VR Media Innovation
Here at VR Beginners Guide we are firm believers in the future of VR. We are well aware of the problems regarding content length and pricing but we also understand what developers are up against. With the difficulties of working in a new medium combined with total customer base of less than a million users, 2 million if you count PSVR, all but the bestselling VR games would be lucky to break even after production costs. This can make rating VR games rather tricky at times, do we try to focus on innovation and build quality or do we slam every $20 experience that lasts less than an hour?
Amazing Effects in Batman Arkham VR
If I was to rate Batman Arkham VR on its design and execution alone it would be a solid 10 out of 10. There is so much I love about it. First of all, it is hands down the best looking VR game I have played to date. The lighting, textures, effects and animations are all absolutely stellar. Rocksteady’s version of Gotham City is perfectly realized in all its gritty neon glory. The way Batsies grappling hook fires with the twisting cord trailing behind is perfect. Even the way the leather of his gloves (full Oculus Touch finger movement supported BTW) stretch as you gesture and grab things is just right.
Reaction and Motion Control
The motion control implementation is also great, like better than job simulator great. All motion control is not made equal, in some games it’s flat out glitchy in others it’s just ok. There is a lot more than just 1:1 tracking to consider, because you aren’t actually touching things the visual feedback is very important. The way your in-game hands react when grabbing or even getting close to objects can drastically improve immersion and this is what Batman Arkham VR does. Just the way Bruce Wayne spins a globe is so nice it made me giggle. It makes every little operation from pushing a button, to using the gesture controlled ‘Bat-tective-o-matic’ (the game calls it a crime scene analyser but screw that) really draw you into the world. You are the Batman.
But, and it’s a big but, you could probably speed run the entire game in 10 minutes. It’s not designed to be played this way obviously, there are many hidden clues and Easter eggs to uncover. Most of the puzzles are so simple they can barely be called puzzles but some will hold you up for a while until you get that “ah-ha” moment. I tried to play through at a natural pace and was finished in just over an hour. At this point the game suggests going back through to find all the clues and doing so will probably provide another hour or two of play time. Finding clues unlocks 3D character models and vehicles for you to ogle at in the Bat-arage or at the Bat-puter (totally sure I got those names right). These are so well rendered it makes me wonder if Rocksteady is building up assets for a bigger game.
But really it does feel like a Demo. One hell of a demo, but a demo none-the-less. I really hope Rocksteady have bigger plans here. If this game, with is glorious graphics and brilliant detective toys, were to be beefed out with combat and more difficult puzzles, traditional gaming’s days would be numbered. Scanning bodies for bomb fragments with a hand-held x-ray and running computer generated AR re-enactments at the scene of a crime are brilliant ideas crying out for more serious game. Even standing in front of a cowering criminal with Batman’s voice coming out of your head will fulfill all your childhood fantasies. $20 may be a bit steep for an hour of content but if enough copies are sold, perhaps we will get VR game to end all VR games.
So after some 600 words I still can’t decide how to score this game. When you are playing it, it feels like a VR masterpiece, exquisite and perfectly polished. But then it’s all over and you are sad. The ending is great, but then you realise you never got to punch anyone. The vehicles look super awesome, and then when you select one, you get a black screen and a bit of noise; not even a view from the cockpit. There are as many things to pick up and play with as Job simulator and hand controls as good as Robo Recall. But after it’s over, you can really feel that $20 hole in your pocket.
Final Score: 7/10 So short it feels like a rip off, but so polished it can’t score any lower.
- Innovative detective gameplay
- Polished to perfection
- I’m Batman
- Way too short
- Puzzles too easy
- No punching or driving