Game: Batman Arkham VR
Developer(s): Rocksteady Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 with PSVR
Release Date: October 2016
With the recent launch of the PSVR, it would seem virtual reality is finally affordable enough to be a mass market product. I finally got my hands on PlayStations slightly lower end and far more reasonably priced headset and started my dive into VR with a familiar world, that of the Dark Knight. Like most of these early VR titles are bound to be Batman Arkham VR is less of a game and more of an experience lasting about an hour or two. It’s pretty amazing to stand in the Batcave in the boots of the Caped Crusader, but Arkham VR is far from perfect.
You can play Arkham VR from a seated or standing position(the game recommends standing) using the PSVR headset and two motion controllers. If you have the room standing is the ideal way to play, I found it better suited the head and hand tracking. Also, you’ll have a bit of room to move around if you’re playing from a standing position. Game controls are limited and straightforward; you use the home button on your motion controllers to warp to multiple points in the environment to explore crime scenes and more. The triggers on your move controllers allow you to open and close Batman’s hands to interact with objects in the environment as well as Batmans Gadgets.
Batman has three gadgets from the Arkham series to make use of in this VR adventure. The grappling hook which can be used to interact some switches but for the most part is used for transition sequences between scenes. You also get use of the forensic scanner and batarangs. Batarang use is mainly for tripping switches in the environment, but the forensic scanner is by far the most used gadget in this game, as the bulk of the gameplay is crime scene analysis. The player will use it to examine bodies, check for fingerprints, all of your typical Dark Knight detective work.
Without giving too much away, I’ll say that it’s a damn shame the plot of Arkham VR doesn’t come out particularly strong. For a little VR experience, an incredibly strong narrative is all that could’ve saved it. You play as Bruce in search of his missing sidekicks Robin and Nightwing, the premise while exciting at first ends up feeling realtivly throw away all for the sake of a wink and nod to the plot of Arkham Knight.
Arkham VR isn’t truly a game it’s a VR experience, and while there’s nothing wrong with that especially at only a twenty dollar price point, it’s sub par plot doesn’t do much to save it from how simple it is. As a huge fan of Batman, I’ll probably play this more than an average gamer would. Arkham VR shines simply in one place; it’s a marvel to look at, standing in the Batcave or above the Iceberg Lounge dangling the Penguin off the roof are sights that never fail to impress me.
In these early days of virtual reality with few games to pick from Arkham VR is an entertaining experience you’ll more than likley play once and then show off to friends a few times after. That being said if you can only afford one game after investing in this $500 piece of hardware your money is better spent on some of the most entertaing bits of software like Job Simulator or Rez Infinite.
Score: 6 out of 10