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Review #483

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition
Developer: Rocksteady
Publisher: Warner Home Games
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up/Sandbox Action
Release Date: 11/18/2012

Let’s not kid ourselves here. Batman: Arkham City was a great game. When I reviewed it last year, I gave it one of my highest ratings ever. Then, when it came time to give out the 2011 Video Game Awards, Arkham City walked away with Best Action Game of the Year and it tied for our Game of the Year award with Radiant Silvergun. That’s pretty damn impressive. Earlier this year Warner and Rocksteady bundled all the DLC in with the core game and released a GOTY Edition that was just and fun, as well as easier on the wallet for those that missed out the first time around. Now, just a few months later a THIRD version of Arkham City hits shelves. This time it’s a Wii U exclusive (as well as a launch title) known as the Armored Edition. Now the catch here is that practically everyone has already picked this up for either the PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 in either its original or GOTY form, so that leaves three big questions about Armored Edition. The first is who is left to pick this up? The second is, why would people pay sixty dollars for a game they already have and the third is, “Is Armored Edition different enough that it’s worth twenty dollars more than the GOTY Edition?” Let’s find out.

As for the first question, Nintendo faithful didn’t get a chance to experience Arkham City. Now is their chance. Granted the percentage of gamers that don’t have a 360 or a PS3 is a bit slim, as is the percentage that only ones a Wii and plan to get a Wii U at launch. Still, for those gamers, this is their chance to experience a truly wonderful game. You get all the DLC like the Catwoman storyline, Harley Quinn’s Revenge, the various skins and challenge packs along with playable characters Nightwing and Robin (for challenge packs) – all without having to download copious amounts of stuff to your hard drive. Considering the Wii U’s hard drive is only 32 gigs max, this is a real benefit. Of course, there are also the PC, PS3 and 360 owners that for some reason haven’t picked up Arkham City for whatever reason, this is their chance as well. So there’s a small percentage of gamers left to pick this up that haven’t experienced the original version of Arkham City and will have a Wii U at launch. I can’t see Armored Edition moving a lot of copies, but like with a lot of the Wii U launch titles, it’s not that the game is bad. Far from it. It’s that everyone who wanted it picked it up months ago for a different console.

Now for the second question. If you already own Batman: Arkham City, why should you pick up Armored Edition? Well, if you own the original, you’re getting all the DLC with this and it’s almost the same cost to get this and the special Wii U content for the same price as the PS3/360 DLC. If you own the GotY Edition, you’d be paying twenty bucks just to experience the Wii U changes. I can’t really say I’d personally have purchased Armored Edition because I picked up the original Collector’s Edition for the PS3 (snazzy statue, Robin DLC and other fun stuff) and I don’t see the point in owning the same game for multiple consoles. That said, after playing the review copy Warner sent, I could understand trading in the original PS3 or 360 version for this (unless you are a trophy/achievement oriented gamer) as you’re getting a lot more content. I still don’t think it would be worth it to exchange the GotY version for Armored Edition (or purchase AE ontop of the GOTY version) however, as you’re then paying roughly $100 for two versions of the same game – one with Wii U bells and whistles. I don’t think any game is worth purchasing multiple copies of unless one is radically different from the other for whatever reason (Say the original PSX Persona and the PSP version. The latter has all the missing content that the US PSX version lacked and it’s portable, even if the translation is god awful.). Still, the Wii U version isn’t just bells and whistles; it fundamentally changes how you play Arkham City. There aren’t a lot of changes mind you, but what has changed is pretty striking.

Now, if you want to know all about the story, gameplay and the mechanics of Batman: Arkham City, you should really read my original review. Just click on through and you’ll get seven or eight pages on the core experience. From here on, we’re going to focus purely on the Wii U experience, how it differs and what is new. I have to assume that nearly everyone reading this has played the original or GOTY version of Arkham City and I neither want to repeat myself or bore the audience.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition may be twenty dollars for than the GOTY Edition for the PS3 and 360, but it’s the version I would definitely recommend to people who still haven’t picked up some version of this award winning title. The graphics are a little weaker than in other versions, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. Good-bye pause screens and hello a more real-time immersive experience. Of course, whether you prefer that or not is something you have to experience for yourself, but I really enjoyed it. All the content from the GOTY edition is here sans the need to download all of it and store it on a hard drive. Even better, you’ll always have access to the content in this game unlike other console versions where if the hard drive or servers go, you won’t ever be able to re-download it. Add in the ability to play the entire game on the GamePad as a quasi-portable title and you have far more than just another re-release or port. Again, if you somehow haven’t picked up this game in some fashion yet, the Wii U version is the one to get. If you already own it for the PS3, 360 or PC, the only thing you are missing out is a new way to play the game and although it’s something you should really try, I can’t say it is worth repurchasing the same game all over again for another sixty bucks.

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