A Good Day to Die Hard came out in theaters last week, so Fox Digital Entertainment seized the moneymaking moment by releasing an iOS game, Die Hard, to go along with the film. The film didn’t have the mojo to spark good reviews, but will the game?
First thing a person needs to know before buying the game is that you play as Jack McClane (Jai Courtney), not John (Bruce Willis). If you’re a longtime fan of the series, it’s hard not to be disappointed by this. Why would we prefer to play as newcomer Jack, instead of established badass John McClane? That said, the character model is the spitting image of Jai Courtney -- he’s dressed the same as in the movie, and has some different clothing variations the player can purchase, one of which is a classic John McClane white tank top, which, frankly, feels blasphemous.
Die Hard combines endless runner game play with third person shooter action. Jack will run through the toxic land of Chernobyl as long as the player can keep him alive, shooting bad guys while jumping over debris. The multifaceted elements of trying to shoot bad guys, collect coins, jump over obstacles, and reload keep the game interesting and the difficulty high.
The controls are intuitive and responsive, letting you swipe side-to-side to switch lanes, swipe up to jump, and down to reload. The 3D graphics are great, but since the game is set in a town destroyed by a nuclear accident, everything is dark and lifeless. Even if there are fifty shades of grey on the screen, it’s all still grey.
There’s a nice amount of upgrades and extras with which to equip Mr. Jack, helping mix up the sometimes monotonous feel of an endless runner. Several different weapons (with upgradable ammo), are available. Jack himself can get a tune-up by upgrading his health, reflexes, adrenaline, and outfit. There are also gadgets available that enhance the amount of rubles you collect, decreases reload time, increases your chance to place a critical hit, etc,. -- all to mix up the game play and keep things fun, BUT..
.. this is also where the game feels like it’s just trying to make a quick buck off a popular franchise. All the upgrades are really expensive compared to the amount of rubles you collect in game. Players are forced to wait and work their butts off to accumulate this hard-earned coin, or fork over real world money.
Also, nothing is free. Those gadgets mentioned above? You can equip one, and then spend rubles or real money for more slots if you want to equip multiple gadgets. You can pay to unlock checkpoints, and then pay again to use said checkpoint after unlocking it.
It’s understandable that a game needs to make money, and technically there’s nothing here that forces you to spend real life dollars, but throw the customers a bone here and there. Do we really need to dip into our in-game bank every time we want to use a checkpoint after we already paid to unlock the damn thing?
Aside from potentially paying out the wazoo, the game is fun enough, and boasts a ton of missions/achievements that don’t cost anything to accomplish.