If you’ve bought the Arkham Origins season pass then you have something waiting for you, and that’s a new set of challenge maps. If you don’t have the season pass, then prepare to pay £5.49.
Question is, do four narrative driven challenge maps warrant the price?
Compared to other challenge maps that continue one after another, these maps chronicle Bruce Wayne’s training as a crime fighter, by his Master Kirigi. Think of it more like Batman Begins where you play the parts being trained by ninjas. Here you’ll find a mixture of modes, with two predator and two combat challenges. At the start of each one you’ll be treated to a short cinematic where Bruce’s teacher introduces each challenge. Following the much more humble surroundings, enemies now carry shields made of wood and armored enemies take the shape of samurai warriors.
Locations range from a mountain top monastery and a bamboo forest, suitably well designed, as you’d expect. The biggest changes include the addition of one or two new weapons where Shurikens take over Batarangs and you have the use of Caltrops, as well as what’s known as the Kujiki bomb. Most of these are quite obvious in their action, but the Kujiki bomb aids you by slowing down time for a few seconds, letting you perform silent takedowns easier. This comes in handy during predator maps, should you want to run over to a group of enemies and take multiple targets down at once. You do also have a grapple gun and detective vision, despite none of your hi-tech Batman gear.
I’m quite a fan of challenge maps, but did find the inclusion of more ninjas, alongside their double counters, quite frustrating. However, I can see these maps as perfect ground to hone your ninja countering skills. For the small story arc, though, it doesn’t serve as much, but it does enough to link each map together. It’s also worth noting that on each map you’re forced to have a modifier enabled (pre-determined of course), which might task you with a time limit or fiercer opponents. At the end you also have a short fight with Shiva, but nothing more really comes of it.