Batman Arkham VR - Test of the VR game from the famous DC Comic on PSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

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Michael Naimark
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Summary

  • Batman Arkham VR: a storyline faithful to the comic
  • Batman Arkham VR: High Quality Graphics
  • Batman Arkham VR: a little soft and too assisted gameplay
  • Batman Arkham VR: a masterful soundtrack that strongly contributes to the immersion
  • Batman Arkham VR: too light a lifespan
  • Batman Arkham VR: visual comfort mastered by Rocksteady
  • Batman Arkham VR: test result

The Dark Knight has been in the spotlight for a few years now. The universe of Gotham has always undergone a treatment of choice, under the eye of great directors like Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan to name a few. The video game was also able to renew the license. We are obviously talking about the excellent Batman Arkham series that we owe to the British studio Rocksteady. The studio has been able to modernize the universe set up by DC in order to make it current. Innovative game mechanics (we know that the combat system has inspired many other video games), a dark and immersive art direction as well as a modern and chaotic Gotham have seduced the most demanding fans. After Batman Arkham Knight, Rocksteady wanted to please its audience by offering Batman Arkham VR, a virtual reality experience that allows you to play the dark knight for a period of time (which many will find too short).



Lifespan: 1h30
Players: 1
Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: Rocksteady
Genre: Point'n Click
Platforms: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Batman Arkham VR: a storyline faithful to the comic

Batman Arkham VR is divided into two distinct experiences that come together scriptwriting. It will be aboutinvestigate the disappearances of Robin and Nightwing, two of his acolytes that those who have played the previous opus proposed by Rocksteady know well. Both experiences are directly accessible from the main menu where we see a dark and surprisingly alive Gotham city taking shape.



You start your succinct adventure in the Wayne Manor. Batman Arkham VR puts you in the shoes of Bruce Wayne first and foremost. You will first have the right to a short visit from a most realistic Alfred. You can manipulate certain elements of the decor, such as a family photo or a telephone, before using the piano in front of you. By playing a few notes, the platform you are on will take you to the depths of the famous Batcave. You will then be invited to put on your Batman costume and take control of your equipment: the Batgriffe, the scanning tool and the famous Batarangs. You will be able to admire yourself proudly in a mirror with a very pleasant reactivity, which will be easy for you to see by moving your head and hands.

The second Batman Arkham VR experience takes you straight into the evil streets of Gotham, right in the middle of a crime scene. The victim is none other than your Nightwing ally. His body lies lifeless in a dead end. You will therefore need to analyze the scene with your scanning tool, in order to determine the conditions of its death. You will quickly understand that the death of your sidekick is far from being due to natural causes and that he was killed by a mysterious fighter whose silhouette and fighting skills you will only see. It will be up to you to dissect the confrontation between the two protagonists in order to locate the different injuries that the young Nightwing received. : Fracture of the jaw, ribs, arm and finally cervical. Finally, you will understand that a witness witnessed the scene: a henchman of the Penguin. After identifying his fingerprints left on the wall, you return to the main menu.



Batman Arkham VR: High Quality Graphics

It is clear that Rocksteady hits hard with this first iteration of Batman's adventures in virtual reality. With Batman Arkham VR, the British studio proves once again that it knows perfectly well the universe of the iconic DC superhero. The artistic direction is controlled from start to finish. Whether it's Wayne Mansion, the Batcave or the streets of Gotham, the immersion is total. The flickering that VR games are generally criticized for is virtually non-existent, and this at any viewing distance. You'll almost feel the rain from the streets of Gotham licking your cheeks in this Batman Arkham VR.

The few environments offered in Batman Arkham VR are varied and all have a particular atmosphere, so much so that we really have the impression of being immersed in the heart of previous Rocksteady opus. When it comes to your character, you will only be able to see your hands and belt. It's a shame, because many of us would have appreciated being able to admire our virtual musculature, if not having one in real life. However, this point does not detract from the immersion, and the fight between Nightwing and his obscure assassin alone is enough to compensate for this frustration. Carefully choreographed, the violence of the blows of our fighters will make you shudder in your PlayStation VR.

On HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the experience is even more visually impressive, and the 360-degree tracking increases the feeling of immersion. However, the experience was originally designed for 180 degree tracking, and this increased range of motion doesn't add much to the experience. The player is never invited to take advantage of the additional space.


Batman Arkham VR: a little soft and too assisted gameplay

The game Batman Arkham VR will leave those who expected an adaptation of the previous opus to be hungry. Indeed, the experience is more like a Point'n Click than the original action game. There will therefore be no question of infiltration or fighting against hordes of enemies. However, we forgive this Batman Arkham VR, because the technology of virtual reality does not currently allow to offer gameplay and action speed as rich as in a Batman Arkham City for example.


