The Dark Knight Rises Mobile Game is Probably as Good as We Can Get
Christopher Nolan's take on Batman is definitely one to be remembered. Sure, this third and final installment in the franchise is a massive anticlimax after the amazing rollercoaster rides that were the first two films. But even with that, the mobile game adaptation of the film still aims to break new ground in the realm of mobile gaming -and it succeeds. TDKR for mobile is one of the biggest games out there, it is fun and entertaining, and it is visually breathtaking. But it also has its flaws and issues, after all, the bigger the game gets, the more problems it is likely to have.
Gotham Feels Alive
The nice thing about this open world game is that when you run around the rooftops, gliding from one perch to another, and then use your grappling gun to get to even higher locations, you will constantly see nice things. Gotham at night is a bustling metropolis (see what we did there?) of office buildings, skyscrapers, and more. Swoop down below to ground level and you get to see the even busier city streets with bright neon lights and that ever present fog. Yes, there is a lot less foot and vehicular traffic than we would like, but that's an obvious limitation of the hardware (which would have ground to a halt if there were too many AI instances), but for the most part, if feels good to be Batman in this game.
The story is a little more hit or miss -with much of the story heavily deviating from the movie's main plot. In the defense of the app, the film plot was not all that good to begin with. While the mobile game variant of the story is not much better, we cannot say that it is any worse either. For all intents and purposes, the whole Bane plot is a major narrative pitfall -which is a shame since Bane-centric stories tend to be very interesting for the Batman comics and animated shows.
The end result of having a nice game environment but a lackluster story is that you get to be Batman, enjoy your free time, then find that the story mode is a total bore of a chore that you only will want to do because it unlocks some interesting and cool stuff. Continue Reading
Release Date: 20/06/2012
Of course, becoming the Dark Knight is more than just moving in the shadows of rooftops. It also involves beating baddies to an inch of their lives (just that, after all, Batman's got a no-kill policy, regardless of what Snyder thinks). So this game has its own combat and fight system. Here it is easy to see that TDKR is heavily inspired by the Arkham series of games (by Rocksteady and Warner). This is evident in the open world exploration, but more so with the combat. Batman moves around enemies using a single button to execute context-sensitive moves and then a second button for counter allows for defensive attacks.
This worked pretty well for the Arkham series, but in the TDKR mobile game, the combat falls pretty flat. Dodging and countering takes almost no skill at all, there is very little to care for in terms of timing. The single button combo, while similar to the inspiration, lack imagination and fails badly in execution; the animations used for Batman's attacks feel weak and badly improvised.
The good news is that this all happens in a screen so small that even such negative details can be easily overlooked. Besides, the AI's combat skills are not all that impressive to begin with. Enemies do not cooperate with one another and more often than not, the game tries to beat you with sheer volume instead of actually making you face tough targets. There are a few boss fights, but these can be easily won by studying patterns and getting techniques right.
Some Things Could Be Better
Obviously, the touch screen offers very little in terms of tight controls or even responsiveness. But the game does have a lack of imagination and purpose when it comes to the buttons. There are no ways to make use of Batman's arsenal of gadgets in a battle, and even batarangs are not easy to throw out. This may already seem like asking too much out of a game that already has an open world mechanic, but such is the fate of any game that tries to be big: the expectations for it rise as well.
As we said, big open world games are prey to big bugs. And this is true even for console and desktop titles (hence the many day one patches and more). So it is not surprising that the grappling gun is clumsy, exploration can be a pain since the controls can conk out, and players can find themselves constantly having to deal with many small fights that are not worth their time.
In the end, this is a Batman game and while it is a technically impressive title, the overall gameplay experience is only a good match for those who are either fans of the character or the movie. This is especially important since the game's best feature is in the exploration mode and not the main narrative. Those looking for a good combat game will find that while The Dark Knight Rises' combat style may look flashy at first, the animations do get repetitive and the fights are just you spamming the attack button for all it is worth.
Batman The Dark Knight Rises is developed by Gameloft.