At this years E3, I got a chance to see the new Batman game that is being designed for the Wii U controller. It’s called Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition and it contains more features that make it unique for the Wii U. After watching several users playing the game, it seems the Wii U additions to the game make the game more complicated to play rather than enhance the gameplay.
The basic controls rival those of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game. The changes to gameplay come when it comes to using Batman’s “little toys” as Jack Nicholson put it. The game pad screen for the Wii U display different information depending on what mode or tool you are using. The basic display shows a map in the middle of the room you are in. On the right side has options like Objectives and Wayne Tech that you touch with your finger to open. The gamepad is used to arm Batman with his Batterang and Grapple weapons as well as used to scan the environment.
The scanning of the environment uses the Wii U game pad’s second screen in a very creative but unnecessary way. Like in the tech demos for the Wii U, when scanning in Batman, the user can move the gamepad around themselves and check out the environment. The same results, though, can be achieved on the PS3 and 360 version by simply moving the game camera around and looking at the object within the environment in question and pressing a button. Though the scanning feature is cool, it’s completely unnecessary and adds to the time to perform a basic scan.
While selecting weapons, the player needs to drag weapons and tools from the sides of the gamepad to a grid that looks similar to the D-pad. While the players were demoing the game, each time, the entire process seems to take quite a while to adjust your inventory.
As I watched multiple people play the system, all of them had a look of bewilderedness on their face. Each Nintendo representative spent most of their time trying to explain how to switch weapons and icons but every time they tried, it took a few or more button presses than that would be found in the other versions of Arkham City. It really didn’t look like any of the players were enjoying the new enhanced controls.controller to navigate anything.
Now this was the first time all of these player tried the game with the new controls and that can add to the learning curve. Playing though the game with the new features for a longer period of time will most likely help a player learn the controls and enjoy the game. After several games, I saw look on the players faces as they were playing, it was more of confusion rather than enjoyment.
Looking at the list of controls, it looks as if the game can be played with little to no touch screen usage. The enhanced features of the Wii U do not seem to enhance the gameplay of Batman in a meaningful way over the other console versions. The game is scheduled for a holiday 2012 release so there is plenty of time to adjust the controls the gameplay and we’ll keep our eyes on it to see how it is progressing.