As the first movie tie-in game to the Christopher Nolan Batman movies since 2005, Gameloft’s The Dark Knight Rises has a lot to live up to. It sadly suffers from all the same issues all their other open world games have had to face. Despite that, it’s actually very enjoyable and worth playing, as long as you can deal with some technical hiccups.
Gameplay can be described as a simpler, cheaper version of Batman: Arkham City, the excellent, mega-popular console and PC game of last year. You are thrust into the Nolan-verse Gotham City as the caped crusader, and while the city isn’t truly an open world, it often feels like it as you glide and grapple-hook your way across the rooftops. The combat tries to imitate the fluidity of the Arkham titles, including counter attacks and useful gadgets that you can buy and upgrade with credits. It’s not quite the same, but it’s still enjoyable.
The story tries to hit all the main points of the newly-released film, albeit in a clumsy way with many remixed scenes. The voice actors do an admirable job imitating their Hollywood counterparts, but they usually fall short. The imitation of Hans Zimmer’s epic score is also fairly bland and uninteresting, but these are all seasoning to the true gameplay experience, which is perfectly serviceable assuming your iDevice can run the game. Unfortunately, as with Gameloft’s previous open world movie tie-in, The Amazing Spider-Man, this game is wrought with technical issues, from laggy frame rates to freezing and crashing. You should be fine with newer devices, however.
Despite the occasional slow loading and pop-in, the graphics are amazing for the platform, especially on the latest generation of devices. I still wouldn’t classify this as a great game by any means, but it really exceeded my expectations, low as they were. Were this game on a console, it wouldn’t be worth a second look, but for only seven dollars on your iPhone, this is a very impressive experience. These movie tie-in games seem to be improving, and I hope they continue to do so.