Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Armature Studio
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
October 25, 2013

When I heard that Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate would be a 2.5D adventure complete with many of the sweet abilities we enjoyed in the console iterations, I was excited. The PlayStation Vita could definitely use a top-quality title featuring the uber-popular superhero and besides, the fresh 2.5D perspective offers a very different style of gameplay. Ideally, it’d be a blend of old-school entertainment and current technology; it has been done well in the past. Sadly, while Blackgate can be fun, the repetition gets tiring and there are several glaring, disappointing design miscues that hinder one's enjoyment.

The visual presentation isn’t bad, but I found it too dark and largely uninspired. Perhaps the developers felt a little constricted operating within that pseudo-side-scrolling format, and the result is a game that seems oddly outdated. The character designs, which are a definite highlight in Arkham Origins for consoles, aren’t especially impressive in Blackgate . And just as I wasn’t a huge fan of the world design in this game’s bigger brother, I’m not enamored with the layout of the Vita/3DS effort, either. Still, there are some well-implemented encounters with iconic villains, and there is some appreciated environmental variety.

The sound could certainly be a lot better, as the music selection is somewhat bland and the effects are just a step above generic. It’s always tougher to gauge the audio of a portable production when you’re accustomed to console games, but I have heard superior sound in other Vita games. It’s not that the sound is poor or even mediocre; it simply lacks that dynamic appeal one would expect from a fast-paced, engaging superhero adventure. However, when the Caped Crusader surprises a hapless foe, you’re often treated to a rewarding – and fitting – set of effects. Those decent effects further complement hectic combat, and that’s a good thing.

Blackgate is a prequel to Arkham Asylum and is set after the events of Origins , so it can act as a worthwhile follow-up to the new Batman quest on consoles. You just have to be willing to put up with a few significant problems, such as a mostly worthless map, a throwaway story, and some control issues that pertain not to responsiveness but to the environment. If you’re okay with those drawbacks, you’ll probably get plenty of entertainment out of this handheld offering, even though it does start to feel repetitive and tiresome after a while. The key so the fun factor is Batman’s power and capability, which is abundantly clear.