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Reconstructing crimes in Batman: Arkham Origins


Warner Bros. Montreal is bringing a new side-mission distraction to Batman: Arkham Origins that will pique the interests of those who've enjoyed the forensic focus of Rocksteady's games. At E3 I put on my detective cowl to try out the new "Crime Reconstruction" mechanic.

It began, as it so often does, on a rooftop on a cold Gotham night. As Batman, I saw a police helicopter rise from behind the ledge, ordering me to surrender. Even if I wanted to, a gunshot took the helicopter down before I could respond. It spiralled out of control, tailspinning several stories into the icy street below. Confused, I swooped down to look for survivors. The helicopter was wrecked, and I found a body flung a few feet away: the dead pilot.

This is where the crime reconstruction began. First I analysed the body in Detective Mode with the Evidence Scanner, which takes in all of the crime scene's data in hyper-quick time to play Columbo within seconds. As I scanned, I saw the helicopter's crash trace back in time, in suitably cool-looking virtual blue bittiness. As it replayed, I saw the copter take out a first-story ledge before crashing into the earth below. Scanning the body, I learned he died on impact, and not from the gunshot.

Gallery: Batman: Arkham Origins (E3 2013) | 4 Photos

A nifty little touch here, for those who like their forensic depth, is the display brought up after the scan. This one showed me the speed of impact, the victim's weight, the angle of impact, and other bits of data, giving me an idea of how the scanner worked it out.

This particular crime reconstruction had four stages, the first of which was scanning the body. I eventually learned the tail rotor was severed as it hit the building, and then a scan of the rotor indicated it had been shot. The final stage saw me trace the trajectory of the bullet to a sniper, who himself had been shot - he'd originally been aiming for me. Scanning the sniper's dead body revealed there could have only been one dude capable of the shot - have a guess who.

While there's only so much detecting to be done when voice-over hints and colored indicators are involved, the mechanic still made me feel a bit more like the world's greatest detective, at least during this first time. Also, it was plain fun to mess around with. I could rewind and fast forward through the crime scene, allowing me to enjoy the depth of physics and detail of the visualisation. In the cool virtual blue of Origins' Detective Mode, it was a visually pleasing fit.

While in theory it'd be nice if the detecting was a bit more challenging - and maybe it is at other times - the truth is that I'm not the goddamn Batman, and I probably need all the hints I can get.

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