Batman Arkham Origins is a prequel to the previous two games and takes place in a time frame before Batman has allied with commissioner Gordon. In this Arkham, Batman has no friends and most of the cops are dirty. It's a darker, angrier Batman - a lone wolf fighting crime with the aid of his old friend, Alfred. This scenario forms the foundation for future relationships with some of his nemeses such as the Joker, the Riddler and Penguin.
The sense of deja vu with Batman Origins is quite strong and not surprisingly as you know you've been here before in Batman Arkham City. It's not that the game is bad, it's just not great and I suspect that for people like myself who have played the previous games, it's a disappointment in terms of not offering much that is new. Basically, in many ways it's a clone of the previous game. You can tell that the assets have been re-used, brushed with a thin coat of paint to make them seem fresh. The one big difference is that you can now access the Bat Cave where you can change costumes, upgrade equipment and access challenges. It's also nice to see Alfred play more of a role in the story.
Arkham City is partitioned into several neighbourhoods and once Batman disables a signal-blocking tower for the area, you can fast travel to points using the Batwing. At this point, the Riddler is known as Enigma and once again there are hundreds of collectibles to be had by solving his puzzles located throughout the map. However, they won't task many brain cells as these are much easier than in Arkham City and with so many of them, they become more of a chore than a challenge.
Combat remains much the same, although some new enemy types and gadgets have been added. Each enemy type requires certain combos in order to chain your kills for more points. There are two contextual buttons used in combination with other button variations. I personally found this a bit overwhelming as I initially had trouble remembering which combination of buttons to use with which enemy. In the midst of a furious battle, where several different combos are required, there is not much time to think about it. Your performance after each encounter is rated, and for the first half of the game, I couldn't seem to get better than C's. The last half of the main story I started hitting more B's. Mind you, I didn't avail myself of the training room in the Bat Cave, so I might have been able to improve that with more practice. Regardless, with 12 different gadget buttons plus a variety of combos with another bunch of button sequences, the mechanics are just too convoluted for my brain to remember when surrounded by multiple types of enemies. Defeating them doesn't depend on doing it all perfectly, but it affects your grading, experience points, and the unlocking of certain upgrades.
My biggest beef, however, with the last two games, and particularly this one, is the shortness of the main story. I was sitting somewhere less than 47% game completion when I hit the final boss, but just as in AC, your game is hijacked at a certain point and you must follow through to the story's end before free roam becomes available again. To add insult to injury, this also means sitting through 25 minutes worth of credits rolling. I really feel the developers cheaped out and replaced story content with tons of challenge maps as fillers. I always need a motive to be dong what I'm doing and goal and challenge maps don't cut it for me, although a few to hone combat skills are okay.
There are several other little irritations with the game, but not technical issues per say. At least not for me. As in Batman Arkham City, there is a 2D segment with camera lock, which drives me crazy when using the keyboard and mouse. Directional control is extremely difficult during these segments and I really don't get the whole point of why they do this. I just makes the insulting assumption that everyone plays with a controller.
I would say that if you have not played the other Batman games or if you just want your Batman fix that Origins is worth playing if you enjoy trying to master challenging combat situations. Arkham City, IMO, is a better and more interesting game since it was quite different than it's predecessor Arkham Asylum. Origins doesn't make the same leap in originality, which is probably what a lot of people are disappointed with.
When this game was released, it was very buggy, a situation users blamed on the fact that the game was not developed by Rocksteady. It became even more contentious when Warner Brothers announced that the developer would not be releasing any more patches, but would instead be working on the DLC. In hindsight, this would prove to be rather ironic given the PC version of Rocksteady's next game, Arkham Knight had to be pulled from the market due to being completely unplayable for most people. It was finally re-released four months later.Speaking of the DLC, Cold, Cold Heart is worth the play and tells the story of Mr. Freeze.