Bat­man: Arkham VR

Be the Bat­man

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Like Bat­man, I won’t pull any punches when it comes to the launch of PlayS­ta­tion VR. The rea­son so many VR launch ti­tles have such low RRPs is be­cause they’re short ex­pe­ri­ences that are de­signed to in­tro­duce a main­stream mar­ket to the won­ders of vir­tual re­al­ity.

This doesn’t have to be a dis­ap­point­ment, es­pe­cially when it gives play­ers the chance to shit them­selves in haunted-house rides, soar in the cock­pit of an X-wing or, in this par­tic­u­lar in­stance, be the Bat­man. That last bit was the oft-re­peated catch­phrase of Bat­man: Arkham Knight, and it seems like a wasted op­por­tu­nity in that it should have been saved for Bat­man: Arkham VR.

With bat-eared head­set cov­er­ing my ears and a PlayS­ta­tion VR unit of­fer­ing me a Bat’s-eye view of Bat­man’s al­ter ego, the Arkham VR demo started off mod­estly enough in Bruce Wayne’s rather lush lounge. Like PS VR ti­tle The Deep, the player is re­stricted to stand­ing on the spot, armed with dual Move con­trollers that mir­ror real-world hand move­ments.

Rock­steady has a rep­u­ta­tion for pretty games, es­pe­cially in the Arkham­verse, but Arkham VR is on a whole new level. The room was vis­ually im­pres­sive enough, but when faith­ful but­ler Al­fred en­tered to in­form Bruce Wayne that his al­ter ego was needed, I missed most of what he was say­ing be­cause I was dis­tracted by the amaz­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail of his char­ac­ter model.

Al­fred handed over a key for the pi­ano that was in front of me, and I hur­riedly put key in lock, then bashed out a few out-of-tune chords, the Bat­man fan in me know­ing I was about to en­ter the Bat­cave. But in ex­pert show­man­ship, Rem­edy didn’t sim­ply open a door­way to my ex­pected lo­ca­tion. In­stead, the floor slowly low­ered and I found my­self in a small cham­ber adorned floor-to-roof with tech. It was time to suit up.

The bulk of the main Bat­suit was ap­plied au­to­mat­i­cally, but what fol­lowed helped to make up for that dis­ap­point­ment. To put on Bat­man’s sig­na­ture gauntlets, you have to stick both of your arms into side-by-side cylin­ders that con­tain the bladed gloves. The fi­nal touch is to grab Bat­man’s cowl and pull it over your head, be­fore you re­ceive a mir­ror view of an im­pres­sively ren­dered Bat vis­age that moves in time with your real-world head and arm move­ments.

On the de­scent to the Bat­cave, there’s some oblig­a­tory gad­get test­ing, which is fun. There’s the grap­pling hook, which I test-fire at a nearby tar­get be­fore snap­ping it onto my belt. There’s a sim­i­lar test with a foren­sic scan­ner, be­fore Bat­man’s iconic batarangs en­ter the fray, with some sub­se­quent test­ing against ro­tat­ing tar­gets. It seems im­pos­si­ble to miss the tar­gets, but that doesn’t im­pact how cool it is to flick a batarang from the front of Bat­man’s util­ity belt to­wards the tar­gets with a sim­ple ges­ture.

The el­e­va­tor fi­nally low­ered into the full awe­some­ness of Rock­steady’s Arkham­verse take on the Bat­cave and the demo faded to black. I was left won­der­ing what the re­main­ing de­tec­tive mode is all about.

Like you, I’ll have to wait for the re­lease of the fi­nal game to fig­ure that out, but if you have a bat in the bel­fry for all things Bat­man, you’d be nutty to miss out on this Arkham­verse ex­pe­ri­ence if you’re pick­ing up PlayS­ta­tion VR on day one.



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