Batman Arkham City Lockdown Review
Batman is arguably the most popular character in the world of heroes and villains. His comics, graphic novels, animated series, movies and games make a ton of money. Anything new that has to do with the Caped Crusader will become absorbed by comic book loving consumers and gamers.
And when it comes to a new game featuring Batman that has impressive graphics and an engine reminiscent of Infinity Blade for the iOS, you can bet that it’s going to be downloaded by passionate fans. But is this iOS entry a worthy addition to the legacy of The Dark Knight? Or does it belong in Arkham Asylum app jail with the other criminally bad games?
Batman Arkham City Lockdown pits Batman against an entire gamut of escaped inmates from Arkham Asylum. In the game — played in the style of Infinity Blade — you choose different stages in various parts of the city and take out the criminals in each stage, including mastermind bosses The Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and more. A threat level and number of enemies you’ll face is shown before the stage begins. Like Infinity Blade, the object is to dodge or block attacks, wait for your opening, then swipe like mad and beat up the bad guy until his health depletes. Tap the screen to dodge an attack. Swipe down to deflect an attack. Sometimes the tapping seems a bit iffy and isn’t as responsive as I’d like it to be. A few times I’ve tapped and Batman just stood there. While fun at first, you begin to notice a lot of the same character models and fighting animations. The bosses seem to be the only ones with different kinds of attacks. Most of the goons are either going to kick, punch or swing their weapon at you the same way.
If you dodge too late, you’ll take a hit and lose health. You can use one of your gadgets — a first-aid kit in the lower left that slowly refills — to replenish your health if you’re low. Enemies will also go into a “rage” mode, where their fists glow red. You can’t attack them while they’re in this state. Just avoid their attacks, wait until they get dizzy and let ‘em have it. It’s the same with bosses, although some boss stages mix things up, like with Solomon Grundy as he chases you through the sewers and you have to avoid his attacks. If you die in a stage you have to start it over, which can be frustrating because some stages have small cut scenes that you cannot skip.
A lot of the best stuff in the game isn’t actually in the game itself. It’s the cool extras and Batsuits you have available. You can unlock suits from Batman, Inc. to Animated Series Batman to Batman Beyond. The Dark Knight Returns Batman is also available if you like fighting as an old man. 1970′s Batman is my personal favorite because it’s fun to go old school when it comes time to beat up the bad guys. You can even ditch the suit and play as Bruce Wayne. All of the character models are extremely detailed and Batman is probably the best he’s ever looked — iOS, console or PC. The music is brooding and never becomes annoying. I really enjoyed the score and would actually listen to it outside of the game.
Earn Waynetech Points to upgrade your armor, combat training, physical training and critical strike training. Don’t forget to do this often because these upgrades really help in the later stages when the enemies get tougher. You can also upgrade your gadgets like Health Boost, Powered Gauntlets, Smoke Pellets and Bat Swarm. Extra content includes biographies, Gamecenter achievements, wallpapers and a comic viewer so you can read three issues of Batman Arkham Unhinged, which is included. It’s nice to see extra content in a game that isn’t part of some in-app purchase program.
In the end though, it always come down to gameplay, and Batman falls just a bit short in that department. The controls aren’t as responsive as they should be and it can be tiring watching the same animations over and over again. Despite the $6 price tag, the great graphics, music, extra content and upgrades make this a worthy purchase for anyone who likes playing as the Dark Knight. Just don’t act like you belong in Arkham Asylum when you find yourself playing the same level over and over again because of spotty touch controls.