So it will have been a year or more since the release of Batman: Arkham City for the 360 and PS3 when the Wii U version will finally drop. You would think after a year of extra development the Wii U version would have something really exciting to entice new buyers, like a whole new area of the city to explore, maybe a new or returning villain, a added plot arc. Well you would be wrong, as the Wii U version is getting a new costume and some tablet based inventory management and a new way to crack codes. Yeah it’s pretty much a giant dropped ball here, but at least you will get all the DLC released on the disc.
Armored Edition initially plays just like the Arkham City you know and love, though this time the Unreal 3 engine takes its damn sweet time actually loading the textures. The Warner Bros. rep really did not want to comment on what was an obviously much longer texture loading time then the 360 version. As for the actual game, the new armored suit does have some gameplay additions and isn’t purely cosmetic. Much like a fighting game, when Batman is wearing the Armored Suit, he builds up a meter called kinetic energy. Once the meter is full you can activate it by pressing down both triggers. This activates a sort of detective mode for combat as it allows you to see more clearly what the enemies are going to do sooner, and move faster to deliver the pain. Purists may not find much to love as it basically is an added tool to make the game easier, but at least you have to earn the ability to do so. As you would probably also guess, the tablet screen is used as a way to change inventory, though you still have to press up on the D-pad then tap the gadget you want to select. In the end it doesn’t really save any time and is more or less another dropped ball. As for the code breaking, now you use the tablet screen to manually find the code words on a electric grid on the screen. As you look for the code by pressing down on different areas of the screen a red line will swipe across the screen, and if you are touching it when it swipes by you lose the code. It definitely adds a little something to the code breaking and is a lot more interesting then fingering the analog sticks. But its a very minor upgrade.
This isn’t to say Armored Edition is a bad game, it is still the same amazing experience as last year, provided they could actually fix the rendering issues. However, for a title with a whole extra year of development and one that will cost more then the Game of the Year edition available now, it really should have a whole lore more content and much better graphics. It is hard to recommend picking up this title unless you have had no way of playing Batman: Arkham City before. If by some reason you have not, then this should be a day one purchase, but only if.