Batman: Arkham Origins,Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U) Preview

The Bat is back… way back.

Before Batman became The Dark Knight that Gotham City revered, he was merely a vigilante in a cosplay outfit throwing around gadgets with funny names and chasing one particular cat-shaped woman. Or at least that's what Gordon thought of him, and maybe even Alfred. Bruce Wayne eventually convinces both that he is on the side of justice, and that the city needs him to control the ever-growing number of crazy villians, though Gordon believes it's him who attracts their attention. I believe he has a point there, but nonetheless, Batman: Arkham Origins explores Batman's growth and purpose as he matures into the spiky-eared badass fans know and love.

Building upon the asymmetric multiplayer mode shown a month before, Warner Bros. revealed a lengthy hands-off demo of the single-player campaign at PAX Prime 2013 behind closed doors. The plot revolves around a younger Bruce Wayne, in his mid- to late twenties, tasked with locating and stopping the mobster supervillian Black Mask, who, with his considerable influence and sizeable bank account puts out a multi-million reward for anyone who can "bag the bat." This lures eight assassins, of which Batman fans will recognize immediately, to Gotham City at a chance for fame and fortune, challenging not only Batman's physical and mental prowess, but also his still-naive idealistic goals.

Every group of enemies Batman encounters and successully defeats while exploring the snow-laden boroughs of Gotham City yields experience for physical upgrades and gadget enhancements. Heading into a fight without a plan and punching everyone in sight is certainly one way to handle the situation, but that's not how Batman usually approaches a battle where's he clearly outnumbered and outgunned, and thus you won't earn many experience points that way. Instead, stealthily knocking out criminals one by one and not taking a single hit will reward players with the highest grades and experience boosts. There's nothing necessarily wrong with taking the bloody brawler route, though; it'll just take longer to learn new abilities that way.

During various story missions and case files strewn throughout the city, Batman must use his detective skills to piece together a crime scene to discover the true culprit. While racing across a rooftop, he is halted by the spotlight of a police helicopter, only for it to stutter, spin, and crash wildly to the ground in an explosion. Scanning around the wreckage, Batman discovers that the tail rudder was shot and promptly uploads the data to his supercomputer back in his cave that can trace the scene backwards. Eventually, he finds that the shot seemingly came from a S.W.A.T. team member perched high near the crime scene, but that doesn't make sense, so he investigates further to find that only one man could have the skills to accomplish this: Deadshot.

Most enemies will start off being low-level, unarmed grunts who Batman wouldn't even consider taking out, but it isn't long before they wise up and bring along armored flunkies and armed gunmen to their gangs. For these tougher groups, Batman can wield the remote claw, which like the rope shot from Just Cause 2, can either tie him to another object or tie two objects together for deadly and sometimes comical effect. The claw can create a rope between two columns for a place for Batman to balance upon, or it can connect an enemy to a fire extinguisher for a well-placed explosive knock-out.

Then in one particular boss fight, Batman will obtain the rechargeable shock gloves that rid his need to fight defensively against shielded and armored opponents. Suffice it to say, they will help in clearing out foes with utmost speed.

Batman: Arkham Origins is slated for release on October 25th for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Wii U.