Although at heart a solid game, players of Batman: Arkham Origins have discovered the Dark Knight's latest adventure to be a bit of a bug-riddled mess, regardless of which platform you play it on.
Fortunately, the team at Warner Bros. Montreal has been paying close attention to fan feedback on the game's official forums, and is moving to address some of the most pressing issues having issued an official apology. An initial update will be available for all platforms this week, with an additional update to follow for Xbox 360 owners when some further issues have been successfully tracked down and stamped out.
This week's update will address three main problems: a bug that causes some players to be "stuck in an endless loop of falling" or drop through the world; another bug that prevents the "Continue" option from sometimes appearing in the main menu when attempting to pick up where you left off; and an issue whereby FreeFlow Focus mode would not unlock upon reaching Shadow Vigilante rank 3. PC players get an additional fix: those who have found their progress stymied by the Burnley Tower should find themselves able to continue as normal following the fix.
Two Xbox 360 issues remain outstanding, however, and they're big problems in their own right: corrupted saves and crashes. In both cases, Warner Bros. claims to know what is causing the problems, but notes that a "few more days" are needed to validate the problems before releasing the fixes; in the meantime, the team notes that the freezing issues can sometimes be circumvented by playing while not connected to the Internet.
These bugs are all showstoppers that have blocked many players' progress through the game's single-player campaign. Although, as we noted in our review, the core game itself is solid (and possibly the third-best Batman game ever made), it's always extremely disappointing when a game releases on to store shelves and digital storefronts in a state which doesn't reflect well on the developer and publisher. It is good that Warner Bros. is moving to fix the issues as promptly as possible, but for some -- particularly those who have deleted seemingly corrupted saves and started again -- the damage may already have been done.
This incident is the latest in a long line of occasions that beg an interesting question: is it even worth picking up games the moment they're released any more? Arkham Origins' bugs should have been caught and fixed prior to release; instead, Warner Bros. shipped a game with significant issues to be fixed at a later date -- hardly confidence-inspiring, though it is at least gratifying that the problems are being fixed quickly. Couple that with the increasing number of games who follow up their release with swathes of DLC and then an almost-inevitable Game of the Year rerelease down the road, and it's worth asking whether or not it's worth playing something on "day one" these days, or whether it's worth giving big games a few weeks or months to stew. And this isn't even taking into account those who don't, for whatever reason, have their consoles connected to the Internet; they're stuck with an inferior experience until they go online.
What's your take? Is being able to play something the moment it's released worth the troubles that high-profile titles like Arkham Origins sometimes come bundled with? Or would you rather wait until you know the experience is the best it's going to be?