One of the most anticipated games exclusive to the PlayStation VR, since first word, has been Arkam VR. Maintaining their reign of video game perfection of the Caped Crusader, Rocksteady Studios put the cowl in your hands in the most literal way possible. Honestly, who has not fantasized about slipping on the suit and fighting the crime riddled Gotham underworld as Batman once or twice. With previous games in the Arkham franchise, it seemed as if the sensation of being the Bat had reached its pinnacle. All of that has changed with Arkham VR on shelves and the digital store front.
MOVING IN THE SHADOWS
One of the biggest concerns going into any VR game, over graphics and story, should be the fidelity of motion tracking. When applicable, story is important, and graphics can be the difference between being immersed and lost, enthralled and motion sick. Still, motion tracking is of utmost importance because nothing is more annoying or kills a virtual reality experience more than constantly needing to stop and recalibrate your headpiece or controllers. Thankfully, Arkham VR requires little to no recalibration after the initial synchronization.
One aspect that is worth noting, that hopefully more VR games will pick up in the future, is that the synchronization requires two, separate and accurate calibrations. Most games only need you to align the headset in a designated box to register initial placement. Arkham VR goes one step further by having you align yourself properly on a mark that you perceive on the floor in order to establish distance from the camera as well. This small addition seems to make a world of difference.
ENTERING THE WORLD OF GOTHAM
The graphics and sounds in the world of Arkham VR are outstanding to say the absolute least. The rest of the Arkham franchise has set a rather high bar for the look and sounds associated with the Batman universe, which was expected to drop when entering virtual reality. Which is a fair assumption, or course. Surprisingly, Arkham VR lives up to the same level as its non-VR predecessors. The environments and other characters are as close to realistic as virtually possible; better than any other virtual reality experience thus far. Whether you are standing face-to-face with Alfred or listening to clamoring of junk in the ally way, Gotham has never felt so alive.
A NEW CHAPTER
But now, let’s get down to the key factors in any Batman game: the story and gameplay. Able to complete in just under an hour and a half, Arkham VR tells a strange and twisted story worthy of only the utmost respect. Without spoiling anything from the story, as you don the cowl of the Caped Crusader, you will find yourself on one of the darkest and most unexpected stories told in the Batman universe.
Gameplay leans away from running around and fist fighting hordes of enemies and instead goes further into being the world’s greatest detective. Chipping down the long list of utility items on the belt to a forensic scanner, grappling gun, and the iconic batarang, you focus more on examining evidence and solving little environmental puzzles than anything. Even with such limited interactions, it is highly recommended that you make use of two PlayStation Move controllers in place of the a DualShock 4 for the sake of immersion.
Nearly everyone has imagined what it would be like to take on the role as Batman at one point of another. And thanks to Rocksteady Studios’ newest addition to the overwhelmingly acclaimed Arkham franchise, you can experience that as close to not breaking any real laws as ever imagined. Maintaining nearly flawless play and graphical fidelity while telling a gripping story from start to finish, Arkham VR is easily the gold standard of PlayStation VR release titles. The experience could have been a little longer, but keeping it just under an hour and a half it is easy to complete in one playthrough. And at a cost of only $19.99 USD, this is easily one of the best investments in virtual reality.