We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.

The NWR E3 2013 Awards

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate

by Neal Ronaghan - June 17, 2013, 12:14 pm EDT

The Metroid Prime guys are making a 2D Batman Metroidvania. So far so good.

Our ears perked up when Armature Studios, a company founded by the leads from the Metroid Prime games, was announced to be making a Metroid style Batman game on 3DS. While the E3 demo only showed the opening area, which was light on exploration and heavy on proving they can make a 2D Arkham game, the potential is there, and a great number of the NWR staff is excited by their promise.

As we find out more before the game's October 25 release, our tune might change, but for now, check out this clip from Jonathan Metts' E3 2013 impressions and see our optimism.

Blackgate is a 2.5D game, meaning that Batman's movement is always two-dimensional, even as the environments wrap around him. The effect is similar to Klonoa, or the new Donkey Kong Country on Wii U. Occasionally, you can even use the grappling hook to move in or out of plane, which gives the game a surprising 3D feel. Completing the immersion, enemies can surround Batman in 3D; he will face them as needed and pull them into his own proximity, allowing for follow-up on the main axis of movement. All of this allows the developer, Armature Studios (founded by three ex-Retro Studios guys) to establish a fully 3D world that accurately captures the feel of Batman's console games, even as player movement is reliably two-dimensional. We've seen this recently in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, but this unfinished Batman demo is already more impressive.

For a 2D game with plenty of platforming, it's interesting to note that Batman cannot jump at will. He will take a running leap from ledges, as in a Zelda game, and you can even glide from a higher point, but vertical movement is restricted to climbing and grappling. This actually gave me a distinct association with Bionic Commando, which is another great touchstone for understanding how the game feels. There was plenty of hand-to-hand combat in the demo, and it perfectly captures the heaviness and rhythm of fighting in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City on consoles.


Professor ClaytonClay Johnson, Associate EditorJune 17, 2013

The 3DS Batman game is the only thing on this list that I'd count as something of a pleasant surprise... I didn't have high hopes for it until hearing the away team's impressions. Now it's something I'll be keeping a really close eye on. If they can make a strong offshoot of the console series for 3DS, I'll be quite pleased. Of course, if not... I'll have to blame you guys for getting my hopes up. ;)

Leo13June 18, 2013

What i want to know is if the exclusion of Donkey Kong from this list had more to do with disappointment about what you were hoping Retro was making or was the game legitimately not that fun?

CericJune 18, 2013

Quote from: Leo13

What i want to know is if the exclusion of Donkey Kong from this list had more to do with disappointment about what you were hoping Retro was making or was the game legitimately not that fun?

I played the Demo at the Best Buy event.  Its Donkey Kong.  Its Donkey Kong.  Not much more to say.  Going against Super Mario World I can easily see why it wouldn't make the list.

Donkey Kong was one of the last ones out. Our conclusion was that it didn't really wow us because it was so similar to DKCR. Although, remember, DKCR kicked ass, so that doesn't mean we all think DKC Tropical Freeze was bad. It just wasn't one of the best games we saw at E3.

jarodeaJune 18, 2013

I don't really disagree much with the games on the list being there but it's still a pretty disappointing list to me.  Like Professor Clayton only Batman for the 3DS was a pleasant surprise.  Even more shocking that my favorite game from a Nintendo E3 was a 3rd party game, and even more shocking than that it was on a handheld.

Got a news tip? Send it in!