Upgrades in Batman: Arkham Origins

One of the things that I disliked, at least at first, in the latest Batman: Arkham game was the changes to the upgrade system.


I get the idea of using a chain system and the links between chains, but on first view it did seem pretty horrible to look at. The colours didn’t quite work for me and it was a huge block of err, blocks. Simply getting to this menu wasn’t too slick either. What complicated matters is that the game had a lot more menus than was really necessary. There’s two screens for upgrading using points earned through leveling up and one for the upgrades earned through special activities. Tracking of these activities is done elsewhere with a menu section for bad guy side quests, then another for other side quest stuff and yeah, several others. It was a clusterfuck and having played the game quite a lot (it is fun, honest!), I really couldn’t tell you how to navigate it… hence my vague descriptions.

What bugged me the most was the tier system where you had to do certain actions to unlock different levels before getting certain upgrades. There’s quite a large number of items that I haven’t unlocked despite having completed the game and I’ll probably not unlock them.

Maybe it is just me but if it is the norm for players to have the majority of upgrades in the third section (i.e. tier system & side quests) locked at the end of the game then that is pretty broken. Upgrades are there to make life easier and give you a better chance of success. Once then game is completed, you’re not going to be challenged more than the big finale fights and later stages so getting a great new way to beat opponents isn’t so much of a big deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I think having side quests unlock stuff makes perfect sense but I reckon that the third section of the Arkham Origins Upgrade system was far too limiting and didn’t have the right implementation. They perhaps would have been better having extra costumes unlock by completing the sort of gameplay content that you often do once the main story is done.

It is a general grievance that I have in games is the limited amount of upgrades provided. All too often I only get a third of the way through upgrades, but at least Arkham Origin did actually let me make good progress through the upgrade sections where I picked what to unlock. If the stuff tied to gameplay was better aimed at things that you’re likely to get done mid game that would have been great, although not the best implementation.

Hopefully Batman: Arkham Knight (or whatever the new one is called) will have fewer UI screens for upgrades and having all the side quest and tier stuff (if that is kept) along with anything else aimed as post-story all be tied to unlocking non-functional items and content, such as extra costumes, challenges, art work and of course achievements/trophies.

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