Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition Hands On
I am vengeance. I am the night. I am…BATMAN! Cue the Danny Elfman music ‘cause we got another edition of Batman: Arkham City. Like its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts, you’ll explore a giant city teeming with thugs as you use your trusty batarang and grapple gun. The difference here is that Wii U version will make use of the GamePad’s special features such as the gyroscope and touch screen. After giving this a quick playthrough, the game is guaranteed to drive you batty, but in a good way.
I should start by mentioning that the graphics are great and the game looks every bit as sharp as its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts. The aesthetics are suitably dark, capturing the grittiness of Batman’s world. Batman and company look terrific as the character models are wonderfully realistic.
As for the game itself, I took it for a test drive to see what kinds of features it will offer. I haven’t played much of Arkham City or Arkham Asylum, so my fighting techniques were a bit stale. Like the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version you can use the buttons to run, punch, jump and counter enemy attacks. You can also use the Batarang to harm opponents and the cape to stun them.
That’s where the comparisons end. Unlike the other versions, this one will have you using the Wii U GamePad as your own trusty Bat Computer is in the palm of your hands, providing you a detailed map of the city. You won’t have to press start to look at it, but that’s not all the GamePad has to offer. The pad’s screen can also give you instant access to Batman’s gadgets as well as bios of various villains like the Joker. One of the cooler techniques was Batman’s sonar ability as I used it to detect thugs ahead of me.
Another unique feature is the game’s self-proclaimed B.A.T. mode. The game gives you a feature in combat to fill up a power gauge. Once the gauge is filled up, you’ll be able to activate B.A.T. mode as Batman becomes even stronger than ever! Once I acquired it I was ready for some real bat-butt-kicking!
I especially liked how the scan ability worked as you hold the pad to look for clues. This level of interaction isn’t quite so prominent in the other versions, so it was nice to see it in action. In the demo I played I scanned a piece of evidence that left a trail of blood, indicating where I was supposed to go.
As mentioned before, the Wii U GamePad offered the ability to equip weapons with just a touch of a screen, so a Warner Bros. employee directed me to use the Bat Claw to break open a hatch that was hiding a security lock. Once I did that, I used the Cryptographic Sequencer to hack into the lock. This provided another Wii U-only feature as I pressed around the touch screen to get the code. The tricky part was avoiding the red lines on the screen, or else I would have to do it over again.
If any of this sounds like what you’ve seen in the trailer, it is. Warner Bros. wasn’t just content with showing us what the GamePad would do, they also wanted us to experience the new features for ourselves, so the trailer acted as much a tutorial as it was a sneak peak. So, yeah, the entire demo was designed around it. If you haven’t guessed by now, my next step was to use the Batarang to activate the switch that was out of my reach. I had to use the pad’s gyro sensing abilities in order to nail it, but it didn’t control as smoothly as I hoped it would. Hopefully they’ll iron it out before release.
The next part of the demo involved a bit of stealth, so I accessed the explosive gel and sprayed it across the walls, knowing my enemies were right next to them. I then crawled around tight corridors and waited for the opportune moment to blast these thugs into submission! With just a touch of the screen I sent a couple of thugs flying!
While my short playtime wasn’t enough to really get accustomed to the game’s complex controls, I can safely say this game is looking to the be the best version of Arkham City. If anything, this should be a must-buy for Wii U fans looking for some action! Holy adrenaline, Batman!