Batman fans will be pleased to hear that Gameloft’s latest iOS title: Dark Knight Rises is a solid game with lots of Batman action for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners. See also: iPad app reviews and iPhone app reviews
Keen gamers will also be pleased to hear that the game has more than a passing nod to the videogame classics Arkham Asylum and Arkham City (both developed by Rocksteady). Visit New Star Soccer for iPhone and iPad review.
This is by no means a bad thing, both of which are highly acclaimed sandbox adventures with solid fisticuff action. So if you’ve played those titles: think that with virtual controls and you’re pretty much ready for Dark Knight Rises.
Gameloft has done a good job here. Both Batman and Gotham are rendered in superb detail, and the rendering is smooth. It’s starting to surprise us just how close the new iPad and iPhone 4S are to full-blown consoles. It really won’t be long before there isn’t any difference between them at all.
Apart from the one that most gamers will be keenly aware of: the presence of virtual controls. A virtual control stick and on-screen buttons controls the action of Batman, while moving your finger around the rest of the screen controls the camera.
Virtual controls are what they are. They’ll never be as good as a proper pad with real sticks and buttons, and we prefer the control system of games like Angry Birds that approach touch screen from the ground up as if joysticks and control pads had never happened. Games with virtual controls are clearly popular, and profitable, so there’s people out there that don’t mind.
The Jump and Punch buttons are pretty much constantly on screen; and either a Grapple (which enables you to hook onto nearby buildings and zoom up to them), or Glide button (which enables you to launch off of a building and glide to earth) both appear when needed. Tap the top right icon to open up a menu with all of batman’s gadgets.
Fighting is mostly a case of running up to the bad guys and tapping the Punch button, with Jump acting as a diving escape. It lacks the finesse of Arkham Asylum, in particular you can’t use multiple gadgets in fighting with ease, and it doesn’t have the finely-tuned countering system of its console equivalent; but it’s an interesting diversion nonethelss. The game encourages you to use weapons and stealth attacks to take out enemies when possible.
Between the exploration and fighting there are puzzle elements to solve, and vehicle sections that serve as a diversion.
Gameloft has steadily made a name for itself in the world of iOS gaming, not always make the most original titles, but solidly turning around quality products that produce much of the quality of Xbox and PS3 titles, without the £40 price tag.
Getting the Dark Knight Rises is something of a coup for them, but it does show how far they’ve come from producing games that mimic console classics to actually getting the movie tie-ins themselves. And they’ve done a good job here.
This is a visually great title 3D exploration and fighting game; the controls are solid (if you can handle on-screen buttons) and there’s plenty of gameplay. Even if some of it is formulaic. While superficially Dark Knights Rises has the look and feel of the similar console titles, it does lack quite a lot of the depth. But hey, it’s Batman for £4.99.