Friday, 4 November 2016

Batman: Arkham VR: PS4 Review

Batman: Arkham VR: PS4 Review

Developed by Rocksteady Games
Platform: PS4 VR

Hands down perhaps the closest thing PlayStation's released for the VR that is more than just an experience, Batman Arkham VR is a credit to Rocksteady's dealing with the franchise.

Completely immersive and utterly thrilling, the game puts you in the cowl and boots of the Bat (literally in the case of the cowl) and gets you into the world of Gotham like never before.

Following Bats through one Dark (K)night of the soul, it's a clever spin to get you around Gotham and meeting up with some of the Bat's most famous faces. It all begins with a flashback (which we've all seen time and time again) and a chain of events that put other things in motion.

But the thrill of Batman Arkham VR is the level of immersion that Rocksteady and the VR headset brings to you. From initially putting it on and getting calibrated, the game plunges you into the world of WayneTech and the excitement of transitioning from Bruce Wayne to Batman.

From grabbing a Batarang and hurling it around the Bat-cave with the use of Move controllers (which never gets tiring) to using the Batclaw and a scanning device at the side of your belt, this is a game that literally lets you become the bat.

Using the trigger motions of the Move Controllers, you can move from point to point in scenes and get into the story that way. With a floating hand (the only visual downside to this game) you can fire up the Batcomputer and dig into the story - it's totally immersive in a deeply satisfying way.

Interestingly, the only portion of the Bat world not fully explored is the vehicular side of Batman - there's no hurtling around in the Batmobile early on; everything is done via a cut-scene fade and may be a reaction to nausea hitting parts of the motion games of VR. It's a minor niggle that sort of takes you out of the full experience created by Rocksteady, but it is one that stands out.

Attention to detail is prevalent here - from the detail within the Bat-cave to the grime and grit of Gotham's seedy streets, just looking around gives a real tingle down your neck. The depth of the world is incredible and while it's perhaps a little off-putting that you simply can't fly off into the night, the scenery is well-worth taking in and shows that immersiveness is a real boon to this hybrid of experience and game.

It's perhaps prescient that so much of the VR takes in so much of the tech and deploys it so well, as this is what the headset does completely. In reality, you don a mask to don the virtual mask of the Bat - the synergy is impressive and the final result is nothing short of sensational.

Ultimately, Batman: Arkham VR is a great experience and demonstrator of what the VR simulations can do - it'll add weight greatly to the reveal of the tech and lend credence to the start of the pathway to a totally original and 360 degree gaming experience.

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