COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition Wii U Review

Updated: 12/10/2012 1:29 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

I really enjoyed Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s “Batman Arkham City” for the PS3 when it came out and I was very impressed. 

The graphics and story were amazing. So when I heard that “Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition” was going to be released on Nintendo’s Wii U, I was pretty skeptical. Could it be as good as on the PS3 or XBOX 360?  What would the graphics and gameplay be like? 

Last week I received a review copy of “Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition” for the Nintendo Wii U from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and I must say that it is much better than what I expected. I am actually blown away by it.

This game is amazing in so many different ways; it’s hard to find a place to start.

The game starts out with Bruce Wayne giving a speech at an event in Gotham City and a bunch of thugs come in and knock out everyone with some kind of gas. Bruce wakes up ad finds Gotham City has been turned into a huge prison and he must escape.

Bruce Wayne also learns that there is secret project called “Project 10” and he must find out what it is and who is responsible for it.

I really liked the story a lot and thought that it was very creative. It was very exciting and did not get boring or repetitive at all.

One thing that I liked the most about the story was that they worked in a majority of the characters and villains that are in the Batman comics and stories. There are so many characters that make an appearance and they are all unique. 

For example, Catwoman plays a pretty big part in this story and you can actually play as her in some of the chapters. The Riddler is back and all of his riddles that you must solve. And of course Harley Quinn and The Joker are back. I don’t want to ruin or spoil too much, but what I think makes the game a lot of fun is trying to see all of the cameos of the different characters.

My one concern about “Batman: Arkham City” was that it was going to be toned down because of it being on the Wii U. The Wii was considered more of a family system and most of the games that were released on the Wii were geared towards families.

That is not the case in Batman and I am very happy about that. The game is rated “T” for teen and is pretty graphic. There is a lot of swearing and graphic violence in the game and the game was not altered at all.

The graphics are absolutely stunning. I don’t know if it’s me or if it’s the fact that I haven’t played “Arkham City” in a while, but the graphics on the Wii U look better than on the PS3’s version. 

Everything is so detailed and sharp. The city just feels depressing, dark and dirty. The cut scenes are phenomenal and so are the character designs. The thugs look filthy and disgusting and you just want to beat them up.  

The controls are fairly easy to learn. I am still getting used to the feel of the gamepad, so I had some problems at first. In order for you to attack you need to push the “X” button. The button is located at the top of the buttons on the gamepad.

I am used to having the “X” button on the bottom with the PS3 controller and that kept throwing me off. Eventually I got that hang of it and I have no problems now. Every button on the game pad has a function and you learn what everything does in the in-game tutorial, which is very helpful.

One thing that I didn’t know if I was going to like at first was the functionality of the gamepad in “Batman: Arkham City.” I thought that it was going to be very confusing and cumbersome while battling thugs. 

I just had this thought in my head that while you were fighting you would have to keep looking down at the gamepad to do specific things all the time. After playing the game for only a few minutes I was very relieved that was not going to be the case.

The only time that you really need to look at the gamepad is when you want to see where you are going, upgrade your items, check your objectives, select gadgets, investigate areas in the game, and several other things. I actually really liked this a lot, because you didn’t have to keep pausing the game to look at the map. 

It was right there. It made the game more enjoyable in my opinion, because I didn’t have to keep pausing the game to see where I was going or what I needed to do next, because it was right there.

I really enjoyed the fighting system in “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and the same fighting system is back in “Arkham City.” You can link a huge chain of attacks together and make one heck of an awesome fight scene. You can counter attacks and do special take downs and if you do it right, you can take down a whole group of thugs without stopping and it looks amazing.

There are some new features that have been added to the Wii U version of “Batman: Arkham City” that really make it stand out and makes the gameplay more enjoyable for players.

There is now a new “Battle Armored Tech Mode (B.A.T.) where you can upgrade a battle suit for either Batman or Catwoman. This allows you to build up a meter while you are fighting and when it’s full you can activate it. You will enter a special mode where your attacks do more damage and you can see where enemies are located.

Most of Batman’s gadgets are reimagined for the Wii U, because of the uniqueness of the gamepad.

Batman can now activate a new sonar mode where he can probe his surroundings and see what he needs to do survive. I mentioned briefly earlier that Batman can now select his gadgets more quickly without pausing the game and this comes in very handy.

Another really cool new feature that I finally got to try was that you can play “Batman: Arkham City” without turning the television on. This was great, because there were times when my wife wanted to watch a show and I really didn’t want to, so I just turned on the gamepad and played some Batman. I did have to pause the game to activate the maps and things, but it was not a big deal.

I was very happy to see that all of the “Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition” content was featured in the game. All of the downloadable characters and map packs are available such as, “Harley Quinn’s Revenge Pack,” “Catwoman Pack,” “Nightwing Bundle Pack,” “Robin Bundle Pack,” “Challenge Map Pack,” and “Arkham City Skins Pack.”  

I thought that this was great, because I never got the chance to play with any of these maps or packs and they were really fun.

I would like to mention one more quick thing. I feel like I am going on and on, but this is such a great game. One thing that I really liked about the PS3 version was the trophies. I think that the trophies add so much more to a game.

Trophies make me want to go back and try to accomplish a new task or play a level again. I didn’t think that “Batman: Arkham City” was going to have them, because Nintendo does not have a trophy system. I was proven wrong, because there are trophies. You can go to a menu and see what trophies you need and what you need to do to unlock them. I was happy when I discovered this, because now I will be playing this game quite a bit.

I really enjoyed Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s “Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition” for the Wii U. The story and graphics were amazing. The gamepad added a whole new way of playing the game that made it fun and really enjoyable. Plus there are a ton of new features and game packs to play, so the game shouldn’t get boring or old too fast.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.