- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s latest Batman movie is currently showing in packed theaters around the globe. However, The Dark Knight Rises (Gameloft, rated 9+, reviewed for iPad 2, $6.99), the official gaming complement to the blockbuster film, has surprisingly bypassed the big-budgeted entertainment console route and resides on a touch screen near you.

Maybe the strength of Batman: Arkham City as the best superhero-themed game on the market was too daunting of a task to try and overcome to develop for the PS3 or Xbox 360?

Or, simply, the growth of the iOS and Android market made it a cost-efficient, irresistible choice to build an affordable Dark Knight open-world epic for the mobile masses.

No matter, this game for the iPad shines through some intense third person combat that also mixes in the use of vehicles, varied side missions and plenty of stunning and ominous views of Gotham City.

In the six-chapter story (possible plot spoiler alert), Bruce Wayne’s alter ego has been out of sight for eight years after taking the blame for the death of famed district attorney Harvey Dent.

An unusual thief named Selina Kyle brings him out of retirement to find Gotham City more chaotic and dangerous than ever.

A plot unfolds that features a villain named Bane causing the surging violence and anarchy while looking to completely destroy the metropolis, as well as Batman and Bruce Wayne’s legacy.

Our caped vigilante has at his disposal an ever-growing cache of weapons and fighting techniques as he works through 24 missions, including infiltrating Gotham’s Power Station, restoring the city’s electricity, rescuing Wayne Enterprises CEO Lucious Fox from mercenaries and battling out of a prison as Bruce Wayne.

Side missions such as defusing bombs, saving civilians and simply cleaning out swarms of Bane’s minions in areas of Gotham (destroying a weapons depot is especially exhausting) keeps the action rolling.

Our hero often uses fists and kicks to easily beat thugs to a pulp (with a slow motion finale) through some impressive brawling delivered by rapidly tapping a few onscreen virtual buttons.

Better yet, Batman has a very responsive Grapnel Gun to zip himself from any hotspot targeted in the cityscape (from building tops to cranes and towers), a detailed map to easily locate trouble and a cape that allows him to glide from highpoints and swoop down on bad guys.

His weapons include batarangs (even EMP versions to fry electronics), smoke bombs, “flash bang” grenades and that awesome Grapnel that shoots its cable to ensnare and pull an enemy toward his final beating.

The combat looks great as Batman attacks using powerful right crosses, roundhouse punches, a knee to the face and head butts, to name a few animations. He can block a kick and punches, automatically disarm a thug (packing knives, sniper rifles, tire irons, assault rifles and rocket launchers) and often unleashes powerful uppercuts that lift a foe off of the ground all while his cape moves to his every action.

As Batman subdues foes and succeeds in missions, he accumulates experience that levels him up to unlock goodies (such as more powerful armor types) and he collects skill points and credits.

Story Continues →