The first experience of Batman Arkham VR is contemplative. You descend into the Batcave, familiarizing yourself with the Black Knight's equipment. Equipped with the PS Move, you will have to dress in the costume then the helmet of the dark knight. You will then have to grab the Bat-claw and try it quickly before storing it in its slot to the left of your belt. Be aware that a quick scan will take place when you launch the game to determine your size and the location of your tool belt. You will then familiarize yourself with the scanner before placing it in its slot, this time located to the left of your belt. Finally, you can launch Batarangs at targets with circular movements. No need to aim here, your projectiles will automatically hit the target.

Even if getting into Batman's skin is fun, we regret that this part of the game is fully assisted. A mini-game dedicated to Batarang throwing does exist, but once again, its assisted side completely detracts from this good idea. So you are completely guided in Batman Arkham VR. There is no interactivity with the elements that RockSteady did not anticipate. The sets are not destructible and it is impossible to move away from the script that the publisher has planned. How frustrating to see that our Batarangs leave most enemies unmoved.

In the second part of Batman Arkham VR, you will have more freedom. On this crime scene, you will be able to move between several points, by a teleportation system between several hooking points that virtual reality insiders know well. After having quickly examined the lifeless body of Nightwing, you will be able by directing your PS Move forward or backward in the scene, in order to identify the various wounds which were right of our sidekick. At the time of the shock, you can use your scanner to validate the injury. Rather simple, the maneuver benefits from rather vague explanations, to the point that it will probably give you some time to adapt before you can progress. Finally, after putting a name on the witness, you can hang on to the hovering Batwing waiting for you to end this second act of Batman Arkham VR.

On HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, Vive Wands and especially Oculus Touch controllers make interactions more natural than the PS Move of the PSVR. However, given the low number of interactions offered, the experience is all the more frustrating. Hopefully another Batman VR game sees the light of day in the coming months, offering more intoxicating gameplay.

Batman Arkham VR: a masterful soundtrack that strongly contributes to the immersion

Batman Arkham VR's sound environment has nothing to envy to previous Batman games produced by Rocksteady. More based on environmental sounds than on music, the immersion undoubtedly benefits from the sound direction of the software. Even the falling rain seems to be really present, thanks to the work done by the studio. The dubbing, also of great quality, gives life to the different protagonists that you will meet. Perfectly spatialized sound will allow you to enter even more into the skin of the batman.

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Batman Arkham VR: too light a lifespan

The copy of Batman Arkham VR we got our hands on is a demo of the end game. Players who made it to the PlayStation VR Experience were treated to the same version of the game. The final game was supposed to be a bit richer, but still extremely short. For the final version, Rocksteady promised 1h30 of play, but the adventure ends in less than an hour. In particular, you meet there an emblematic enemy of Batou, the Penguin.

The replayability is also practically non-existent, the analysis of the crime scene being linear and the game mechanics, like the launch of Batarang, being little or not exploited. Mini-games like the Batarang test or Riddler's puzzles still increase the lifespan. In addition, the Batman fans will appreciate being able to contemplate the different vehicles and characters of the comic through realistic animations to unlock in the Batcave.

Batman Arkham VR: visual comfort mastered by Rocksteady

Even if Rocksteady takes his first steps in virtual reality with this Batman Arkham VR, the technology is pretty well mastered. We expected motion sickness or random picture quality, but it isn't. The British studio has succeeded in taming VR and its constraints to offer an immersive Gotham, which does not give the nausea, which does not hurt the eyes with sparkles or other visual imperfections.

Batman Arkham VR: test result

Rocksteady wanted to fulfill the dream of many fans in this Batman Arkham VR, to become the dark knight. If the universe is, unsurprisingly, mastered by the development studio, some frustrations are felt when we put our PlayStation VR down. The game being contemplative, we would have preferred to be able to see our body in costume outside the mirrors and that the game mechanics are better exploited, notably the Bat-claw and the Batarang. This game is definitely one of the best games of the Playstation VR launch, but clearly no match for Resident Evil 7 or Farpoint. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive version, available since April 25, 2017, fails to raise the bar, despite better quality graphics and more ergonomic controllers. Batman fans may have to wait a few years before they can truly immerse themselves in the skin of the Dark Knight.

Good points

  • Being Batman
  • A perfectly transcribed universe
  • Neat graphics
  • The sound environment

Negative points

  • The slowness of the game
  • Under-exploited mechanisms
  • We don't see Batman's body
  • Low replayability
  • A short experience

7.4

Scenario: The plot is interesting and more than serves the gameplay of the game.


Playability: The PS Move are well used, but not the game mechanics. Moreover, some explanations are unclear.


Graphics: Perfect artistic direction and a graphically successful first VR test.



Graphics: Perfect artistic direction and a graphically successful first VR test.



Graphics: Perfect artistic direction and a graphically successful first VR test.


Lifetime : A very low lifespan that will leave you hungry with a taste of unfinished business.


Soundtrack : The sound universe perfectly accompanies the atmosphere and the universe set up by Rocksteady.


Visual comfort: Little flicker, no motion sickness. The game will not make your head spin but will dazzle you with its visual quality.


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