What took you so long, and which version did you play?
Well, I know this one is a bit of a cheat, because we originally got it for the 360. Now, I didn’t play it (Emily did), but when I saw that it was coming to the Wii U with some extra features, I felt like I wanted to get that version. So I did. After about a year of the 360 version sitting on the shelf, I asked for the Wii U version and got it.
Have you ever played a Batman game before?
Yes, I played Arkham Asylum on the Xbox 360. I’ve also watched bits and dabs of Emily playing through them, scouring the environment for riddler clues. Other than that, not really. Apart from Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe and Injustice – but I don’t think either of those count. I’ve certainly missed out on some of them, including the Lego Batman games, although I’m not a huge fan of the Lego series – although I did quite like Lego City Undercover.
“I also appreciated the hacking and stuff – basically all the gadgetty things worked really well in this version – I don’t think they’d be quite as cool on just a regular control pad.”
You say you played the Wii U version. How did you find the special features on this?
I don’t think I really used the powered up Batsuit that much in the game to be honest. I did like the realtime map which helped with the riddler trophies quite a bit. I also loved using the tablet to control the batarang. I know those weren’t exactly the highlight, but it felt actually quite natural. I also appreciated the hacking and stuff – basically all the gadgetty things worked really well in this version – I don’t think they’d be quite as cool on just a regular control pad.
Did you notice any screen tearing or framerate issues?
There were some, especially in cut scenes. You can tell they hadn’t optimised the game for the Wii U in terms of graphics – which only fuelled the fire at the time of allegations of being a weaker system than PS3 and 360. The gameplay didn’t suffer though – that seemed to keep a consistently clean screen, which I suppose if the more important factor.
How did you find the battle system?
It’s deceptive. At first it seems a bit complicated, having to manually decide which goon to punch. Then you get used to it and find it actually pretty darn easy beating them to a bloody pulp. Then when you get more enemies on screen, it gets a bit tougher, and finally when you have armoured and weaponised goons attacking, especially when there’s three or more at once, it once again becomes nigh on impossible.
I liked the fact that it was all about timing though, so it did require a certain level of skill – not to mention the fact that you can usually take out a few before getting surrounded. If you were brilliant at the timing and dodging, the battles became much easier, especially when it slows down between the hits.
Have you played either Asylum or Origins as well?
I’ve played Arkham Asylum as stated in a previous question, but haven’t got around to playing Origins. I’ve heard bad things about the game – not terrible, just not things that would stop me from getting excited to play it. Although considering how much fun I had beating down enemies in this game, I’m thinking about picking it up for the Wii U (once again, we already own it on 360, but I just love the Wii U controls – even if I know it’s nowhere near as good as with Arkham City).
How did you find the mission system? Was it confusing at all?
Are you a fan of Batman yourself?
I’m nowhere near as much of a fan as Emily used to be. I’ll watch if it’s on, but I’m not about to don a cape and mask. If I were to be a superhero though, especially from the Justice League is probably someone like Green Lantern. Someone that has to have a lot of imagination, and with powers that aren’t that limited.
“…so the “you need x item to do this” excites me slightly. The collection of gadgets to expand my abilities is – I feel – a good way to approach game design, even if the narrative doesn’t quite sit right with it.”
How do you feel about the replayability of Arkham City?
Well, any game with story will get a bit old on the second play through, but I love the fact that there’s plenty of riddler trophies to collect – enough to make you forget how you got them on the second playthrough. And I feel it’s a big enough game that another playthrough would still keep you entertained with things you’d forgotten about. Plus, there’s still quite a bit of challenge there.
Were the gadgets fun to use?
Definitely. They were a highlight for me, but I’ve been brought up on Zelda and to a lesser extent Metroid (though I only got into it since Metroid Prime), and so the “you need x item to do this” excites me slightly. The collection of gadgets to expand my abilities is – I feel – a good way to approach game design, even if the narrative doesn’t quite sit right with it.
As I said earlier, the Wii U controls actually lend itself very well to the gadgets as well, so it’s not just “go here, use gadget, collect item, go there”.
Was the story easy enough to follow?
It was fairly easy to follow, with enough mystery to keep you guessing. I liked the fact that it wasn’t just one giant narrative though, but loads of smaller ones. It’s balance in that regard meant that it felt a bigger game for it – especially since you needed to go through most if not all enemies to reach the end.
Are you excited for the new Arkham Knight game coming?
Not so much actually. I know I’ve banged on about playing the Wii U version a lot in this article, it makes me a little sad that it won’t be coming to it. I realise it’s because of the power needed on the Batmobile (because we haven’t had a good looking racing game coming on the Wii U before…), but it’s still a shame.
Saying that, I don’t have a PS4 or Xbox One yet, so whether I get it on PC instead is a possibility. It’s not like the save files get carried over or anything.
But I am thinking of picking up Arkham Origins for the Wii U cheap.