This summer's blockbuster is here. The Dark Knight Rises is the final chapter in Christopher Nolan's celebrated Batman trilogy and it also looks to be the darkest film yet for the caped crusader.
It's fitting, perhaps, that Gameloft's game is also pretty dark and gritty, pulling no punches in the violence on offer, but it also has a lot more to offer as you make your way through the streets of Gotham.
But first, a warning. This game pretty much follows the movie story and anyone who hasn't been to see the film yet may well get a fair few spoilers from playing Gameloft's version. As is always the danger with these game-of-the-film titles and something we also saw with Spider-man the other week, plots are spoilt fairly easily.
Not that it should put you off playing The Dark Knight Rises, of course. It's a perfect game to come back to from your trip to see the movie, where you can play at being Batman without resorting to wearing leather and standing on your rooftop practicing your best gruff voice.
The first mission is fairly linear but once this has been completed the game opens up and gives you an element of free reign over Gotham's rooftops, parks and city streets. Playing through the missions is still the best way to start, though, as it will unlock vehicles (most notably the Bat Pod and The Bat) which can then be used whenever you want.
While Spider-man has his webs to get him around New York, Batman relies on his grappling hook and rooftops. It's a more precise system that requires certain points to actually attach the hook to, rather than being able to swing around where-ever you like. Once up on the roof, you can jump and use the cloak to glide around for a surprisingly long time, almost like flying. Learnign how to use both of these tools together is the key to travelling Gotham's streets.
Fighting is handled with a single button for attack and one for defence, which appears when you're about to get hit in the chops. It may seem basic, but the system is surprisingly good at coming up with impressive looking fight scenes and it never feels less than impressive when taking down 5 enemies at a time. Less impressive is the camera, which aims to make life difficult during fights, flights and generally just about any scene which involves turning. It's a shame that Gameloft haven't found a way to make the camera behave rationally, but it's still not enough to spoil the fun.
Upgrades are extensive and while there is an element of the dreaded In App Purchase it feels warranted as a way to get to the good stuff faster than just upgrading as you earn points in the game. Considering that every enemy taken down and every level you complete gives you points, it won't be long before you see your toys getting an upgrade, even if you're not prepared to lay down any cash for them.
I'm now about half way through the game and there are some interesting changes of pace as well as some nifty side missions. There's plenty of meat here for Batman fans to chew on and so far the game is getting a recommendation for early purchasers.
Stay tuned to the site for a full review of the complete game early next week. Now where did I leave my cape and tights?
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