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    u1154142's Batman: Arkham VR (PS4)

    [August 31, 2017 08:16:40 AM]
    I was able to play another hour, again tackling the Riddler puzzles and exploring certain scenes again to re-evaluate their impact. Two scenes, in particular, continue to have a strong impact on me - spoilers ahead.

    The third time Croc attacks, just as Robin is freeing you from the cage, is a scene that haunted me the first time and continued to haunt me the other two times I played through it. Despite it being almost a still image as Croc comes in for the kill, I always found myself with the desire to look away.

    The other scene that continues to torment me is the end. On my second play-through, I tried to catch the wonderfully done scene transition, to no avail. You slide open a cell grate only to reveal The Joker, who is supposed to be dead. He asks you to come closer, luring you to the very edge of the play area, possibly triggering the sensors that demand you step back. I wonder if that, in itself, is part of the message. A brief moment of lucidity reminding you that your senses are being deceived, much like Batman's. When you step closer, the Joker taunts Batman and you start hearing voices around and behind you. When you turn around you find that you're no longer outside the cell, but inside it.

    It's revealed that Batman was the one who trapped or murdered his two side-kicks due to the Joker infection coursing through him, and the secret ending heavily implies that Batman is going insane and on the way to becoming a new Joker, or even that his consciousness is somehow being subsumed. Two parts of this scene were particularly impactful for me. As it becomes clear Batman was the one who murdered his companions, you can look at your hands (and it really does feel like you're looking at your own hands) and see them covered in blood. Then the walls start to close in, leaving you trapped in an ever smaller cell of claustrophobia inducing nightmare.

    Where Batman VR failed, as a game, was in the lack of direct action on your part. You uncover the story well enough, but you never play through the actions, and thus there is a disconnect between what Batman has done and what the player has done. Then again, perhaps that disconnect was intentional. I can envision this game with an early chapter where you actually fight an enemy, and it later turns out that what you'd perceived as an enemy was actually Nightwing. With that barrier between character action and player action removed, would the impact at the end be that much stronger? Would it be right to expose the player to that level of potential trauma? I believe, as I hinted above, that this connection would have made for a stronger emotional impact and would have made for a stronger and more memorable experience; but, I must admit, I am unsure how the average player would respond to such an emotional blow.

    Ultimately, the game had a strong narrative, a surprising amount of replayability due to the Riddler content, and was a wonderful way to spend five hours. I hope the rest of the games on this list lead me to have as many interesting experiences as this one has, and to as many quandaries.
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    [August 31, 2017 07:37:12 AM]

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    [August 29, 2017 02:13:06 AM]
    I finished the game today and, as I expected, there was little else that would add to the topic of surveillance. The twist at the end threw me for a loop, and I must admit that it's impact was made more powerful due to its medium. I was actually looking at my own hands, covered in blood, as I came to the realization that it was I who'd murdered them. Enough about the medium though.

    So, if we seek to continue the topic of surveillance I think we might need to go outside the game for additional information. The Riddler puzzles add a bit of meat to the game, and the second play through has some extra scenes I'm excited to get to, but the original concept was already grasping at straws in a game that doesn't naturally support the argument. I think I might, instead, question the ethicality of the medium itself. Video games already place us in a unique frame of mind to accept responsibility for actions. VR, if done correctly, enhances the sense of presence many times over.

    Should we then place unsuspecting players into these kinds of situations. I felt incredibly claustrophobic as the walls started to close around me at the end. The rest of the experience doesn't have me directly performing the actions, and that toned down the sense of presence, but I can imagine games that do. Even regular game activities like the slaughter of a thousand monsters, is that something that should be done in VR? I think the question of the VR medium is what I'll try to tackle.
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    [August 28, 2017 12:51:29 AM]
    From the outset Batman VR placed me on a quest to find Robin, but at first all I could think off was how charming the VR interface was. I kept interacting with everything, seeing what I could and couldn't pick up, and taking note of how this changed my gaming experience. I loved the scene when you put on the suit and it brings down a mirror, allowing you to view the full suit in action as extrapolated from only the arms. It wasn't until I arrived at the scene of Nightwing's murder that I started moving beyond the unique interface and analyzing the world presented to me. Batman has a device that allows him to reconstruct (with amazing detail) the fight that took place between Nightwing and his unknown assailant. I then began to ask myself: Why, if you have access to this technology, would you keep it to yourself? Would this technology not be better used in the hands of the police, instead of the hands of a lone vigilante? Is there some reason why only the 'Batman' should have access to this technology?

    I haven't come up with answers to these questions yet, but I think this idea of unshared technology, particularly surveillance technology, is the ethical quandary I want to delve into. Should Batman share his technology? Should any man have access to that technology in the first place? We'll see how the game unfolds.
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    u1154142's Batman: Arkham VR (PS4)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 22 August, 2017

    u1154142's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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    1 : Batman: Arkham VR (PS4) by jp (rating: 5)


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