News Article

First Impressions: Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition

Posted by Mike Mason

Sonar, so good

Batman's latest crusade through video games has been out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC for a good eight months now, but that didn't stop Nintendo giving enhanced port Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition plenty of stage time at E3. Escaping the confines of Arkham Asylum, a section of Gotham City has been cordoned off as a gigantic open air prison for the city's many maniacs. Predictably it doesn't go quite as smoothly as planned — it isn't long before the cast of villains is waging war upon one another and Bruce Wayne is forced to step into the fray.

Batman: Arkham City on PS3 was critically acclaimed when released in its original form. Wii U's Armoured Edition is an upgraded version of the same basic game, with all previously released downloadable content included in the package. The demonstration only showed off some of the interiors, so we can't judge how the big bad city looks on Wii U just yet. A lengthy combat arena section gave ample opportunity to adjust to the controls and experiment with the counterattack-heavy fight mechanics, while an exploration section slowed things down to explain the gadgets in more depth.

The big difference here is the use of Wii U GamePad; the controller screen emulates a small wrist-mounted computer attached to Batman's fancy new suit of armour. In combat it acts as a sonar, showing the location of nearby enemies to help plan out tactics. Otherwise you can check your map, upgrade or select your equipment via the touch screen and take a more hands on approach with your weapons.

The remote control Batarang, for instance, can be guided about in a couple of ways: with standard analogue sticks, or by moving the GamePad around, tilting the controller to navigate carefully through the air. There's greater control over explosives, as you can set them off individually after planting up to three. Electronic panels are hacked by dragging a finger over a circuit board on the touch screen while dodging a finger-burning laser. The GamePad controls are integrated well and are immersive once mastered, but options of more traditional control are still available throughout and are just as responsive as in the original release.

Detective mode is also given an overhaul, making the GamePad into a scanner that can be moved around accurately to sweep crime scenes for evidence. In addition there's B.A.T. mode; activated with a click of the analogue sticks, it's a heightened state that puts more power behind The Bat's punches, but only once enough kinetic energy has been built up by absorbing enemy attacks. The more damage you take, the more damage you can potentially do.

It was clear from this early demo that there is still work to be done and that much of the development focus thus far has been on the GamePad, most obviously because of the state of the visuals. The character and environment models seemed fine, but the frame rate felt slightly sluggish at a couple of points and the quality of some textures was poor and blurry. There's a lot of polishing to be done yet.

Only a very small portion of Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition was shown off, but so far our reaction is a little mixed: the new controls are fun, but it's not yet up to standard visually. The original release was brilliant, however, and this seemed to be a build that looked to sell the controls more than anything else. On that front, it generally succeeded.

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User Comments (34)

BenAV

#2

BenAV said:

Sounds like it's turning out pretty well.
It's good that they included standard controls as an alternative and I haven't played the game so I'll probably pick it up on Wii U at some stage, assuming they polish the visuals.

Snaskyman

#3

Snaskyman said:

Glad to hear that all DLC will be included.
I think I,ll like the new controls in this game.

Silvervisiona

#4

Silvervisiona said:

I'm lucky for not getting it for xbox 360 yet. Now I'll happily hold out for the Wii U version instead!

doctor_doak

#5

doctor_doak said:

I haven't picked this one up yet. Hope they tidy it up before release, because it didn't look in a particularly good state at E3. It's one i'd definately like to get if they port it properly..

Alienfish

#7

Alienfish said:

I tried the Arkham Asylum demo on PS3, but I couldn't justify a purchase. There are just too many games to buy this day and age. I remember when all I had was an N64 and pretty much every purchase was a no-brainer. I love what I see, but in all honesty I hope the market slows down some.

Wesker

#8

Wesker said:

Arkham City is overrated IMO. Arkham Asylum was better because it had a tighter narrative, with more purpose and focus. With Arkham City the magic of the first one gets lost in the mishy mashy open world structure. Arkham Asylum had a Zelda-esque feel to it.

aaronsullivan

#9

aaronsullivan said:

I'm a bit discouraged by how unimpressed others have been with the Gamepad integration on this one. I'm hopeful for this new screen mechanic and I certainly see a ton of potential, but early indications aren't that great for ports. (There's been some nasty harshness about this game in particular out there.)

I even saw a ZombiU summary that didn't like the GamePad stuff as it was slow and distracting because he just cleared the room first and all the tension of a Zombie threat while you check inventory or open a door is gone.

That could be just early level stuff, though. I hope ZombiU isn't ultimately disappointing because that has shown the most impressive looking uses of the second screen.

I've been bullish on the Wii U but I'm getting this sinking feeling that third parties are going to drop the ball AGAIN on utilizing the new tech and Nintendo won't be churning out enough titles to realize the potential soon enough.

Like the Wii launch, Ubisoft is the best example of a third party that is trying hard to get it right. Hopefully the results are more successful in this launch than the Wii launch. Seems to be the case so far. :)

While I hope Nintendo gets a wide user base with the Wii U and somehow wins back the hardcore players, I also see a Nintendo trying to bring its newer casual gamers into deeper experiences.

For me, I just hope Wii U is successful enough to support great Metroid, Zelda, and Mario games, but Nintendo can't just sustain itself on prior fans like us, so success in either pulling casuals in deeper, wooing those disillusioned with Nintendo back, or drawing attention of hardcore players is very important.

