Hands-On Preview: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
With Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition including all of the DLC previously released for the game, it could be one of the best values when it launches with the Wii U. Whether or not it will be worth buying a second time around for previous owners doesn’t seem likely though.
“Having played the original Xbox 360 version of Arkham City, I can safely say that its Wii U incarnation is nearly the same as its current gen counterparts. Though it ran a bit sluggish compared to the other versions, it looked and felt more-or-less like I was playing it on my 360. However, the standard attack and counter buttons are transposed, so nearly half of my playtime with the demo was focusing on unlearning the Xbox 360 control scheme.
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition makes use of the GamePad to mixed effect, using its touch screen as both a persistent minimap and inventory management system. These features were originally only available by pausing the game on the PS3/360 versions, so the on-the-fly system helps to maintain the game’s momentum. The touch screen interface is also much more intuitive and helpful when selecting gadgets and weapons in the field than the original jittery thumbstick setup. Where the gamepad stumbles is that it’s now also used for the remote controlled Batarang weapon and (I’m guessing) other such devices too. When you fire the Batarang, the GamePad switches to the Batarang-POV screen, which originally came up on the TV screen, forcing your attention onto the GamePad and making you use the already obtuse and unwieldy remote control mechanic on a screen barely a quarter the size of what you originally had to work with.
I breezed through the combat section of the demo, then spent close to five minutes just messing around with the Batarang because the GamePad actually made it harder to use. So for all its little additions, it doesn’t look like Rocksteady did anything incredibly innovative for the Armored Edition beyond trying to capitalize on the Wii U’s new gimmick with a few token features. It is, of course, just a port of a current gen game onto the Wii U, so I can’t really fault Rocksteady for not wanting to re-invent the wheel on this one, though this just means I’d expect them to actually do something noteworthy with the Wii U’s capabilities when it comes time for them to make actual games for it.
The bottom line is that Arkmam City is one of the best games of the last few years, and what console it’s on makes little difference. However, if you already own a copy of it for the 360 or PS3, then there’s just not enough new things in the Armored Edition to warrant a second purchase just for the Wii U. However, if you’ve been holding out on buying Arkham City and are looking for the perfect launch game to bundle with your new Wii U, then I would definitely recommend it.”
“The fact that such a game as Arkham City can now be played by Nintendo fans is great news. The Armored Edition port is a faithful reproduction of the title, only it utilizes the Wii U GamePad to perform various functions in the gameworld. The GamePad is pretty bulky and using it as a controller for a third-person action game is uncomfortable, especially when you need to keep looking down at the touch screen or must reach over to touch it. Considering how the touchpad controls don’t really do anything better than the original scheme, I’m going to give this one a pass.”