‘Batman: Arkham VR’ Launches on Vive and Rift

Former PSVR exclusive launches on desktop VR headsets

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Batman: Arkham VR (2016) is one of PlayStation VR’s top games, and an exclusive too, until now.  Developer Rocksteady has launched the game for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Update (4/25/17, 2:53PM PT): Batman: Arkham VR has launched on both SteamVR and Oculus Home. The SteamVR version supports both the Vive and Rift, while the Home version (of course) supports the Rift. Initial customer ratings on SteamVR indicates much the same as we found in our review of the PSVR version: very good content but much shorter than we’d have liked, with a number of buyers unhappy with the length:price ratio. On Steam, the game presently holds a 79% positive rating, while on Oculus it holds a 4.25 out of 5.


Update (4/4/17, 10:43PM PT): The Steam page for Batman: Arkham VR reveals that the game will be priced at $20, and includes a few new screenshots (added to the article below). The SteamVR version of the game lists support for both the Vive and the Rift, though it still isn’t clear if the Oculus version of the game will use the native Oculus SDK, nor is it clear if the game will also be released on Oculus Home. Original article continues below.

Original Artilce: Batman: Arkham VR has placed consistently in the top 10 most downloaded PSVR titles since the headset’s October 2016 launch. Built on Unreal Engine 4 and well optimized for PSVR, it’s also one of the system’s best looking games.

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Now Batman: Arkham VR will launch on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on April 25th, with full motion controller support on both systems. It isn’t quite clear at this stage if the game will see a native launch on both SteamVR and Oculus Home, or if the game will launch on SteamVR with support for both headsets, though our guess is on the former. Price hasn’t been announced (see update above), but the game is presently priced at $20 on the PlayStation Store. A trailer (heading this article) reveals the forthcoming headset support, but otherwise appears to show more or less the same game we saw on PSVR.

We praised Batman: Arkham VR on PSVR for its attention to detail and highly interactive environments. The game also managed to be very comfortable thanks to a thematically driven use of Batman’s grappling hook as a well paced teleportation mechanic. And while the length of the game and underwhelming “combat” left us wanting, on the whole it was an impressive starting point for what we hoped would become episodic installations that would let us further explore the dark underbelly of Gotham.

Sadly, after the game’s launch back in October alongside PSVR, we haven’t heard any further plans for the first VR-enabled Batman game from developer Rocksteady Studios or publisher WB Interactive Entertainment. This week’s news that the game is coming to the Rift and Vive is a good sign however, suggesting that positive sales on PSVR have lead stakeholders to believe that a release on the leading desktop VR headsets is worth their while.

We don’t expect the game to play much differently on the Vive and Rift, though it’s likely that the UE4 foundation will scale well on PC, offering a big jump in graphical fidelity. On our wishlist too would be tighter batarang mechanics (making us of more accurate VR controller tracking on Vive and Rift) to make the game more challenging and skill based; the batarang throws in the PSVR version were rather forgiving, likely due to the less accurate Move controllers.

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One question on our mind is how the new release of a 2016 VR game will fare with 2017 expectations. The reception of the game on Rift and Vive could have a major impact on the fate of Arkham VR going forward.

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