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NEWS

Batman: Arkham VR(2)

10/11/16

After this brief story moment, the game shifts to Wayne Manor, where trusty butler Alfred alerts Bruce that something terrible has happened. Batman is needed, and Bruce must get to the Batcave as quickly as possible. As luck would have it, the piano he is standing beside holds a secret entrance to his crime-fighting lair. To access it, Bruce simply needs to enter a melody on the piano keys to make an elevator appear. At this point, the player simply needs to reach out and touch the piano (although I banged on it like Animal from The Muppets). The elevator appears below you, and descends into the cave, a great moment that shows how VR can bring a fictional world to life. Bruce quickly learns that Robin and Nightwing have gone missing. Robin's tracking beacon is no longer working. As I was learning of this distressing development in the Bat family, my focus was elsewhere; instead on the wonders of the Batcave (T-Rex and all). As fun as it is to look around, I wish there was more to do here. It’s more of a museum tour than a place of importance for the game.

After locating Nightwing’s tracking beacon, we are whisked away to a crime scene (something that you definitely won’t see coming), and Batman needs to search for clues. This short sequence begins with Batman recreating the crime through holograms (much like the technology from Batman: Arkham Knight). All the player has to do is rewind and fast-forward the murder sequence to spot specific things that will reveal a clue leading to the killer. The challenge comes from looking around 360 degrees to see if you are missing anything. When you spot something, simply pause the footage and it will be added to the evidence log. That's all you do here.

Regardless of the light gameplay integration, this sequence shows us just how fun it is to get up close and personal with Batman’s friends and villains. You get closer to most of them than you probably ever would want to. These intimate encounters also provide a great look at the artistry and detailing Rocksteady includes into its character models.

The game is gorgeous, and seeing Batman’s world from his viewpoint is cool (I can't stress this enough). The game can be completed in one session, and offers little in terms of challenge, which is a bummer because you can see how these gameplay trappings could be used for enemy encounters or more elaborate sequences. The puzzles are fairly simple, but are interesting in design, taking players to the morgue, a rooftop, the sewers, and even a location that Rocksteady can’t seem to get enough of. Rocksteady does a nice job of changing up the gameplay designs in each of these areas, but again, you only have a few tasks to complete in each of them. There isn’t much meat on this gameplay bone. If you eat up this experience, you can jump right back in to New Game Plus to search for hidden Riddler trophies.

Yes, Batman: Arkham VR smacks of a proof-of-concept demo for VR, but even so, it’s a nice treat for Batman fans, and one of those experiences that you’ll want more of.

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