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Batman Arkham City Lockdown Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on December 8, 2011


Batman Arkham City Lockdown
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Gorgeous presentation; detailed 3D models and animations (if limited in variety).
  • Free access to three Arkham City comics; wallpapers for your iDevice also available.
  • Various gadgets to unlock and play with.

CONS

  • Missed opportunity to be a 'prequel'.
  • Unlockable costumes more of an aesthetic change; base statistics more-or-less average out.
  • Extremely short on content; bulked by 'replay' with higher levels, but no story to justify this.

VERDICT

Batman Arkham City Lockdown is short, but fun, challenging and frantic on its first completion; unfortunately subsequent clears provide little motivation for doing so and ultimately it feels like too little, too late for iOS gamers interested in the Arkham franchise.


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For many gamers, Batman Arkham City has long since been put to bed, even if you spent the time to complete all the optional and downloadable content. So it comes as a surprise to see Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios dropping a mini-prequel to their console title this late in the proceedings, but fans like myself aren't going to look down on what is essentially a late gift (or is that an early Christmas present?).

Unfortunately the timing of the game isn't terribly opportune as its gameplay, much like its game engine, falls in to the same category as Infinity Blade and its ilk. You, as Batman, take on miniature missions beating down a sequence of Bad Guys (tm), dodging, countering and punching them in turn until their boss deigns you worthy enough for direct combat. Once you clear the board and re-capture the Joker, you start from the beginning with slightly harder foes.

It's a shame the formula is so rote, especially when the game is set between the two major console titles and there's little to no story to speak of to motivate Batman's actions - it's literally 'The baddies have escaped the Asylum, go round them up'.

Where combat with each villain’s minions feels like a permanent case of deja vu, taking on the head-honchos is another thing altogether as their scripted fights often require adaptions to your style of combat to succeed. Grundy, for example, requires speed execution of dodges before you can clock him in the jaw, while Deathstroke plays a deadly back-and-forth game with Batman that requires perfect execution to succeed.

At first it's hard to complain about the combat, especially when it's presented in such high-definition, acting as almost a miniaturized version of the full game, however this comes at a price. Firstly I almost burned my hand on my iPhone 4S, something that hasn't happened in a long time, but more importantly the amount of actual combat animations is woefully small, making combat all the more monotonous as a result.

The compensation for beating people in the face comes in the form of WayneTech points, which can be spent on gadgets and general upgrades to add some personality to the combat, but for the most part they're florid extras that add no real complexity to the combat. 'Costumes' can also be purchased for a price, changing Batman's base statistics for health, combat, and speed, but aside from this it's simply an aesthetic change.

For an action game based on a title with smooth, flawless, multi-target combat, Arkham City Lockdown comes off as a rather drab showing of a handful of uninspired minions punctuated occasionally by interesting, but otherwise story-less combat sequences with Batman's rogues gallery. It's a pretty game and one that is worth playing through at least once, but it's hard to justify coming back for more.

Screenshots

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