I'm easy, though. They had me at HD Metroid and Zelda. :D

XCWarrior

#10

XCWarrior said:

Looks good, but the game of the year edition (All DLC) will likely be $5 on Steam by the time this releases on Wii U. So $5 or $300 + $60... yeah that's an easy call.

hydeks

#11

hydeks said:

whoever said this game on Wii U version is bad looking is obviously a) A Sony/Microsoft fanboy, or b) hasn't seen a actual picture comparison compared from Wii U to 360/PS3

I've seen enough pics of the differences between the 360/ps3 version compared to the Wii U version, and the Wii U version makes the 360/ps3 version look like absolutely... There is WAY more detailing in the Wii U version. Plus I can't wait to use the controller to play this game, it'll be more interactive than the boring 360/ps3 versions with there boring controllers.

LavaTwilight

#12

LavaTwilight said:

I'm glad to see a lot of others haven't yet picked up this game yet who are now holding out for the Wii U version. I'm looking forward to this and strangely enough so is my wife, since this isn't her sort of game. It looks absolutely amazing though and as someone who feels compelled to own all or the most important aspects of DLC, then that little prize is def worth the purchase upon release! Bring on November!

irken004

#13

irken004 said:

In other news, GOTY edition Arkham City available now on PS3/360 with all DLC.

shingi_70

#16

shingi_70 said:

@Wesker

Eh the whole metroid/zelda thing os overratted. I'm the goddamn batman I wanna dole out just in Gotham. City.

shingi_70

#17

shingi_70 said:

Is tbepsd support really that cool. Its something that would be cool the first few times but would get boring fast.

I'm wondering why this isn't a port of both games.

The_Fox

#18

The_Fox said:

Arkham City is a fantastic game that easily surpasses Asylum. If you've never played it before and still don't pick it up for Wii U you're a terrible person.

Rapadash6

#19

Rapadash6 said:

I know I should care about this game, but I just don't. I like Batman, I like adventure games, I'm definately getting a Wii U, but I can't see any reason to pay $60 for this. Maybe it's my busy schedule, and that I only have so much time to devote to video games. Maybe it's the fact that this is a port of a year old game that's already available on PC for MUCH cheaper. Maybe there's just something that seems off about this version of the game, not graphically per say, but something else. I don't know, but this game is just white noise to me, and Nintendo devoting so much time to it at E3 really annoyed me.

shonenjump86

#20

shonenjump86 said:

I want to get the GOTY edition on PS3. I don't plan on getting a Wii U but it's cool that a game like this is coming on Nintendo.

Mason

#21

Mason said:

I'd have to say that I prefer Arkham Asylum to City as well overall; it felt more tightly focused in the smaller world.

@hydeks In the areas shown in this demo at least, many of the textures weren't pretty. I'm sure it'll get cleaned up and improved a lot before launch, but here it really seemed like the focus had been on controls rather than visuals.

aaronth86

#22

aaronth86 said:

Have they confirmed that there is still work to be done on the game? what if the graphics are as good as they are going to get?

Mason

#23

Mason said:

The screenshots released are of higher quality than what was playable, so I assume they'll be improved. This seemed to be an early demo of two small areas; I'll be more concerned if the textures still look like this a couple of months before launch.

komicturtle

#24

komicturtle said:

I may or may not get this game. Then again, $60 for extra features and ALL DLC included is enticing. Don't have a 360 or PS3 of my own and I rather invest in an inevitable $350 WiiU than a $300 X360 (which really needs to come down in price by now).

hydeks

#25

hydeks said:

@Mason yay, but I'm seen screens in of the wii u version and ps3 version and its so far looks alot better. Sure, it's not like a huge leap, but in all honesty I can't see a huge leap up from ps3 already :P

DarkKirby

#26

DarkKirby said:

I'm sure this game is worth buying for people who wanted the original and didn't get it yet, but as in terms of people who did play it already... I guess it depends on how much you enjoyed the original. Personally, I would not.

However I think Nintendo is making the right move by showing everyone the Wii U will be supportive of multiplaform games, which the Wii was not.

Neram

#27

Neram said:

I'm 50/50 on whether or not I'll be getting the game. I have the first one on 360 which I beat and haven't played since, and after playing the demo for this one I'm finding it hard to get excited seeing as it's so similar. Is it just me or did they do a bad job of showing off the Wii U version at E3? There was no clear cut "here's a few minutes of HD footage of the actual Wii U version"

tardis10

#28

tardis10 said:

This game looks really great for Wii U...

Gaming has become so much like politics XD

Dauntless

#29

Dauntless said:

The WiiU needs to focus on new and exciting games instead of rehashed old releases that have been available elsewhere. The system isn't out yet and it seems like its already playing catch up because its trying to acquire games that other systems already have.

sinalefa

#30

sinalefa said:

I haven't bought this one yet, so either a GOTY edition on PS3 or the Wii U port is good news for me. Nowadays it is so common to wait on a game and months later you get a new edition with all DLC at half the price of the original game. That is why I wait on most of my PS3 purchases, if there is not a new edition you still can get a bargain price.

CaPPa

#31

CaPPa said:

It kind of sounds like the demo was something thrown together just to show off the GamePad and is not actually part of the game.

Provided it is up to par I will certainly be buying Arkham City for the Wii U. I already own it on the PS3 but it's a great enough game to buy twice.

NINTENBOY

#33

NINTENBOY said:

They didn't give me anything that said this is WAY better then the 360/PS3 version sure this game is great if all you've had is the Wii this whole gaming gen but for people like me who already have 360.....this is a little lame. Seriously they might as well change the name to Batman Arkeam City EASY edition cause that's all it looks like they did made it EASIER!!

I just want to know if the armor edition is getting ALL THE DLC FREE and if the WiiU controls plus the EASY I mean armor version of batman is OPITIONAL then I'll put this on my list but if not then PHUCK IT!!

Kaasor

#34

Kaasor said:

So excited, I knew why to wait before buying the game. Now just wait for Wii U to come out and enjoy the "TRUE" version of Batman: Arkham City. No offence users of other consoles, just matter of opinion.

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