Saturday, 16 February 2013

Review: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Wii U)

Even though Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition on Wii U covers up Catwoman’s cleavage with a kind of all-over-body chastity suit and some of the Wii U controller features take a little practice, it’s still the solid game it was when it released in 2011.

The combat remains the best you’ll find anywhere, never mind on Wii U. It’s methodically creative in that Arkham City allows the player to build up a rhythm of attack and counter, with the occasional bat-grapple to a ledge to figure out a different strategy if numbers are a concern or take a moment to consult the map or unlock an upgrade. The only real tangible difference, is that Catwoman and Batman have a new base suit, which builds up kinetic energy as the fight rages on and can then be unleashed as a “power-up” to increase the damage being dealt.

Whereas other versions of Arkham City pause the action while Batman consults his computer and applies upgrades, this happens in real time with the Wii U version. The screen on the Wii U Gamepad functions as Batman’s gauntlet computer. That means Batman should be in a safe spot before consulting the computer. The screen presents a real-time map that can be consulted with a glance and it also instantly displays character information sheets. It’s also the interface for locating radio signals and the other quick mini-games to crack codes and locks.

The controller isn't so useful when it comes to manipulating the radio-controlled batarangs and it probably could have done without the extra level of detective vision where the player physically moves the pad around to locate items of note, but after a short learning curve it becomes less of a gimmick and something that does a little more to “immerse” the player in the experience.

Most of what it written above is directed to players that have already experienced Arkham City. Retreading story beats for those that have completed the game – multiple times, for this writer – isn't important. How Batman winds up in Arkham City; the multiple villain cameos including Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, and Bane; Hugo Strange’s ominous Protocol 10; and the twist ending. None of that is important other than to say, it’s still there and comic book fans experiencing it for the first time are in for a treat.

It's also just a lot of fun to tackle a challenge arena for a quick combat fix or just explore Arkham City because there's more than just the main story to work through, like the many Riddler trophies to collect.

Batman: Arkham City is one of the best games ever created, no matter the platform. It’s engaging from beginning to end, the production values are first rate, and on Wii U there’s an extra level of depth to the experience. You can't go wrong with an outright purchase.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Combat is as good as it ever was
- Love the Gamepad functions, even if they take a little adjusting to
- Awesome story

The Bad:
- Uh, no big surprises for players that have already fought through the other versions, I guess

Score: 10 / 10