The Dark Knight Rises Android game is an ambitious failure

by Phil Owen

I can't help but be attracted to big AAA-style games on my phone, because what got me into gaming in the first place was the big actual-AAA games on the computer. So whenever Gameloft cranks out one of their 2GB games, I pay attention. The Dark Knight Rises, which follows the story of the Batman film of the same name, is an attempt at making a mobile version of Batman: Arkham City, but it turns out that's an idea that is a little too complicated for touchscreen controls.

It could be for some people that if you play this game enough you will become good at it, but that never happened for me. Rocksteady's home console Batman games require a deft touch, and it's hard to have a deft touch on a phone. I feel like Gameloft knew that, and so they tried to compensate by making it more linear than Arkham City, but ultimately it's still too clunky for me to embrace it.

What I like, though, is the presentation. This is a “real game,” as I like to say. It's one of the rare mobile titles to tell an in-depth story and feature voice acting. Sure, it doesn't have Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway doing their thing, but I can't say that the acting is bad, and that thrills me. It also looks pretty good, aside from when it gets close up on Catwoman's face, which is suspiciously flat here. But there is a lot of detail in, say, Batman's suit, and most of the time you don't get close enough to nitpick the visual flaws. Except when you see Catwoman's face. The Dark Knight Rises' visuals don't rival modern large home console games, but it generally looks really good for a mobile 3-D game. And since it has a lot more information to process than, say, Infinity Blade 2, that's pretty shocking.

At the end of the day, The Dark Knight Rises won't quite satisfy. But I like that Gameloft tried to make a game this big for phones.

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