The Average Gamer

Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (iOS)

Asylum was great, wasn’t it? I know people have got some reservations about City, what with it being a bit pointlessly expanded resulting in it feeling a little less focused, but I think it’s pretty great too. It’s just such a tactile experience, dropping into a large crowd of opponents, ducking and dodging around them, countering blows, catching chairs, breaking limbs. The core of the Batman: Arkham X experience is wonderful. It’s probably the most fluid 3D combat game in years.

This, Arkham Lockdown, is nothing like either of those games however. It has Batman in it, obviously, and it has thugs what look like them in the other games too. It does not have a detective mode, or a 3D environment for you to move around freely nor any particular narrative device outside of the opening cinematic. It lacks glorious fights featuring multiple opponents, has a limited set of combos for you to pull off and strictly occurs on a level to level basis. At its core, it’s an attempt to do an Infinity Blade, but stripped back with a level selection screen and no sense of rhythmn.

Which, seeing as Infinity Blade 2 just came out and fixed loads of issues with its predecessor, is a case of incredible shortsightedness and bad timing.

This is what happens: you select a level from a screen which looks like the Arkham City map and you get told a threat level and the number of opponents you face. You barely glance at this as it’s pretty redundant and borderline impossible to lose. Batman appears in the level, and thug number one appears. You dodge or deflect their clearly signposted moves and then beat them back with the same combo you’ve used every time before.

Rinse and repeat for each thug, complete the level, get some cash and potentially level up. Then select the next level for that section and play through the exact same environment and animations again. Clear these levels and you get a crack at the boss, which introduces a solitary and never used again mechanic for you to be subjected to before you kill them.

The boss levels are pretty much the only place where you will die and mainly because you have no way to prepare for the mechanic you need to use to beat them.

I was over half way through the game before I purchased my first upgrade (to health, mainly). I was three quarters of the way through before I bought my first gadget. By the end of my first play through (around 90 minutes or so) I had everything and it was just a case of turning me into a massive killing machine. Despite there being no real reason to go through it again, I’m half way through right now. It seems marginally more difficult, but the ability to stun opponents with gadgets makes it too easy. Even with the Waynetech points slowing to a dribble I would expect to be maxed out on everything by the third run through.

I doubt very much I’ll finish this play through though.

As a premium app it also offers you the nice opportunity to spend more money and buy alternative outfits. I don’t know why you would want to with such a limited camera and minimal interactivity with the game itself but, hey, knock yourself out. It’s your cash.

Right now it feels like a horrendously limited game – all flash graphics and licensing costs with little under the hood. It’s the epitome of riding on someone else’s coat tails, and it sullies the “main” franchise quite badly. At £3.99 it’s massively overpriced.

My recommendation? Get it if it comes up at less than a quid, otherwise go and see what Infinity Blade is doing. This was outclassed right out of the gate.

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