Batman: Arkham VR Revisited
Batman: Arkham VR Retrospective
In my latest quest to get 100% trophies, I decided to revisit Batman: Arkham VR to grab a few which I missed when I last played it in 2016.
I’ve been playing quite a few PSVR games lately, so I was looking forward to diving a bit deeper in the world of The Dark Knight.
Here is a quick round up of the PSVR games I’ve been playing:
- Moss – A charming puzzle platform adventure where you play as a mouse called Quill who is on a quest to save his uncle. Slightly fiddly platforming lets it down, but otherwise this is a lovely little game.
- Blood & Truth – A fantastic shooter which builds on London Heist from PlayStation VR Worlds. My only real criticism are the Move controllers which can be a bit inaccurate. Hopefully, a future version of PSVR will rectify this. Otherwise, Blood & Truth is a superb action game.
- Astro Bot: Rescue Mission – One of the best PSVR games ever! Imagine Nintendo made a VR game, and this will give you some idea of the quality.
- Star Wars: Squadrons – There was a PSVR Star Wars game released a few years ago available if you owned Star Wars Battlefront. It was only about 15 minutes long but sitting virtually in an X-Wing was a thrilling experience. Star Wars: Squadrons is a full-on game which is similar to the X-Wing vs Tie Fighter games I played on PC many years ago. You can play without VR but having access to PSVR means you can experience the game in the best possible way. Sitting in an X-Wing and Tie Fighter is a wonderful experience, and nothing quite beats getting into dogfights in VR.
Anyway, back to Batman: Arkham VR, I remember being impressed with this back in 2016, and like most VR games, it was extremely immersive. You step into the shoes of Batman, but those expecting lots of action will probably be disappointed. This adventure focuses more on Batman’s detective skills rather than his physical attributes. Truth be told Batman: Arkham VR skirts the line between VR tech demo and actual game. The whole thing can be completed in about 45 minutes, but there is some re-playability which I’ll get to shortly.
Using PlayStation Move as your hands is very intuitive and you quickly forget you are waving about two controllers in the air like a crazed orchestra conductor. A quick press of the trigger allows you to grab items and I spent half my time picking things up and looking at them. Part of the fun of VR is interacting with the world around you, and Batman gives you that sense of wanting to touch everything to see what it does.
Very soon you suit up which is one of the games many highlights. Putting on the gloves and cowl as you descend into the Batcave is tremendous fun. It wouldn’t be a Batman game without gadgets, so Batman has a forensic scanner, grapnel gun and Batarang. There is no free movement in Batman: Arkham VR and you get around by either pressing the trigger on the Move controller or aiming the grapnel gun at targets. It works well enough and is a gentle way to introduce someone to VR who has never tried it before. The scanner allows you to deconstruct crime scenes or find hidden objects. The Batarang is used to shoot targets or solve puzzles including opening gates and doors. Everything works very well, albeit the Move controllers can be inaccurate, but that is more to do with the aging tech rather than the game.
Despite the short length there are some excellent moments to be had throughout. Seeing the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents through the eyes of a child is equally amazing as it is terrifying. Exploring the Batcave and solving crime scenes is excellent and the final sequence set in Arkham Asylum is so well done, it wouldn’t have half as much impact if it wasn’t in VR.
Along the way you get to meet some familiar characters including The Joker, Penguin and Killer Croc. As the game is developed by Rocksteady who did the trilogy of Batman games, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Knight, you have the returning voice cast of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy.
As I mentioned the entire game can be completed in about 45 minutes. There are Riddler challenges to do once the game has ended, but that is about it so there is little re-playability. The price reflects the short length, and it can be picked up for £15.99.
- There is no other game which makes you feel this close to being Batman. There are many “wow” moments and this is a perfect way to show off what VR can really do.
- As with many VR games, the sense of scale and depth is utterly amazing. Staring into a mirror and seeing Batman looking back at you is wonderful. Looking around the massive Batcave is equally impressive.
The Bad and the Ugly
- The short length is disappointing.
- Is it a game or a tech demo? There are certainly “gamey” elements such as solving puzzles, but you get the feeling Rocksteady were experimenting with what VR could do, rather than making a full-on game.
There have been some excellent Batman games, but Batman: Arkham VR truly immerses you in the world of The Caped Crusader. Batman: Arkham VR still impresses and I’d love to say I really enjoyed going back to get the remaining trophies I missed in 2016, but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you are deciding to go back and get 100% of the trophies make sure all of your other trophies unlock on the same save file. The final two trophies didn’t ‘pop’ for me despite doing the necessary requirements. I ended up playing through the game another couple of times until I discovered the issue with the save file. And despite already getting some of the trophies in 2016, I had to do them again so the game would recognise they were on the same save file. This was annoying beyond belief, but it is done now. At least I can honestly say I’ve been Batman for a few hours of my life.