One of the highlights of my day was getting an e-mail from GameFly telling me that they've just shipped "Batman: Arkham Origins," which means it should be in my mailbox tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. This makes me positively giddy.

After all, both "Arkham Asylum" and "Arkham City" turned out to be fairly great Batman games, and what made them so great was the way they used the various game mechanics to genuinely make you feel like you're Batman. It may be one of my favorite hand to hand combat systems in any game ever, and there was a special satisfaction that came from mastering all the various moves and combos and little by little learning how to beat holy hell out of a room full of bad guys.

Likewise, I'm not always the biggest fan of stealth games, but that's a huge part of being Batman, and the games made it very satisfying and challenging to incorporate stealth into everything. The environments for the two games were well-designed, and the villains you face in the games were great, really outrageous versions of many of the best-known members of his massive rogue's gallery. The Joker has been a major player in both of the first two games, and with "Batman: Arkham Origins" serving as a prequel of sorts, it's a safe bet we'll get more Joker this time as well.

The new launch trailer for the game is just fantastic, and it looks like they've retained everything great about the rest of the series. The combat system seems to be just as percussive as in the first two games. When a series changes developers mid-stream, it can be tricky, but it looks like WB Games Montreal has totally crushed this one.



"Batman: Arkham Origins" is in stores starting right about now.