When I first heard about the Nintendo Wii U, I wasn’t the least bit interested, especially with that ostentatious looking gamepad…until they announced Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. My first thought was Armored Edition would be another watered downed, gimmicked rip-off of the 360 and PS3 Arkham City we played last year, but after getting my hands on it, it may be the best version of the game.
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Released: Nov. 18, 2012
Platform: Nintendo Wii U
The big question is what’s the big difference between the Wii U version of Arkham City and the other version. The big answer: the addition of that ugly, but well functional, gamepad. The term “Armored Edition” in the title implies exactly that, where, as Batman and Catwoman, you have special armor that becomes available after kicking so much bad guy butt, and with the touch of a button or the click of a stick, your character becomes that much tougher. Yes, it is a gimmick add on, but it becomes very useful in the more intense fights of the game.
The gamepad offers a lot of aesthetic ease from the original version, with maps, menus, and upgrade screens appearing on the pad; and subtle, but fun nuances like the gamepad’s audio acting as Batman’s cowl communicator, with Alfred and Oracle coming right through your ear, where distant conversations within the City come through your TV’s speakers.
You do have the option of playing the entire game without your TV and solely on the gamepad, with all the special Wii U features cut out, which is nice, but I personally don’t recommend it. The gamepad actually adds to the experience with its special advantages, and playing just on the gamepad feels like you’re playing Arkham City on the hugest hand-held since the Sega GameGear, except you can’t play on-the-go.
The story and missions are identical to the original version, however, just like the game of the year edition, all the DLC is included. The many costumes, the Nightwing and Robin challenges, all the maps, and the Harley Quinn’s Revenge campaign are all here.
The only problem with the game is the frame rate. When action picks us, the game is often choppy, but the graphics themselves are just as slick as ever. If you’ve never played Arkham City, and have the Wii U, this is a must play game. But the unique armor upgrades in this version aren’t enough to run out and buy a new copy of the same game you’ve already played.
So far, I’m more impressed with Nintendo showing me how much better a game can be with the gamepad than with this new Arkham City itself, but that’s not to say this game isn’t worth your money. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition and the Wii U itself are both pretty cool in my book.
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