Release Date: July 20, 2012
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Genre: Third-Person, Open World, Superhero, Action, Adventure
No wonder Batman is needed in Gotham… the cops must be blind.
Batman is a character that translates extremely well into the realm of gaming, providing some of the best stealth and action/adventure gameplay since the Metal Gear Solid series—especially in Rocksteady Studios’ Arkham series. Gameloft—arguably the best developer of mobile and tablet games—has set out to provide bat-fans with a similar experience capitalizing on the hype and success of Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, on the go. Loosely based on the films events, you’ll take control of Batman/Bruce Wayne over several missions as he combats Bane and the League of Shadows, and attempts to restore Gotham City to it’s former less-than-glorious state. While the game doesn’t have as strong a narrative as a big production console game like Arkham City, it still manages to keep the player engaged and allows for a more “pick-up-and-play” casual approach, which is important for mobile games.
Why don’t we have Batman’s grapnel gun technology yet?! Please tell me a geeky tech wizard is somewhere out there perfecting this.
Combat in The Dark Knight Rises HD is, once again, very similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. You can perform standard melee attacks(which automatically disarm gun-toting foes on the second or third hit), throw an assortment of batarangs and grenades, employ the grapnel gun to go all Scorpion and make your enemies “get over here”, or—my personal favorite—dispatch goons from the shadows with a stealth takedown. Also, when fighting multiple enemies a counterattack button will appear to give you the chance to go potentially unharmed and stop another enemy’s attack. The combat is pretty fluid and satisfying, although the camera sometimes works against it—especially if you’re in a tight space. You’ll get the sense that Batman truly is the badass he should be, and later in the game you will receive some heavier firepower in the form of the film’s new airborne vehicle, the Bat.
Flying through rings in a superhero game? What is this Superman 64?!
The Dark Knight Rises HD sports an open-world design, and there’s several ways to get around other than hoofin’ it—I mean, c’mon… you’re Batman. You can use Bats’ grapnel gun to scale buildings and then glide off of them with his cape(who needs Superman?), which is pretty fun to do and you may find yourself fucking around with that for a while and ignoring your current mission. The Batpod also unlocks early in the game, and while not as agile as in the films, it’s still a joy to drive and chase down Bane and his lackeys. Near the end of the game, the aforementioned Bat will become available, which is also really fun to pilot, but you unfortunately have to do so in a less casual manner. One thing you’ll notice during your traversal, is that Gotham looks spectacular. The devs over at Gameloft put some love into this, much like their impressive recreation of New York City in The Amazing Spider-Man mobile game. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself admiring Batman perched atop a skyscraper a few times. It’s okay, everyone thinks he looks epic. The voice cast do a pretty good job too; a few times I thought Alfred was actually portrayed by Michael Caine for the game. Bane sounds a little weird(perhaps the lack of a voice filter?), but still comes off as intimidating. And those of you who criticize Christian Bale’s Batman voice need not worry here: Batman’s voice actor is much more toned down in his performance than Bale.
Like every other mobile game ever, you can purchase upgrades to make the game easier… something a wimp like Robin would do.
A staple of mobile games, The Dark Knight Rises HD also employs a wealth of available micro-transactions. Standard upgrades can be bought with tech chips, which you can either collect in-game or buy packs of from the “Tech Shop”. Special upgrades are available as well—they give you a significantly increased advantage—but cannot be bought with collected chips and must be purchased with real money. All of these upgrades are neat and fun to mess around with, but none of them are totally necessary; I made it through the game fairly hassle-free with minimal standard upgrades. However, the upgrades do offer players a variety of ways to tackle missions which greatly increases the replayability of this game. The only items I think are missing are alternate costumes; at least the Batman Begins batsuit, Bruce’s ski-mask vigilante costume, and the ninja outfit from his days in the League of Shadows, and that’s without even touching on comic and animated versions of the character.
If Batsy here knew about the terrible chiropractic work that’s in store for him, he’d be searching for an exit instead of throwing ‘bows.
I have to say, Gameloft once again displays why they are considered the best. This game is a shining example of just how good the games in their library can be. The only real complaint I have is that the boss fights leave much to be desired—they don’t differentiate very much from standard combat, besides lasting longer. Other than that, The Dark Knight Rises HD is a great game, and between all the hidden collectibles to find and different play styles via upgrades, players will get several hours of enjoyment in the streets of Gotham. A normal playthrough will only last about 3-4 hours, but for $7 that’s still very much a steal. So, remember how after watching the film you came out wanting to be Batman? Well now you can, anywhere you want—and you don’t need Bruce Wayne’s bank account.