Don't get me wrong: Batman: Arkham City for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC is an amazing game. It's rich combination of story, character acting, and gameplay raised the bar for what an open-world superhero action game can be. However, it's also a game that debuted last year and has been around long enough now on enough platforms that I'd think that everyone who wanted to play it mostly likely has. So what is the point of bringing it to the Nintendo Wii U with minimal additions under the subtitle Armored Edition? Do Nintendo and Warner Bros. expect those who purchased and finished (and probably traded away) Batman already to spring for it again just to experience the new gimmicks such as scanner and gadget options for the Wii U GamePad touchscreen and extra armor for Batman and Catwoman?
So what's changing in Arkham City? The major addition is the Battle Armored Tech Mode (or B.A.T. Mode; clever) that allows both Batman and Catwoman to build up energy during combat in order to dish out more damage with physical attacks. Batman's gadgets have been overhauled to work with the GamePad touchscreen which functions as menu/status screen of sorts as well as a map screen. Finally, the Wii U version of the game includes all of the downloadable content expansions from the Game of the Year edition released for PS3 and Xbox 360 last month including the challenge modes for Robin and Nightwing and "Harley Quinn's Revenge" epilogue.
That said, it seems that this port of Arkham City is halfway between attempted cash grab and proof of concept technical demo. Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime appeared on Spike's E3 coverage this morning after the company's E3 media briefing to talk about the Wii U lineup and became very defensive when Geoff Keighley asked why players should replay Arkham City again when it's the same game. "It's not the same game!" Fils-Aime responded, pushing the company line. Watch this clip:
If the Wii U truly is so revolutionary, then it should be able to stand alongside new games on competing platforms, not trumped up ports that show up after the party is over. It needs new content to really shine. It doesn't matter how much of a boost Arkham City is given at this point; it's old news. Great game, yes, but it's "so last year", as they say. Ubisoft has an anticipated game coming to the Wii U later this year called Assassin's Creed III. I don't know how the Wii U version will offer something different compared to the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 versions, but if I were Nintendo, I would be putting my third-party promotional eggs in that basket rather than a game that, while top-selling and stellar, has already been experienced by the target demographic.
UPDATE: David Oxford has written a compelling rebuttal to my arguments.