Batman: Arkham VR Review Roundup

Swinging around the asylum

Here is a roundup of a sample of reviews from the critics for Batman: Arkham VR.

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Gameblog 8/10 (French)

Du point de vue de la réalisation, Batman : Arkham VR est très propre. S’il est évidemment possible de regretter que la résolution du PS VR ne soit pas plus élevée, ce qui apparaît à l’écran est dans la droite lignée des précédents jeux de la série. Les environnements sont fidèles à ces derniers et les personnages que le joueur croise au cours de l’aventure bénéficient d’une modélisation très soignée. Ici, le joueur a la réelle impression d’être en présence d’Alfred, de Robin, du Pingouin, etc. De plus, Rocksteady a eu la bonne idée de permettre à Batman de se voir dans un miroir à plusieurs reprises. Et cela joue énormément sur l’immersion. Pour ce qui est de la prise en main, Batman reproduit fidèlement ce que fait le joueur. S’il est tout de même possible de noter de très rares soucis de réactivité des mains lorsque Batman essaie d’attraper des objets, ces soucis sont vraiment trop peu nombreux pour nuire à l’expérience.

Game Informer 7.5

When you put on the VR headset, you can’t help but think you are dawning the pointy ears and mask. Rocksteady hammers this sensation home numerous times – most notably with mirrors that show your transformation into the Caped Crusader. Having Batman stare back at you and mimic your subtlest movements in a mirror is surreal, and it looks great. If you lean into the mirror, he leans in with you, and gets uncomfortably close.

Although Batman can’t move about an environment freely, two Move controllers double as his left and right hands. As beautifully rendered as Gotham is, immersion is slightly lost when you look at his hands, which are not connected to any limbs, making him a more likely relative to Rayman than Thomas and Martha Wayne. When you look down, you also won’t view Batman’s body, and instead see a floating utility belt outfitted with batarangs, a scanner, and a grapple gun.

Regardless of the ghostly design, Rocksteady does a decent job with the gameplay, which stems from basic hand movements. Simple gestures are your main form of interaction, like reaching out to press a button or open a drawer. You can also toss a batarang at a stationary target (with the heaviest of auto-targeting applied), or aim the grapple gun at a highlighted spot to reach a new area.

TheSixthAxis 8/10

As good as Batman is at what he does, there are certain regrets and failures that he has to live with, after decades of stories told in the comics. Those around him have died because of who he is, who they are, and their relationship to him. Of course, his defining moment comes from his parents’ death in a dark alley, and Arkham VR takes the opportunity to revisit that moment. Honestly, I’m sure many people would rather it be left alone, but for a couple of minutes, Rocksteady use VR to paint a very traditional take on their deaths in a new light.

But the more pressing matter for Batman is the murder he must solve in the here and now. Descending into the Batcave, there’s a nice sequence of suiting up, putting on the cowl, the armour, gloves and testing out your three main gadgets. Alongside simply reaching out and picking things up, you also have a grappling hook, scanner and an infinite supply of throwable, homing batarangs. These are all easily grabbed from the utility belt that floats around where the game reckons your waist is, making switching from one to the other simple, fluid and intuitive.

Of course, I’m talking about the game and how it’s best experienced – stood up and with a pair of PlayStation Move controllers in hand – but it’s just as easy to play while sat down and with a DualShock 4. Instead of dropping your hand to your belt to grab the grappling hook, you simply press circle, and then aim where you want to fire by turning your head and looking. In some instances, it makes things easier, such as when having to hit a particular target with a Batarang, but is it as immersive? Almost certainly not.

PSU 8/10

The immersion of this moment sets the stage for the short-but-sweet adventure to come. Batman: Arkham VR puts in you in the shoes, suit, and cowl of Gotham’s protector for a light-adventure trip around the city. Soon after this flashback to Bruce’s past, you awake to the present, post-Arkham City. Butler Alfred informs you that Robin and Nightwing have gone missing. The search for Batman’s allies begins in the Batcave before unraveling into a mystery that sees you visiting a Gotham City alley, the sewers, a city morgue, and other more recognizable locales on your quest for answers.

The gameplay beats along the way are simple. You’re simply asked to do things Batman would do, whether that means using Detective Mode to piece together evidence from a crime scene, light puzzle-solving to escape from a supervillain’s trap, or targeting enemies for the airborne Batwing to strike with rubber bullets.

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