Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition Review

Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition (Available exclusively for the Wii U)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: Rocksteady
Release Date: November 18th, 2012

Parent Talk: Arkham City has been rated T for teen because of alcohol reference, blood, mild language, suggestive themes, use of tobacco and violence. This is a stealth action game that features lots and lots of violence, but not over the top blood and gore. It’s kept rather clean in that area so the suggested age group is perfectly suited for the game.

Plays Like: Arkham City is the continuation of Arkham Asylum so the two play very similarly. The biggest difference being that AC is much more open-world than its prequel. Players have more freedom in exploration and more choice when it comes to disposing of the endless stream of enemies.

Review Basis: Completed the game.

Arkham City was originally released in 2011, and won countless awards. It was a stunning game, and received a ton of DLC since it was originally released. Now it arrives on the Wii U, and while it may not be worth re-buying for all those who have already devoted countless hours into the original game, it’s a super easy recommend for everyone else.

The Great:

North Gotham has been completely walled off, and now houses the very worst villains Batman has ever known. While not overly large compared to GTA and other open-world sandbox games, what AC lacks in size, it makes up for in detail. This is without a doubt one of the most intricately designed worlds ever placed in a videogame. From a police headquarters to an old museum, the very streets are brimming with decay and rot. It’s an amazing place to visit and you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny. It all comes together exceptionally well on the Wii U, just as it did on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The Good:

+ Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill lead an ensemble cast of top tier voice actors. Their performances are exceptional.

+ Same excellent combat system from Arkham Asylum returns, along with the fluid combo system. It’s fast-paced and once you learn how to chain attacks together, it almost plays out like a ballet.

+ Stealth is just as important as ever. Batman is not invulnerable and as such players are rewarded for taking enemies out in the shadows. Not only will they live longer, but they won’t draw attention to other guards in the area.

+ Spectacular puzzles highlight not just Bruce Wayne’s might but his brains as well. Figuring out how to capture your next Riddler trophy is particularly rewarding.

+ Graphically this is one impressive looking game. The atmosphere is superb, as are the lighting and animations. Of all the Wii U launch titles, this is one of the more impressive ones.

+ Sound design has been reworked so that all enemy communications come out of the Game Pad, which adds a different dimension and draws you into the world better than ever before. The music is excellent, and the sound effects are as explosive as ever.

+ All of the previously released DLC comes included on the disc.

The So-So:

+/- Battle Armored Tech mode gives players a special ability that does twice the damage as his regular attacks. While this seems cool on paper, it makes the excellent combo system less important. Miss a sequence in a combo chain and it doesn’t matter as much as it did before.

+/- Sonar is a new Wii U ability that seems redundant. It shows enemy locations and Riddler trophies on the Game Pad, but Detective Mode, which highlights both of these things and much more, is far more useful.

The Bad:

– Using the Game Pad to search around the environment for clues feels like a gimmick.

The Ugly:

The Joker isn’t looking as good as he used to. Something must have happened to him ;)

The Lowdown:

Batman: Arkham City is a fantastic game on any console. The Wii U Armored Edition doesn’t change the core mechanics, or add a whole lot to the game. If you skipped out on the previous versions this one is a no-brainer, but if you’ve already played another version than I think you can skip out on this one in favor of something else.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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