Wii U versions of core multiplatform titles are going to play a big part in the console’s future. Nintendo wants to compete directly with Microsoft and Sony this time rather than settle for a casual market. The Wii versions of regular titles always felt like poor ports, so what better way to convince gamers you’re serious this time around than starting with one of last year’s biggest action titles, Arkham City.
Our hands-on demo begins during the Ra’s Al Ghul section of the game where Batman has been poisoned and he’s tracking down a ninja to try to find the antidote. This session served the purpose of showing us a broad selection of the unique Wii U features.
This new take on the game has allowed Rocksteady to add elements that they may have regretted not including in the original. For example, those of you who wanted to detonate explosive gel traps individually rather than simultaneously are now free to do so. Batman sets them the same way, but now you use the Wii U Game Pad to survey the scene in Detective Mode and then tap the specific gel trap on-screen that you would like to detonate. This allows you to manipulate groups of enemies with much more precision. One explosion will take out one guard while the others run away, hopefully right towards one of your other traps. It’s one of the more satisfying elements to take advantage of the Game Pad and the precise inputs via the screen mean you’ll always select the right one and at exactly the time you want.
It was good to see that the flow of the combat itself hasn’t missed a beat on its way to the Wii U and is as fun as ever. A new addition to the fighting is the B.A.T. (Battle Armoured Tech) mode. Think of it as a Rage mode. A metre is built up with combos, when full you can unleash the B.A.T. style to send enemies flying with every attack. Yes, that’s remarkably similar to the freeflow combo system that is already in place, where upon reaching eight or ten consecutive hits, Batman’s attacks start to do extra damage, maybe even knocking out goons with a single strike. With both systems in place here, I’m struggling to see the point aside from a bit of extra visual flare as Batman’s fists glow blue with raw electric power and enemies get whacked further away.