Review: Batman: Arkham VR (Oculus Rift)

WB’s Batman: Arkham Asylum franchise has redefined what it was like to play a Batman video game, beginning with its first Arkham game, published in 2009. Incredible graphics, fluid combat, engaging investigative gameplay, and a dark and captivating story have been the hallmarks of the series.

In 2016, Batman: Arkham VR was released for the Playstation VR platform, and on April 25, 2017, the critically-acclaimed VR title was released on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Despite a couple of shortcomings, Batman VR succeeds in putting the gamer into the boots of the Dark Knight. As Batman, you have access to some key gadgets, including a scanner, the Batclaw, and of course, the Batarang. However, it’s the game’s environments that truly make you feel present in an Arkham game.

Batman VR will take you deep into the heart of the Batcave, through Gotham’s dark alleys, to the rooftops, and into the halls of Arkham Asylum. Each scene is meticulously detailed, with plenty of Easter Eggs for hardcore Batman fans to spot. There are also excellent cameo appearances from characters in the series.

In the Batcave, you get to view beautifully-rendered models of various characters and artifacts, all of which are incredibly detailed. You’ll notice that nearly every aspect of the game is highly polished. There are, unfortunately, a couple of shortcomings however.

There is an odd transition when you go from one level to the next. Instead of a loading screen, or perhaps a cinematic cutscene, the Oculus lenses go completely black, and you get an audio-only cue of the Batmobile or the Batwing’s engine. After a few seconds, you’re suddenly standing in the middle of a room or a street, depending on the level. It’s a jarring experience. The decision to essentially blindfold the player between levels is inexplicable.

Another issue Batman VR has is the lack of any combat. The entire game is devoid of the action that the video game series is known for. As Batman, you do get to use the Batarang, but never in a fight.

All of that being said, Batman VR succeeds tremendously in what it does offer. Aside from the aforementioned issues, you truly feel immersed in the world. And although the game is short (there are Riddler challenges to discover after completing the game’s main campaign), it manages to tell a complete story – one that you will want to experience multiple times.

Priced at just $19.99, Batman: Arkham VR is highly recommended. For more information on this title, click onto the official website: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1480133245392512/