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“Batman: Arkham VR” Review

The precious suit. It's so close, I can almost touch it.

The precious suit. It’s so close, I can almost touch it.

With the outstanding Arkham series and Telltale’s own Batman series, there is definitely no shortage of Batman games on the market.  A lot of what makes these games successful is the fact that they’ve been true to the overarching canon while also just being a joy to play, but none of these games really fully immersed the player into being the Caped Crusader.

That is until Batman: Arkham VR.

What Is It?

Arkham VR gives players the chance to literally step into the shoes of Batman and see things through his eyes.  Though it’s based in the same universe as the rest of Rocksteady’s Arkham games, it doesn’t necessarily tie into any of its releases.  Arkham VR is a standalone game that can be played without any prior experience with the series, so if you haven’t played any of the previous Arkham entries, you’re good.

Alfred is always a sight for sore eyes after watching your parents die.

Alfred is always a sight for sore eyes after watching your parents die.

Why Should I Care?

Arkham VR, first and foremost, is all about its story.  We’re not gonna pull any punches here — at roughly an hour and a half, it’s an extremely short experience, which players should expect from a VR launch title.  While most of the experience is quite engaging, the first five minutes consist of something Batman fans know all too well.

Yes, you’re Bruce Wayne, but when you first turn the game on, aside from all the VR setup you have to do, you’re treated to once again seeing Martha and Thomas Wayne meeting their demise. How many times does this have to happen?  Not enough, apparently.

That aside, eventually you end up back at Wayne Manor with Alfred making some small chitchat with you.  When you look around and play the piano, the area suddenly transforms and it brings you to the Batcave, where you’ll eventually dawn the Batman’s suit as well as get acquainted with his equipment. You’ll have a grappling hook, the batarang, and a scanning device for all of Batman’s detective work.

While it sucks that you're not a real part of it, it's pretty cool seeing Nightwing in action first-hand.

While it sucks that you’re not a real part of it, it’s pretty cool seeing Nightwing in action first-hand.

Other than sort of a shooting range with the batarang, there isn’t any actual fighting in Arkham VR.  It’s really all about all the detective stuff you have to do.  As you set out of the Bat Cave to do some field work, you’ll find yourself in front of a body trying to analyze what happened, sort of performing an autopsy using information you’ve gathered at the environment.  It all feels like a more realistic point-and-click adventure, but it’s the first-hand VR experience that really makes it all unique.

Motion Sickness Meter: Low

The VR experience in Arkham VR is an extremely solid one and since you don’t do a lot of first-person travel, the likelihood of getting motion sickness is pretty low.  Most of the traveling Batman does is done by switching screens, so for the most part you’ll be looking at still frames and images with moving parts, taking away from any actual “motion.”

The initial setup is a little tiresome, though worth it in the end. The game is also best played using the PlayStation Move controllers.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

While the overall experience clocks in and just under an hour and a half, whether or not players will think Arkham VR is worth its $19.99 price tag depends on what kind, and how much, of a Batman fan they are.  As someone that doesn’t really mind a short game, I have to admit that I was a bit dismayed by not only its length, but the fact that there really wasn’t any combat involved.  At $10 to $15, it would be easier to recommend.

Still, the experience of actually being the masked vigilante in black was a heck of a feeling, and while you don’t really get to kick anybody’s ass, the experience of exploring the dark alleys of Gotham fighting crime by solving mysteries other investigators wouldn’t be able to do is definitely one worth having… just as long as you can stomach seeing Thomas and Martha Wayne getting shot again.

 
 
 
 
 
Title: Batman: Arkham VR
Platform: PlayStation VR
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: Rocksteady
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: October 13, 2016
ESRB Rating: M
Developer's Twitter: @RocksteadyGames
Editor's Note: The game was purchased by the reviewer.
OpenCritic

With the outstanding Arkham series and Telltale’s own Batman series, there is definitely no shortage of Batman games on the market.  A lot of what makes these games successful is the fact that they’ve been true to the overarching canon while also just being a joy to play, but none of these games really fully immersed the player into being the Caped Crusader. That is until Batman: Arkham VR. What Is It? Arkham VR gives players the chance to literally […]

The precious suit. It's so close, I can almost touch it.

The precious suit. It’s so close, I can almost touch it.

With the outstanding Arkham series and Telltale’s own Batman series, there is definitely no shortage of Batman games on the market.  A lot of what makes these games successful is the fact that they’ve been true to the overarching canon while also just being a joy to play, but none of these games really fully immersed the player into being the Caped Crusader.

That is until Batman: Arkham VR.

What Is It?

Arkham VR gives players the chance to literally step into the shoes of Batman and see things through his eyes.  Though it’s based in the same universe as the rest of Rocksteady’s Arkham games, it doesn’t necessarily tie into any of its releases.  Arkham VR is a standalone game that can be played without any prior experience with the series, so if you haven’t played any of the previous Arkham entries, you’re good.

Alfred is always a sight for sore eyes after watching your parents die.

Alfred is always a sight for sore eyes after watching your parents die.

Why Should I Care?

Arkham VR, first and foremost, is all about its story.  We’re not gonna pull any punches here — at roughly an hour and a half, it’s an extremely short experience, which players should expect from a VR launch title.  While most of the experience is quite engaging, the first five minutes consist of something Batman fans know all too well.

Yes, you’re Bruce Wayne, but when you first turn the game on, aside from all the VR setup you have to do, you’re treated to once again seeing Martha and Thomas Wayne meeting their demise. How many times does this have to happen?  Not enough, apparently.

That aside, eventually you end up back at Wayne Manor with Alfred making some small chitchat with you.  When you look around and play the piano, the area suddenly transforms and it brings you to the Batcave, where you’ll eventually dawn the Batman’s suit as well as get acquainted with his equipment. You’ll have a grappling hook, the batarang, and a scanning device for all of Batman’s detective work.

While it sucks that you're not a real part of it, it's pretty cool seeing Nightwing in action first-hand.

While it sucks that you’re not a real part of it, it’s pretty cool seeing Nightwing in action first-hand.

Other than sort of a shooting range with the batarang, there isn’t any actual fighting in Arkham VR.  It’s really all about all the detective stuff you have to do.  As you set out of the Bat Cave to do some field work, you’ll find yourself in front of a body trying to analyze what happened, sort of performing an autopsy using information you’ve gathered at the environment.  It all feels like a more realistic point-and-click adventure, but it’s the first-hand VR experience that really makes it all unique.

Motion Sickness Meter: Low

The VR experience in Arkham VR is an extremely solid one and since you don’t do a lot of first-person travel, the likelihood of getting motion sickness is pretty low.  Most of the traveling Batman does is done by switching screens, so for the most part you’ll be looking at still frames and images with moving parts, taking away from any actual “motion.”

The initial setup is a little tiresome, though worth it in the end. The game is also best played using the PlayStation Move controllers.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

While the overall experience clocks in and just under an hour and a half, whether or not players will think Arkham VR is worth its $19.99 price tag depends on what kind, and how much, of a Batman fan they are.  As someone that doesn’t really mind a short game, I have to admit that I was a bit dismayed by not only its length, but the fact that there really wasn’t any combat involved.  At $10 to $15, it would be easier to recommend.

Still, the experience of actually being the masked vigilante in black was a heck of a feeling, and while you don’t really get to kick anybody’s ass, the experience of exploring the dark alleys of Gotham fighting crime by solving mysteries other investigators wouldn’t be able to do is definitely one worth having… just as long as you can stomach seeing Thomas and Martha Wayne getting shot again.

Date published: 10/25/2016
3 / 5 stars

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