Batman: Arkham Asylum raised the bar for video games based on comic books back in 2009. Two years later London-based developer Rocksteady Games kicked that same bar into the outer reaches of space with Batman: Arkham City, a pseudo open-world epic that pushed the Caped Crusader into all new realms of brilliance. And now, in 2012, Rocksteady’s open world epic has been remoulded and retooled for Nintendo’s new fun box, the Wii U, by the code boffins at Warner Bros Montreal.
The basics remain unchanged: Mayor Quincy has jettisoned the four-wall and steel bars mantra of Arkham Asylum, and gobbled up chunks of Gotham’s slums to craft Arkham City, a walled-in penitentiary bursting at the seams with Gotham’s criminally insane. From here Rocksteady thrusts you into the cape and cowl as you take on a mammoth roster of super villains, while solving a steady stream of brilliantly constructed mysteries. Like we said, the core of the game remains untouched, but what has changed is how Warner Bros. Montreal has managed to weave many of the Wii U’s nifty features into Arkham City with varying degrees of success.
Radio messages pour out through the Gamepad’s speakers, the equipment menu has transitioned from TV to touchscreen, and you’re now tasked with searching crime scenes by pointing it at your telly box. It’s an interesting control method, but nowhere near as comfortable as a playing the game using a traditional game pad. Still, what you do get is best Batman game, a huge serving of the game’s downloadable content – including the impressive Harley Quinn’s Revenge – and the ability to play through the entire campaign using just the Gamepad’s screen. So then, not quite the definitive edition of the game, but an inspiring attempt nonetheless.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson