Batman: Arkham VR is one of the best-looking and most immersive experiences currently available for PlayStation VR, so how does it feel to visit the Batcave, don the cowl and become the Batman? Well it's pretty fantastic, actually.
Batman: Arkham VR, Rocksteady's first crack at moving its decorated Batman series into virtual reality, has you becoming the Dark Knight, and lets you visit some of the character's most iconic locations, use some favourite weapons, and see some familiar faces.
The game starts you off in a spacious living area of Wayne Manor, stood by a piano, when man-servant Alfred walks over to tell you that "all's not well in Gotham, sir." Before Alfred walks off to do the laundry, he hands you a key, which you use to open the piano you're stood in front of. After which, the red telephone next to you starts ringing and, without skipping a beat, you instinctively pick up the phone and put the phone to your ear to listen to the call. (It's Alfred again, naturally.)
And it's here, moments into the game, that you start to get a real sense of the amount of polish, attention to detail and clever moments that Rocksteady have put into this experience.
Instead of getting on with your caped crusader duties, you can take your time to explore the luxurious surroundings.
Note: Although this game can be played with a DualShock 4, you absolutely want to play this with two Move controllers. The ability to aim each hand independently and using the gun-like triggers of the Move controllers is key to improving the level of immersion.
Then there's the moment.
The moment when, as soon as I was ready to become the night, wreak vengeance and KAPOW my way across the streets of Gotham City, I got sent down on the elevator into the Batcave. And it was then that I became
I'm not a huge Batman fan, but that moment, after getting my suit on and going down on the elevator, the moment I started to see the Batcave come into view, with the huge waterfall thundering down in the background, the moment I watched a colony of bats flying across the dark cavernous underground lair, and banks of controls in the base below, I had so much adrenalin pumping through my veins I could have smashed through a wall.
I actually felt like the Batman. I felt powerful. I felt like I could take anyone on, and I felt like I was actually there.
After playing around in the Batcave, you're next found in the dark and dingy alleyways of Gotham City, and this is where you get to move use Detective Mode in first-person and up close with the action on ground level.
In this scene you finally get to use some of Batman's forensic tools to piece together what happens during a fight, using them to determine when fatal blows were struck. It's another fantastic bit of immersion, particularly as you can watch the brutal fight right in front of you, leaning in to get a better view, and even rewinding to see particular bits again.
From here until the game's expertly-delivered final moments, each location offers interesting and varied gameplay mechanics, but I don't want to give any more away. I didn't know anything about the game other than the bits laid out in this review prior to playing it, which meant I had lots of surprises and clever moments to experience.
I will say that the game kept getting better and better, and left me wanting more once the credits rolled.
It's easy to question whether 90 minutes of gameplay is worth the £16 asking price, but Batman: Arkham VR provided one of the most immersive experiences I've had yet on PSVR, and for any Batman fans out there you'll easily get your money's worth. Just don't expect a full Arkham game to play through.
If the point of this game was to whet our appetite at the thought of what Rocksteady could conjure up with the Batman licence in VR, then this game has done the trick.
A full VR Batman game in this style would lack the superb combat and other elements that have made Rocksteady's Arkham games so good over the years, but another chance to step into Batman's suit again gets me excited. I've proved myself as Batman once, and I'll do it again in a heartbeat.
+ A truly immersive experience
+ Some of the best graphics seen on PSVR
+ A must for any Batman fan
- Only 90 minutes gameplay
- Minimal replayability