It's actually pretty awesome, as they have yielded some legit, good games, not just any run of the mill games that show up free every other month on their own. Some of them I have already used and wrote about for this blog, but this month, the game came out with perfect timing, as I was able to download it and put it on my iPad just before I left to the beach for the weekend, where any sort of cell service or Wi-Fi was hard to come by. Despite having games on my Vita to play, and since my 3DS is still being held hostage (although it was along for the ride), I planned on playing two games on my iPad specifically for this blog. Both are relatively big games, but both I got for free. Nothing wrong with free, good games, right?
The first game was Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, which I honestly didn't even know existed until I saw it being given away for free by IGN. Anything associated with Batman, however, should be on my radar, especially anything having to do with the Arkham franchise. Arkham Asylum and Arkham City are two superb games that completely redefined how comic books or superheros can make the transition to video games successfully, and are no considered the gold standard for that genre.
I obviously didn't expect Arkham City Lockdown to be as good as those games, or like those games as far as open world exploration goes, but I knew they wouldn't associate the Arkham franchise with this game if it didn't do a serviceable job of upholding the brand that's already established. Well, it definitely isn't like the Arkham games at all, other than it is a prequel to "City", I guess, and the character models are spot-on. There is no exploration, no storyline really. You're just Batman, and you go from mission to mission, beating up different groups of thugs using the touch controls. Taping, swiping and trying combos gets you from enemy to enemy. Pretty straight forward.
Sure, you can unlock different costumes and gadgets to make the fights more interesting, but stripped down and it is just a generic touch-controlled fighter. It looks amazing, and because it's Batman, I have no real complaints. However, this type of game, while impressive on the iPad, is very telling as to why I don't ever foresee tablet or mobile gaming completely eliminating the need for handheld consoles. The inclusion of buttons on handhelds will always keep them relevant to gamers, as they just add so much more functionality and possibilities to games. Sure, touch screen controls can enhance a game, but they can't carry a game as far as gamers would like.
Even if it is Batman.