Feb 28, 2013

With DIE HARD, Fox shows us again that the newish strategy of releasing handheld games as companions to major motion movies is not a fleeting development.

We all have a little bit of John McClane in us, the hard-nosed defective that made dying a very difficult art. No one has more McClane in him or her than Jack, John McClane’s son and the protagonist in this running adventure set in Moscow.

The graphics in this game were gritty. The running area looked like the aftermath of a large scale conflagration, with damaged, seemingly shelled buildings and shared windows. The way the developer was able to bring out so much bleakness is a testament to the interesting use of color. The animations were sharp, and most of the motions, from the running, to the diving, to the reloading, all looked smooth and realistic in its 3D glory.

The gameplay was nice as well. I liked the slightly elevated control view, as it worked well to highlight the things that I needed to collect. I was given a few pointers by way of active tutorial. I had to guide my character through treacherous urban terrain, with gunmen popping up from the left, right and even vantage points up high. By tapping on the event shooters, I was able to fire at them with my weapon, which mostly remained in shooting position while I ran.

There was a running tally of ammunition at the bottom, and I had to swipe down to reload. I could also swipe up to jump, and swiping in front of an enemy allowed for physical melee type attack. Along the way, there were goodies I could collect that bestowed special powers, such as health, increased resistance to damage, and better weapons. Of course, I had to pick the shooters off before they got me, and that was easier said than done, in that environment with all the obstacles, round tight corners and the occasional flights of stairs. Also, there were silver rubles that lined the running area and could be redeemed in the in-game store.

It all blended together to create a chaotic, challenging game that I suspect will be quite enjoyable to a die range of people.