Review: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition is the definitive caped crusader experience
In 2011, gamers were treated to what might be the best super-hero video sequel made to date, this side of Spider Man 2. Batman: Arkham City really managed to step it up in terms of story and setting. Now Batman made his way to Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, sporting some new armor and some new tricks thanks to the Wii U gamepad.
Batman: Arkham City continues the tale of the caped crusader after Gotham falls under the hands of Hugo Strange, who insists on going through with a plan called Protocol 10. It's up to Bruce Wayne to become Batman once more and not only figure out what Protocol 10 is, but also take down other classic Batman villains.
Arkham City, run down and crime ridden as it may be, is an absolutely joy to explore. It's filled with so much to do, it will sometimes make you forget the task at hand. You once again have over 400 Riddler trophies to find and solve, a myriad of challenge rooms, challenge maps and Invisible Predator challenges to take part in. However, once you unlock the ability to propel yourself through the air, you'll find yourself lost in the freedom and ability to fly around the city.
If you've either played Batman: Arkham City or read our original review, you should know that not much has changed to the story itself. Save for a few new recorded lines which make sense given Batman's new armor, you essentially have the same game you've played back in 2011, with a few minor tweaks.
It's what Armored Edition does with the gamepad that make it so much more interesting. Aside from ZombiU, this might be the next best integration of the Wii U's gamepad, and I'm hoping more developers take note of what possibilities this new controller has.
First of all you're entire arsenal of gadgets is easily crammed into one inventory screen and makes switching items a breeze. You still have access to hotkeys, but the presentation and inclusion of this feature feels natural in the Batman universe. Detective mode is now done exclusively through the gamepad and allows you to move it around to scan the environment around you. For those that are in fear of having to actually rotate around on your couch, just know that analog sticks work just fine as well.
The gamepad also shows an expanded map, as well as the handy sonar for detecting enemies around you. This feature is great for stealth sections where enemy awareness is necessary. You're also free to upgrade Batman's abilities and suit through the gamepad's screen, which decreases the time spent in menus.
The fantastic combat remains largely the same, but now has an additional power-up in the form of BAT mode. When fighting, your BAT bar gradually fills up, and eventually allows you to activate BAT mode which enhances Batman for a short period of time with a power boost. This allows you to dispatch enemies quicker, and keep that combo multiplier going.
Armored Edition is also the complete form of the game since it includes every single DLC released thus far, including the Nightwing and Robin challenge rooms, Catwoman DLC, Harley Quinn's Revenge and all of the skins. If you're looking to get the biggest Batman bang for your buck, the Wii U version is certainly the way to go.
Graphically speaking, Armored Edition is fairly similar to its other console counterparts, though it does look like some corners had to be cut. Take the Armored suits for example. The sheen and polish of them make them actually look a lot less detailed than the ones on Xbox 360 and PS3. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but if you're going to nitpick about slight graphical differences, the armor is the biggest giveaway.
If you've already played through the entirety of the game and its DLC, chances are the gamepad functionality won't sway you to re-purchase Arkham City. However, for Nintendo purists who have up until now only had a Wii, or perhaps anyone living under a rock and didn't get to experience Arkham City the first time around, Armored Edition is the complete and definitive version that's currently on the market.