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Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition Hands-On

Published 2 years, 1 month ago by Robert Workman

It’s hard to believe what Rocksteady Studios has been able to accomplish in a matter of just a few years. In 2009, the company released Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game many considered to be one of the better comic book games in existence.  But then, last year, Arkham City followed, opening up the experience even further with new missions and abilities, and fans went even more bonkers over it, proclaiming it to be not just one of the best, but the best comic book game out there.  Now Rocksteady, with the help of WB, is bringing that experience to yet another platform, this time the Wii U.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition will bring all the blockbuster content from the original game to Nintendo’s next-gen console, complete with its various side missions, Riddler challenges and bonus characters, including Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing.  (For good measure, Harley Quinn’s Revenge should also be included in there.)  

In addition, the Wii U version will get exclusive bonus missions, though Rocksteady reps weren’t ready to reveal just what these missions entail just yet.  

What they did do for us is provide a hands-on session with the game, not only showing us how the game controls mapped out on the controller, but how the touch screen was utilized with certain parts of the game.

When it comes to general controls with Arkham City Armored Edition, it did take some getting used to.  The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions had quick button presses with their controller set-ups, while the Wii U controller is obviously much wider thanks to the inclusion of a touch-screen.  After a little bit of swooping around and beating up thugs, we found the controls to be quite intuitive and easy to get into.  Little did we know that this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Wii U touch screen actually plays a vital part through some of Arkham City’s segments, really making you feel more like the Dark Knight than previous versions.  No mode demonstrated this better than Detective Mode.  You activate this by hitting the left bumper, and then, when you’re tracking clues, you have to hold up the controller to the TV, moving it around to detect the clue.  Once you find it, you hit the A button to scan it and then follow the trail, usually a DNA trail or maybe even a light source, like a trail coming from a nearby church tower after the Joker fires a sniper bullet.  A little confusing at first, but some players will absolutely love this feature.

Over the course of general gameplay, you’ll be able to pick items that you need simply by tapping icons on the touch screen, through an accessible menu screen.  This means you don’t have to hit the D-pad every time you want to use a Batarang.  For good measure, you can also add functions to the D-pad by dragging icons over into empty slots, for even easier selection.

The remote Batarang controls have been modified with the Wii U controller.  When you throw one, you actually guide its path by tilting your device, using its gyroscopics, to determine its path.  (Regular controls work all the same as well.)  While this section wasn’t quite the greatest due to its inverted controls, again, fans should enjoy it.

With the touch screen, you’re also able to access WayneTech upgrades without needing to pause the game.  Simply slide over to a secondary screen and, through a special display set-up, you can see what’s available in terms of new combat techniques and other goods, which will help you survive your jaunt through Arkham City.  You can also pull up a map at any time, pinpointing certain locations and marking them so you’ll be able to get to them, whether you’re using a grapple gun or gliding onto the scene.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition’s visuals don’t quite look as stunning as what Nintendo might have had in mind, as the resolution didn’t quite represent the 1080p that the company has boasted the Wii U is able to produce.  That said, the game is still very much in the works, and thus far, Rocksteady and WB have done a good job getting the game up and running on the new device.  The animations continue to be superb, especially the up-close finishing attacks on your enemies, and the environment will take a great deal of time to explore, especially the hidden nooks and crannies hiding some interesting Easter eggs.  (You found Bane’s stuff, right?)

Though most of us have already coasted through Batman: Arkham City, Armored Edition could very well be a worthy pick-up for the Wii U when it launches later this year.  It really depends on how much of a Bat-freak you really are.  You’ve got those custom batarangs, right?

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