Published on October 7th, 2012 | by octaneblue0
Review: The Dark Knight Rises: The Mobile Game
System(s): Android, iOS
Release Date: July 20, 2012
When it was released, Batman Begins was a big success. It had an accompanying game based on it, released on the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. And it was actually pretty good. When it came time for the sequel The Dark Knight however, it was different – there was no licensed game for the film. There was one planned, but it was quietly cancelled and never saw the light of day. Fast forward to 2012, when the conclusion of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, was released to theaters. There’s a lack of a console/PC version of the game, but instead an adaptation created for iOS and Android devices. Can a game of this scope work on mobile platforms?
Gameloft is one of the more prominent developers on iOS and Android. They are notorious for duplicating popular franchises and making their own versions for mobile devices, such as Modern Combat, a clear Call of Duty clone. Here, the gameplay is somewhat like that of developer Rocksteady Studios’s Batman: Arkham titles. While those games received critical acclaim, and deservedly so, The Dark Knight Rises: The Mobile Game isn’t quite up to par.
One of the first things players will notice about the game is how nice it looks. For the open world portions of the game, you have most of Gotham City to explore, and it’s impressive to see such a big area on your respective mobile device. Batman’s character model looks great and his animations are very nice too. Some levels feature rain, and those look particularly impressive. However, the game does have several graphical glitches, including holes appearing right through characters. And some of the non-Batman character models are blocky and downright laughable. The game also suffers from lag at points where there are lots of characters on-screen, and it gets annoying, especially during combat. The game’s story, which is a loose adaptation of the namesake film, is told through drawn cut scenes, and these look really nice and resemble a graphic novel.
Gameloft tried to emulate the fighting style of the Batman: Arkham games, and it works decently well. Attacks are all done by one button, and counters are accomplished by another button that comes up when Batman’s about to be attacked. Sometimes, the counter doesn’t work, and results in Batman getting hit when he should have countered. Getting hit gets annoying quick because the screen darkens when Batman runs low on health. This is a really stupid idea because the game already has mostly dark environments, so when you’re low on health in a dark room, you’ll be lucky to land punches and counters while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. The combat gets pretty repetitive too, as you’re mostly just mashing that attack button, and countering when prompted. It’s not engaging and there isn’t any strategy.
Missions are mostly divided into two sections: open world, where you can run around Gotham City, and indoor environments. The outdoor sections are definitely more fun because you have more use of Batman’s gadgets, such as his grappling cable and cape, which you can steer to make him glide around. The game will give you certain objectives, such as meeting up with an NPC, finding hostages, defeating a certain group of enemies, and so on. An on-screen map proves invaluable when moving around, as sometimes it’s difficult to know where you’re supposed to go. There’s also a small icon on the screen, with the distance to your target objective, that helps out a lot too.
A big issue with the game is its controls, specifically movements. With the attack, jump, counter, etc. buttons on the bottom right side of the screen, the bottom left has a virtual control stick. Moving it up moves Batman forward and so forth, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. There are occasions where you’ll have to stop Batman, and then move to a different direction because it gets difficult to turn. Camera control is done by using your right thumb on the screen to move the focus around, which gets awkward sometimes too, and the virtual buttons on the bottom right get in the way. There are vehicles in the game too, but the controls on those can either be manageable or a headache. Basically, the smaller the touch screen on your mobile device, the more trouble you’ll have with the controls. The controls work sometimes, but fail in others. And in a game like this, that isn’t really acceptable. But thus is the limit on gaming on devices that typically lack buttons and control pads/sticks. If you have a way of using a controller with your device, that will work a lot better.
The game doesn’t feature any licensed music from the film, but instead a sound-alike, imitation soundtrack. You can tell what they were going for, and it doesn’t sound half bad. The music fits the game, at least. The game unsurprisingly lacks any actors from the films, but instead features voice actors that sound like them. And for the most part, they do. But Bane’s voice actor sticks out like a sore thumb; he sounds nothing like Bane’s voice in the film, and his voice is more humorous than intimidating.
If you’re looking for a lengthy mobile game, The Dark Knight Rises fits the bill. It will take several hours to beat the storyline. But getting through it is another story. It starts becoming a chore because of the mostly monotonous gameplay. Throughout the game, you can upgrade items and purchase new ones from the in-game shop. But there are some items that must be purchased through micro-transactions with real money. You will not need them in the game, and it’s just an excuse to get more money from buyers. Don’t bother.
At a hefty $6.99, which is much more than other mobile games, it’s hard to recommend The Dark Knight Rises: The Mobile Game to most. As a mobile game, it’s not too bad; if this were released on any other platform, however, it certainly would be considered worse. But overall, the word that can sum up this game as whole is mediocre. If you want a fix of The Dark Knight Rises, just save your money up for the Blu-ray/DVD release later this year.
+ Some good graphics and animations
+ Gadgets are fun to use
– Spotty controls
– Some environments are too dark
– Price is too high, micro-transactions
Final score: 2.75 out of 5