Hands-on With Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition For Wii U

As a fan of DC Universe comics, I’m well aware that I’ve missed out on the Arkham games for the Xbox 360.  I own a 360, but nowadays it often lies idle while I play on my PC. In between all the other titles that have come out recently, somehow the Arkham games have just slipped through my fingers.  In Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, you play as Batman, while facing off against the classic Batman villains, saving innocent citizens, and saving the day.  Arkham City is a critically acclaimed commercial success, and considered a must-have for any fan of Batman, so many fans must have been excited to hear that this popular game has been ported over to Nintendo’s new console.  Luckily, at FanExpo Toronto, I got the chance to test run the demo of Arkham City on the Wii U.

Playing with the Wii U took some getting used to. Compared to the Xbox 360 controller, the Wii U’s controller felt awkward.  However, Nintendo has worked to bring some unique applications of the Wii U controller to Arkham City.  For instance, the large screen in the middle of the controller comes into play.  Batman is famous not only for his fisticuffs with the criminal elements of Gotham City, but also his skills as a detective.  Arkham City incorporates this with Detective Mode.  The player holds the Wii U controller up to their TV screen to access a special filter showing clues and items of interest that Batman needs to progress through the level.

During the demo, I encountered a few packs of thugs in the employ of the nefarious bosses of Arkham City.  They rushed at me, jeering amongst themselves about the prestige that would come with eliminating the Batman.  Combat in Arkham City follows a rhythm of attack – parry/block – counterattack.  It’s refreshing that battle in Arkham City lacks the over-the-top violence of many other mature games – after all, Batman follows a code in which he refuses to kill.  Once you have the momentum of the game’s fight sequences down, the gameplay is not only fun but also satisfying.

The graphics of the game showed off the Wii U’s horsepower and are comparable to the current generation counterparts. Environments were crisp and clean, Batman himself stood out amongst the scenery.  Even in the dark, gloomy setting of Arkham City, level progression was obvious, visual cues stood out, and the textures were gorgeous.

The Wii U brings a few new features to the table that make the experience feel unique to Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U’s horsepower gives the game a slight visual boost, and the core elements of the game feel intact and preserved.  Players who fit in the middle of the Venn Diagram between Nintendo fans and DC universe fans will likely find themselves interested in this port, as it stays faithful to the original while adding a twist.

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September 4, 2012 - 8:08 am