Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition Review

Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition Review

2011's Batman: Arkham City was the kind of sequel that developers should take note of. It improved the quality of the already tight combat, added a ton of features, changed the setting from a Metroidvania style map to a more open-world map, increased the number of villains from Batman's Rogues Gallery, added 3 more playable characters, and to top it all off, had Batman's costume for the 1990's Animated Series. It rightfully walked away with a slew of Game of the Year awards. Now towards the end of 2012, owners of the Wii U receive a port of 2011's Arkham City. The selling point for this version is the Gamepad integration. So how does this version fare in comparison? To be honest, it's rather mixed.

The biggest addition to the Wii U version is the way information is displayed on your Gamepad. It acts as a mini-map that displays you and your surrounding location. Not only that, it also displays objective markers and allows you to set waypoints. It's a neat touch, and I'm glad a lot of games are utilizing this idea. On top of that, the Gamepad offers full character bios on the fly, so you can essentially become Batman, and prep yourself with knowledge of whoever you're about to face.

Unique to this version is the ability to use sonar radar, to better find the whereabouts of enemies and aide in planning your attacks. There are also touch buttons to access your upgrades, personalize your gadget load out, and a new mode, humorously titled B.A.T mode. This mode grants Batman an enormous boost in strength, and surrounds his fist in electricity. Fighting enemies builds your B.A.T meter, and after a certain point you are able to use it.

While these are nifty integrations, especially the character bios, none of them are particularly mandatory, or necessary. B.A.T mode is a novelty you'll probably find yourself never using, mainly because you're already a powerhouse as it is. Still it may be appealing for people who essentially want to get the job done even faster.

Omitted from these Gamepad features are two that add a fantastic element to the game. The first is the way your Gamepad's camera interacts with the game. In the original version of the game, there are parts of levels where Batman would conduct investigations, where he would need to scan the environment for clues. With the Wii U, you must first calibrate the screen to your TV, and once that's done, you can move the camera around as if you were scanning the three-dimensional area yourself. It was a great element that added immersion to the experience.

Not only that, but there are additions made to some of your gadgets like the cryptographic sequencer, which is fully displayed on your Gamepad screen as a new touch-screen based mini-game. Unlike the features mentioned before, these feel truly great when playing and while they may not be what the game was desperately needing, they make this version a little more interesting.


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