We’ve all wanted to be Batman at some point. Unless you actually assault criminals while wearing a cape and cowl, the closest experience so far has been the Arkham games, or maybe last Halloween depending on who you ask. Now though, being Batman has really never felt as real as it does in Virtual Reality.
Batman: Arkham VR will drop your jaw from the very first moment. The game starts with a very vivid recreation of (spoiler) Bruce Wayne’s parent’s murder, and standing in the cold wet alley as the shooter gets uncomfortably close to you really nails the feeling of helplessness you would feel if you just watched your parents get gunned down in an alleyway. From there it skips to Wayne mansion and you get to suit up as Batman, which honestly is the coolest part of the game. Donning the Batsuit, cowl, gauntlets, and most importantly your utility belt, and then getting to look at yourself in the mirror on the elevator to the batcave is like a dream come true, made only better by meeting Alfred there.
Your first mission is to track down Nightwing and Robin, who haven’t reported in. Doing so will require you to track down and encounter famous Batman villains, such as the Penguin, Killer Croc, and of course the Joker. You’ll need to use your detective skills, your gadgets, and keep your cool as you solve the case the way only Batman can. Unfortunately there’s not much in the way of gliding through the city and beating the snot out of bad guys, instead the game is more of a point and click sort of adventure/puzzle game in VR, and I felt this was a missed opportunity, even if zipping and flying through the city might give you motion sickness. Who cares? I’m Batman.
Then, once you finish that mission…. that’s it. There’s one mission broken into 3 acts, which all up took me about an hour to finish. Apart from replaying the acts, all that’s left to do is look around the Batcave and use the Batcomputer to hold some virtual weapons or access some characters bios. I should have known it was too good to be true, and that being Batman would be a fleeting and ultimately disappointing experience, but I never expected it to be THAT short.
While the game is an awesome and immersive experience that really captures what it’s like to be Batman accurately, the lack of content is a big and obvious flaw. This could be justified by the low price of NZ $31.95 , but if you just dropped upwards of 600 dollary doos on your new VR headset, you’re probably going to want something that’s entertaining for longer than an hour, like a volume of Batman comics for the same price.