Review: Batman: Arkham VR (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • PlayStation Move Optional (2)
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Title: Batman: Arkham VR
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (8.75 GB)
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Rocksteady
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Batman Arkham VR suggests you play standing up with two PlayStation Move controllers. However, you can also sit and use a DualShock 4 if that’s your preference.

Gameplay:
A soon as you launch the game you’re asked to calibrate yourself. If you sit, I recommend a chair that you can either swivel or be able to move left to right freely. During the calibration process the game wants you to center the visor on the screen. This is very important since most of the gameplay is built around the visor position.

My first playthrough was in the sitting position. Once the calibration is complete you’re dropped directly into Wayne Manor. You’re sitting at a piano in the center of the room and you’re greeted by your butler, Alfred.

While sitting in front of the piano you’re able to look anywhere you want in the room which will make you aware of the first control mechanic in the game. You move around the environment by looking around and seeing an icon pop up. You then press the Move button to teleport to that spot.

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Once at the desired spot you can press any of the face buttons on the controller and you’ll do a one hundred eighty degree turn. There will multiple things that can be picked up and looked over. Some of these items will be used elsewhere in the game while others are just cool to look at. With all the detail, just picking something up with your hands you’ll feel like you’re really holding it.

Once you figure out how to reach the Batcave, you’ll suit up. The game does a great job of making you feel like you’re Batman. You grab your gloves, chest plate, and helmet. Then get to see yourself looking like a badass is the mirror while your suit is calibrated.

… using your grappling hook …
Next, you’ll start to get your gadgets. Grab your scanner and complete a brief tutorial. Then get your grappling hook and Batarang. These are kept on your belt and they’re accessed by using the Move controller to pick them off your left, right, and middle parts of the belt.

The only issue I ran into while playing in the sitting position was when I physically moved slightly left or right without recalibrating things. The belt always stays in original spot, so I’d look down and all my gadgets would be kind of floating there.

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You can move around to a few locations in the Batcave by using your grappling hook. At each of the stations there are cartridges that you can pick up and put in slots to get more information about characters.

You’re then sent out on a mission to find someone and the mechanics here are similar to the other Arkham games, but with a great VR feel to them. There are puzzles to solve and you’ll need to use all your tools, including your mind, to figure out what happened.

… all the detail on the Batsuit …
While in the Batcave there are a few minigames that you can play using your Batarang for some score chasing, although it will only be against yourself as there are no leaderboards. Upon completion of my first playthrough the Riddler shows up with his hidden content that needs to be found in the game. Some of this is very easy to find but much of it is hidden very well.

Visuals:
The details in this game are awesome. Pulling up the Batmobile while in the batcave and being able to spin it around and see the treads on the tires and the detail of the frame looks so freaking cool. Seeing all the detail on the Batsuit as well as all the other characters that can be brought up in the computer or while looking at them in the game is amazing.

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Audio:
There is little to no music going on while exploring a space. The voice work is great and all previous voice actors from Rocksteady’s other Arkham games are in this as well.

Hearing the Batmobile rev its engine during loading screens makes it sound like you’re in the car. While moving around Arkham there are plenty of sounds to draw your attention, thinking something or someone is coming.

… a ton of replayability …
Dripping water keeps the game from being too silent but still gives that creepy feeling that you are getting close to something.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Being in the same universe as the main games and being done by the same development team, Batman Arkham VR made me feel kind of like I was going home again. Being in VR just made it even cooler.

Using the scanner to solve puzzles with my own hands was cool. I got so immersed in the world that I was trying to rest my hand on a locker shelf in the game at one point. While the first playthrough lasted about two hours, there is a ton of replayability and collectibles to get.

It’s also really nice that the game lets you play with either the Move or the DualShock. I suggest playing your first time using the Move but after that there are many benefits to using the DualShock to help collect things.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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