Ranking the finest Batman games is a formidable challenge. The realm of the caped crusader boasts a plethora of exceptional titles, with Rocksteady’s creations particularly shining. This studio’s debut, the Arkham series, has had a profound impact on the superhero gaming landscape.
However, which Batman games stand above the rest? With the imminent arrival of Gotham Knights from WB Games Montreal, the minds behind Batman: Arkham Origins, it’s a fitting moment to revisit the top Batman games. Although the upcoming game won’t let players assume the role of Batman, his essence infuses it, and the promise is that Gotham Knights will capture the essence of the best Batman games. Thus, let’s delve into how the most exceptional Bruce Wayne adventures fare against one another.
Here’s a ranking of the best Batman games, ordered from least to most remarkable:
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Developer: Armature Games
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita
A lesser-known spin-off, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate transposed the caped hero’s escapades to handheld screens like Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. It adopted a 2.5D side-scrolling format that continues the narrative after Arkham Origins. The story centers around Batman quelling chaos after an explosion at Blackgate prison, unleashing Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask. While its narrative meanders, the game ambitiously adapted console gameplay to portable devices, including stealth mechanics, grappling, and explosive gel. The innovative camera usage, zooming in during glides or tense moments, is commendable. Combat remains satisfying, yet uneven level design and graphical downgrades mar the experience. Despite later console and PC ports with improved visuals, fundamental design flaws persist.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Developer: WB Games Montreal
Batman: Arkham Origins, an intermediate entry in the series by WB Montreal, opted for a prequel set five years before Arkham Asylum. This installment, while containing standout elements, lacks the same cohesiveness as its predecessors. While Joker’s dynamic portrayal by Troy Baker stands out, the narrative has holes and undercuts its most intriguing plot twists. The open world, while visually impressive, feels hollow, and the once-engaging detective mode became tedious. The introduction of excessive gadgets diluted combat, making it monotonous. The game’s encounter design also disappoints, relying on waves of enemies rather than meticulous planning. The unconventional multiplayer felt tacked on. Though appealing to Arkham aficionados, Origins falls short by failing to reinvent itself like its forerunners.
Batman Arkham VR
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Platforms: PS4, PC
While Batman Arkham VR ranks lower on this list, it’s a notable achievement, given the high bar set by Arkham games. Released in 2016, it marks the last main Arkham entry following Arkham Knight. The VR experience offers a gripping narrative that remains distinct from other games. Players engage in grappling, combat, and hallucinatory experiences, courtesy of the Joker. Despite its limited scope, it boasts challenging content, memorable villains, and enticing challenges. The game stands as a unique exploration of the Batman mythos, allowing players to embody the caped crusader and indulge in his world.
Batman: The Telltale Series (Seasons 1 & 2)
Developer: Telltale Games
Telltale Games, known for narrative-driven experiences, excelled with its Batman adaptation. The first season delivered twists and engaging combat sequences, while the second, The Enemy Within, shines by portraying a unique Joker narrative. Players navigate decisions that mold relationships, moral codes, and the fate of Gotham. John Doe’s transformation into the Joker presents a captivating and fresh perspective. With gripping choices and a narrative that unfolds ingeniously, Batman: The Telltale Series is a must-play for fans seeking a different take on the iconic characters.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Arkham Knight, the series’ final chapter (for now), launched in 2015 as a defining AAA title. Its graphical prowess was striking, and the addition of the Batmobile and new gadgets enhanced gameplay. The narrative, featuring Scarecrow and The Joker, was compelling, and the introduction of new villains enriched the experience. The original character, Arkham Knight, added mystery and intrigue. However, the Batmobile’s execution felt burdensome, and some gameplay elements fell short of expectations. Despite this, the game stands as a substantial conclusion to the Arkham saga.
Batman: Arkham City
Following the groundbreaking Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady’s sequel, Arkham City, elevated the franchise. It expanded the open world, refined combat, and introduced intricate side missions and Easter eggs. The narrative, complemented by memorable villains like Joker, Clayface, and Hugo Strange, captivated players. The game’s evolution from its predecessor, while not as revolutionary, solidified its status as a refined and engaging experience.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum’s surprise arrival in 2009 marked a monumental leap in superhero gaming. Rocksteady’s maiden effort redefined superhero gameplay, creating an encapsulating atmosphere within the confines of Arkham Asylum. The fear-inducing setting, tight narrative, and immersive combat and stealth sequences transformed Batman: Arkham Asylum into a genre-defining classic. Mark Hamill’s Joker performance and the inclusion of Scarecrow’s fourth-wall-breaking sequences stand as some of gaming’s most remarkable moments. The game’s influence reverberates across the industry, making it an enduring masterpiece.
In summary, the ranking of top Batman games showcases the evolution of the caped crusader’s virtual experiences, with Arkham Asylum reigning supreme as a monumental achievement that inspired the entire superhero gaming landscape.