After Gameloft’s brilliant mobile version of The Amazing Spider-Man, we were expecting great things from their latest superhero adventure, The Dark Knight Rises, however the experience, just like the movie itself, left me feeling thoroughly underwhelmed.
However that isn’t to say TDKR is a bad game, in fact there is a lot of fun to be had here. Much like The Amazing Spider-Man mobile game, TDKR features and open world in which to run around in as the Caped Crusader, as you try to ruin Bane’s plans and free Gotham City from his oppressive rule.
The graphics are stunning, even better than Gameloft’s previous gorgeously detailed Spider-Man game, with little problems with the frame rate and less textures popping into view (note: review is of the game is running on the iPad 2). Likewise the character models are very good, and a step above TASM, especially the main protagonist, Batman himself.
The music is suitably epic and the voices are great impressions of the film’s cast, Batman’s raspy growl is present and correct and even Alfred’s cockney accent isn’t too dodgy, although lets be honest the only man who can do a great Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman himself.
The worst aspect of TASM game was running on foot, thankfully some brilliant webslinging mechanics meant this wasn’t an issue too often, however with the advent of webslining in TDKR it is much more noticeable. The replacement for the webslinging mechanic is a grapnel gun which is mostly easy to control, although it can be rather infuriating when needing to zip away somewhere quickly to escape being seen (or shot in the face), all the player is required to do is aim it at a nearby ledge and tap the screen to zip along to the next building. Batman’s gliding mechanic takes some getting used to and whilst fine to control when just cruising gotham at a leisurely pace, becomes much more infuriating when trying to land anywhere specific.
The Batpod is one of your other method of transportation in the game, however it feels very pedestrian, a real shame considering Gameloft is well known for their Asphalt series which features high octane driving, I did notice the option to upgrade the Batpod’s speed in the store, so hopefully the maxxed out vechicle is a vast improvement on it’s basic specs.
The combat is fun and takes a clear influence from Rocksteady’s Arkham series, as it did in TASM, however it can prove impossible to avoid an attack once you are in the full swing of combat as the animations of Batman’s attacks are often too long, and the game won’t let you cut them short, and the combat does feel somewhat slow with no clear indication of how combos work. Picking off large groups of enemies one by one with one of Batman’s many gadgets is entertining, but the challenge is lost at times due to some awful A.I who don’t seem to notice (or perhaps they just don’t care) when you swipe the guy they were previously talking to.
Overall it is a fun if flawed game, it will certainly help pass the time on the commute to work or school, but ultimately unless you are a huge Batman fan pick up The Amazing Spider-Man for iOS instead to satisfy your need for mobile superheroics.