A review by Jeremy Hardin
Developer/Publisher – WB Games Montreal/WB Interactive
Version – Wii U
Price – $59.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of WB Interactive
Hey there Bats, time to play! Okay so, my experience with Batman these past 12 years or so has been limited to the very cool Batman movie trilogy and then of course playing some Arkham Asylum (of which I played about 30 minutes and I wasn’t that impressed). Due to my limited time with Arkham Asylum, I went into Arkham City not knowing what to expect, but I figured I wouldn’t be that impressed. As it turns out, I was wrong. I was really quite impressed and I walked away more of a fan than I was before. Alright, enough about me let’s talk about the game!
Taking place after the events of Arkham Asylum, Dr. Hugo Strange has created and runs Arkham City, which is a prison to house all of Gotham’s criminals. In reality, Arkham City is actually the slums of Gotham, surrounded by a massive wall and is policed by TYGER forces. At a press conference, held to declare his opposition to Arkham City, Bruce is kidnapped by TYGER forces and imprisoned inside of Arkham City. His true identity is known to and revealed by Dr. Strange. Strange announces he will commence ‘Protocol 10′ soon. Your mission is to find out what exactly Protocol 10 is and to put a stop to it. Early on in the game, you will come across a sickly Joker who is dying due to contamination from the TITAN formula. During this time Batman is ambushed by Joker and Harley and a blood transfusion is performed on him. Batman is now contaminated with the Joker’s blood and is himself dying. To make matters even worse, the Joker also infected all of Gotham’s blood banks. So, not only does Batman have to get to the bottom of Protocol 10, he also has to find a cure to save not only himself, but the citizens of Gotham.
Gameplay and Controls
B:ACAE features about as much content as Bruce has gadgets. I mean to say, there is a lot of content. For this review, I stuck to the main story only, but the Armored Edition includes DLC, access to the Riddlers 400 trophies, interactive 3d model viewer, Catwoman missions and more. Arkham City, just as its predecessor is a third-person brawler. Sure, you’ll be busy playing Detective and Ninja quite a bit, but when it comes down to fighting, it is a satisfying brawler for sure. As you search for the cure and ultimately the meaning behind Protocol 10, you will face off against a multitude of villainous scum throughout the city, and even some key villains, namely Penguin, Clayface, Mr. Freeze and more.
Now, we all know Superman for his super abilities, Green Lantern for his ring and Batman, well what does he have? Of course, his suit and all those gadgets! Equipped with his Batsuit and his trusty gadgets, players will fight, gain XP and level up the suit, gadgets, combat skills and more. There are several different thugs you will encounter along the way, each with varying strengths and weaknesses. Thankfully, this means you won’t just run into a group of thugs and button mash your way out. You will need to sneak, dodge, counter and punch your way out. It definitely takes more than mindless button mashing in order to progress. In order to amass xp, I never felt like I was forced to fight, the story provided enough thugs and fights without me having to search it out. However, for all those who enjoy the brawling, you can always swoop around the city and easily find groups of thugs who are ripe for the punching. Oh and a new combat function which is unique to the WiiU version has been added. B.A.T. – Battle Armored Tech mode allows your suit to store up energy every time you take damage and once activated you will then deal out increased damage.
On a handful of occasions the story will parallel with Catwoman and her experiences in Arkham City. At these times, players assume control of Catwoman and it is a blast to play her as she is a nice change of pace compared to Batman. Controlling Catwoman feels a lot smoother and fast paced compared to Batman. There isn’t too much going on with her though, some interesting side-stories, but for the most part her story serves as an enjoyable distraction. If you ever find yourself bored with the main story and all the missions you’ll have to take on, you can take a break at any time by engaging in one of the 12 side missions that are littered throughout the game. Here are just a couple of the side missions you can take on: Enigma Conundrum (this mission can’t be completed until you acquire all 400 Riddler trophies) and Cold-Call Killer (trace a killer via payphone calls.)
Alright, so onto the controls. I usually indicate in my reviews what the button mappings are, but I think it’s time to stop that. What matters here is not how the buttons are mapped, it’s how the game controls and I have to say, using the Gamepad to control Batman is excellent. A great use of the Gamepad is being able to access all of Batman’s gadgets and upgrades – I like that I can assign gadgets to the D-pad just by dragging and dropping them via the Gamepad touchscreen. Oh yes, and having an interactive map on the Gamepad is a nice feature.
Visuals and Sound
Thanks to the Wii U we can finally experience some HD on a Nintendo console. Seeing as how I don’t own anything other than Nintendo consoles/handhelds, there is no way for me to graphically compare the Armored Edition version to others console versions. From what I have read on other sites, the graphics are the same as other versions. This suits me just fine and I’ll tell you I was very impressed with the visuals. The dark and gritty city, the character models look great and I really like how the thugs look different depending on which villain they work for. I was impressed with every aspect of the visuals and graphics and as an added bonus, I like that you can play the game using different costumes. I feel the same way about the sounds/audio, everything sounded great. I think above all, the voice acting stood out and I enjoyed it the most.
You can see some screenshots below, but I want to share a video with you before I wrap this review up. I hope you enjoy it, I know I did.
Concluding Overall Impressions
BAC: Armored Edition is an outstanding Batman game, absolutely packed with content, challenge, and fun. I wasn’t even that interested in the game at first, but from the moment I put on that suit, I found myself engrossed in the story and missions from the start. I highly recommend you grab a copy and add it to your Wii U library.