GAME NAME: Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition
PUBLISHER(S): Warner Bros.
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Action Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 November 2012
It isn’t often that we get to review (essentially) the same game three times. Previously we gave our opinions on Batman: Arkham City as well as the Game of the Year edition, now with Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition we see whether the third time is indeed the charm.
Arkham City takes place about a year after the events of the original Arkham Asylum, only this time the Caped Crusader finds himself surrounded by villains in an environment nearly five times the size of Arkham’s home for crazy people. The gameplay area is massive, the atmosphere sublime and detail unprecedented; you are very quickly taken back by the slums of Gotham and its sheer magnitude. It is this very same enormity which provides one of the games stand-out features, the longevity of the title. Adding to the standard game the Wii U edition comes bundled with all the previous downloadable content available from previous versions. These include the Catwoman chapters, which are now automatically incorporated into the story, straight off the bat (ah, that never gets old). The Nightwing pack, Robin pack and Harley Quinn’s Revenge are also included as well as the various ‘then exclusive’ skins and bonus content which makes the Armored Edition a complete package for any Wii U owner or Batman fanatic.
A unique Wii U only feature to be added to Arkham City is the BAT mode gives you an advanced additional combat mechanism. The BAT mode is a power-up meter that temporarily gives Batman an extra boost of power to knock out his hordes of enemies. While it is a novel idea to have this exclusive mode included in the Wii U version it doesn’t add anything to the title itself and you can’t help but feel uninspired to actually use the feature. Where the Wii U gamepad does shine however is the absolutely amazing use of audio features.
Those who have played Arkham City before will know that there are many tones and noises which add to the atmosphere of the streets of Arkham City. The speaker on the Wii U gamepad incorporates these sounds into the gameplay in a slightly different manner. This might not seem like an influential thing at first but ultimately has a profound influence on the way you experience the environments. Everything from radio transmissions, enemies voices and telephones ringing shifts seamlessly from the gampad to your TV or surround sound system. This is easily the best Wii U-exclusive feature. The Gamepad acts as a sonar radar for navigation, as it does in most of the current Wii U titles, and is also used to select Batman’s various weapons. Weapons such as the batarang and explosive gel are controlled via the touchscreen which could take some getting used to but this work well once you have gotten the hang of things. Lastly in Detective Mode you are able to hold up and maneuver the Gamepad to investigate your surroundings and search for clues.
Once you have completed the main story mode, a new gamemode is unlocked which allows you to keep your hard-earned items from the previous games but also raises the bar as far as general difficulty is concerned. Not to worry though as you would have spent enough hours completing the standard mode prepping you for this very moment. If that isn’t enough the game also includes mini campaigns as well as the Riddler’s Revenge as found in the original Arkham Asylum. This gives you an idea of the magnitude of Arkham City as you can spend triple the time it took you to finish the story mode just in order to wrap up the extra bit and pieces.
If for some peculiar reason you still haven’t played Batman: Arkham City you owe it to yourself to go out and buy it and getting the Wii U Armored Edition won’t harm either as it delivers the most complete experience to date, making a game that was released in 2011 feel just as fresh and inspiring as though it was a recently released title. For those of you who don’t own a Wii U there is always the GOTY edition but even that lacks the overall shine and polish found in the Armored Edition.