I was officially linkbaited into reading a Kotaku article today. I’ve provided a link, but you really don’t need to go read it.
The headline reads: “The great, terrible, incredibly important Dark Knight Rises game”. Despite my distaste for Kotaku, I was curious about their reasoning for calling the Dark Knight Rises game ‘important’. My gut (& the previews I saw on various websites) told me it is a movie cash-in game. Nothing exciting or unusual.
Stephen Totilo’s article opens strong.
The official video game for The Dark Knight Rises costs $7, looks amazing on my iPad, is a bit of a mess and is one of the most important video games of the year.
I’m still not sure what his point is, but OK. It’s super important.
The Dark Knight Rises game is, really, an astounding mediocrity. It’s an open-world Batman game that plays like a poor man’s Batman: Arkham City, the critically acclaimed $60 open-world Batman game of last year. You’ll notice that this poor man’s version costs nearly a 10th of Arkham City, but is maybe only a quarter as good. What’s astounding is that, for this cheap, on this machine, it runs. (See the video we shot of it, above.)
Again, I’m not sure how to parse this. If the game is 90% cheaper and runs 25% as good, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal, all things considering. Maybe it isn’t, but I can’t tell. I also don’t understand what’s astounding about the game running “on this machine”:his iPad 1? 2? 3? we never find out, making this an excercise in futility: if that was running on an original iPad I’d be mildly impressed, but it’s not that good looking. Many iOS games look as good, and some look better, so I’m not “astounded” by this. Maybe I have higher standards than Totilo.
He goes on to describe the game, sounding astounded by the player’s ability to upgrade Batman’s gear or and beat up villains. Totilo breathlessly ramps up to his grand conclusion:
This is, in other words, a 2012 version of the so-so officially-licensed movie game that our ancestors had to pay full price for back in the Super Nintendo and PlayStation eras. This is a passable game released in order to officially glom onto the release of a movie. The shock here is that it’s been done for $7 and that, the iPad/iPhone/Android’s lack of buttons notwithstanding, it’s a shockingly attractive and substantial multi-chapter game.
So, I should be shocked that there’s a $7 movie tie-in game? I wasn’t aware that it was new. What about The Hunger Games? Iron Man 2? Super 8? Hell, Spider-Man got not one, but two tie-in apps. Warning: these are all App Store links).
All of these apps have at least a 3 star average review, so they’re at least passable, which is what Totilo calls the Dark Knight Rises (he also calls it great, terrible, and important, but let’s stick with his conclusion). The only interesting thing about the Dark Knight Rises tie-in is the price of $7; this is several dollars more expensive than every other game I’ve listed.
Based on my own research, as well as Totilo’s near-breathless article, I don’t think the Dark Knight Rises is particularly great, nor terrible. I haven’t played it myself, so I shan’t pass judgment. But the one thing I can conclude with certainty is that it is not important, making Totilo’s article useless. It has no purpose, doesn’t really have a clear statement or thesis, and it is a waste of time.