Friday, July 29, 2016

SDCC 2016: Batman: Arkham VR Hands-On

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Hands-On at Warner Bros Interactive with Batman: Arkham VR
As late-July rapidly approaches, most people associate this time as a last minute hoorah before school returns and the laziness of summer soon turns to the dull drag of "normal" life. As a young adult still dealing with the dilemma of school and maintaining a full-time job, Summer is a season one definitely looks forward to months in advance, much like Halloween or Christmas. Being a non-traditional and somewhat unspoken holiday, Summer also brings with it another cherished celebration for dorky people worldwide - COMIC CON! The stench of mint-condition comics, freshly painted cosplay materials, overpriced hot dogs, and occasional whiff of B.O. fill the air. Everyone is giddy with hopes of spotting celebrities, hearing the latest news on their favorite television or movie series, and waiting in line after line, after line, making friends along the way. Standing in those lines lies one man whose soul purpose is to provide the masses with as much info on the latest video games coming out this year. His name - Spencer Camarda. His mission - play the hottest and highly sought after treasures you’re all dying to hear about. Have no fear - I have exactly what you’re looking for! So, let’s dive in!

(Ladies and gentlemen...that was the best Idle Hands introduction any writer has ever given themselves. Start the slow clap. -PN)

First off, I need to tell you about how amazing all of these games I’ve played thus far are. Everything about them screams ingenuity and sci-fi, kick butt, stupendous genius! I catch myself getting a little too excited at times, especially for some of my favorite childhood comic book characters. One of these characters in particular is Batman. When the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Knight was released last year on June 23rd, fans both new and old praised it for its intense gameplay and dark psychological twists that kept players on the edge of their seats the whole time! As an extension of the Arkham Knight experience, the soon-to-be released Batman: Arkham VR redefines the phrase of ‘be the Batman.’ The addition of virtual reality into games these days (in my opinion) has truly made my affinity for playing video games burn even brighter. However, I wasn’t in love with the idea initially. Considering my only virtual reality experience with video games was through a Nintendo Virtual Boy (a true throwback, I know), I had rather low expectations going into my trial run of the game. Let me just say this: I WAS SO VERY WRONG!

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Hands-On at Warner Bros Interactive with Batman: Arkham VRWith modern technology, virtual reality now makes me jump up and down with joy! After strapping on a silly headset and some headphones, I was handed some Playstation Move controllers and was ready to experience my second-ever VR experience. The demo opened up to Bruce Wayne sitting at a piano in Wayne Manor. It looked so very real and I couldn’t resist attempting to play it. As soon as I stretched out my own hand, Bruce’s hand appeared in sync and I just about lost it. The screech I yelped was definitely inhuman and was loud enough for me to scare the exhibitor standing five feet away from me (sorry!). Just then, Alfred appears behind me in the elegance of what looks like a foyer. He talks about how insomnia has taken over Wayne and that there truly is no time to take a break when you’re fighting crime (duh). He then offers you a key to the piano that you must physically insert into the piano with Bruce’s bruised hands. You can also pick up a red telephone to your left, but I was unable to hear anything because I was already descending into what I thought was the infamous Bat Cave. The Batcomputer than instructs you to put on Batman’s gloves (cool), the suit (cooler), and finally the mask (COOLEST THING EVER). Afterwards, you continue to slowly fall to the next platform which reveals a grappling hook gun. After aiming at a series of targets and strapping the gun to his side, Batman then comes in contact with a forensic scanner. Once he scans an item, Batman gets to practice throwing his batarangs against a serious of targets. The final descent lands us in the Batcave. Waterfalls cascade, bats fly in swirling sequences, and I basically have a heart attack. 

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Hands-On at Warner Bros Interactive with Batman: Arkham VR

Everything was so real truly felt like I was Batman! Warner Brothers and DC truly did a phenomenal job in making the experience of Batman: Arkham VR seem as genuine and engaging as possible. Every single second of gameplay encapsulated me and made me want to run around as if the Batcave was mine. Although that dream is still a bit of a stretch, this game does just the trick in immersing the player in Wayne’s world. For me, this game sold me on virtual reality because it felt so real. Again, I’d never experienced anything like it before, so this was absolutely incredible to me. It was so appealing that I plan on purchasing a VR headset for the release of the game, which happens to be one of the first games available when VR finally hits the shelves. You can expect to become Batman in October 2016 and my, oh my, I can’t wait!

Pre-Order Batman: Arkham VR HERE!

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