E3 2012: Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition Preview

See how one of last year’s most acclaimed games adjusts to Wii U.

By Andy Hoover. Posted 06/06/2012 23:30 Comment on this     ShareThis

Judging by the heaps of awards and super high review scores it has earned, one can extrapolate that Batman: Arkham City is an exceptionally good game. Warner Bros. obviously took this into consideration when preparing the demo for its upcoming Wii U version. We already know the game is great, so all that is left to prove is how Wii U benefits what is already an exceptional experience. The demo is obviously designed to drill home this point.

The game has earned its Armored Edition subtitle through the addition of a new armor that absorbs kinetic energy, so as you are hit and get hit, a bar fills up and allows you to access B.A.T. mode, which effectively boils down to increased damage and a cool new aesthetic. The more practical of those two applications is shown off immediately with a room full of baddies. The combat is beautifully animated as Batman flows seamlessly from attacking one foe to countering another and it only requires two buttons. Once you have the rhythm mastered, brawling is quite the site to behold.

From there the demo moves onto the investigating portion of the game, which involves activating detective mode, which looks a bit like the scan visor from Metroid Prime. The gyroscope and motion controls of the gamepad effectively turns it into Batman’s head, allowing you to move it up, down, and around to examine the world. Once you find something of interest it is just a matter of pressing the screen to scan. These same features are also used for the next section, steering the Batarang to hit an otherwise inaccessible switch. Steering the Batarang will definitely take some getting used to because the Wii U gamepad is actually extremely sensitive, which might be a little awkward at first but shows just how nuanced it could prove.

The next section is all about the scanning screen and a staple of the Arkham games, explosive gel. After strategically positioning the gel just outside a room full of enemies, a press on the gamepad screen swaps the usual map for sonar, displaying the position of the enemies and your gel. In the other versions of the game you could only detonate the explosives together, but the sonar screen allows you to explode them one by one just by pressing them on the touch screen. This allows you to carefully plan your placement and detonate the gel based on how your foes react. And speaking of all these wonderful toys and the touchscreen, I would be crazy not to mention how easy it makes managing your inventory.

All of these additions make a great argument for Wii U, and to top it all off, all the DLC for the game will be included with Armored Edition. If I had to include one complaint it would actually be about the graphics. The game definitely looks good but the texture quality seems a little lacking, but one must also remember that this is a demo built for E3 and showing off the remote and therefore might not be indicative of the final product. Regardless, all these new features work well and with a little refinement should make this the definitive version. Expect Armored Edition to be out at or shortly after Wii U’s launch.

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