, the stealth and detective elements are deliciously tense, and the well-written story has a few exciting twists and turns. And boy, is it a good-looking game: playing the Xbox 360 version on a 60-inch LED TV helped elevate the overall experience.
Bottom line? As long as you go in knowing Batman: Arkham Origins is essentially the same kind of game as the two that came before it -- but with a new story and online multiplayer -- fans of the Caped Crusader will enjoy this deliciously dark action-adventure hybrid.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.