Batman has been in video games dating back all the way to 1986, and, with the upcoming release of Gotham Knights in 2022, the Caped Crusader’s gaming legacy is set to continue. However, with the hero reportedly taking a back seat in favor of other fan-favorite characters, the title could make a strange new step in the Batman video game chronology.
Yet, Batman has starred in a number of solid video games already. From the early days of side-scrolling platformers to the modern era of city-spanning beat-em-ups, these are the best Batman video games according to Metacritic.
Updated on March 18th, 2022 by Tanner Fox: March saw the Caped Crusader return to the silver screen in the critically-acclaimed The Batman, and it has bolstered interest in both the character and adjoining DC properties. Yet, with Gotham Knights slated to release in October, there aren’t many particularly-recent video game titles for Batman fans to turn to.
Yet, from the NES and Commodore 64 to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Batman has starred in some surprisingly worthwhile video games. He is perhaps most closely associated with the terrific Arkham series, but those are only three of his most notable digital roles.
15 Batman: Arkham Underworld (Metascore: 64)
Batman: Arkham Underworld was a simplistic and short-lived mobile game that told the tale of how Batman’s rogue’s gallery rose to power in Gotham before the events of Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, it was a fairly unimaginative rehash of other mobile games that were popular at the time, and a heavy emphasis on microtransactions sunk what might otherwise have been an at least mildly entertaining experience.
While Arkham Underworld was nothing worth remembering, the game’s status as one of Batman’s very worst video game outings should speak to the overall quality of the titles in which he stars.
14 Batman Begins (Metascore: 66)
Based on the Christopher Nolan movie of the same name, Batman Begins was a 2005 action platformer that divided critics and audiences alike; while many agree that it’s a step above the typical licensed movie game shlock, it evidently failed to live up to the hype generated by the movie on which it was based.
The game follows the narrative of the film pretty strictly and showcases some very impressive late sixth-generation graphics. Unfortunately, much of the gameplay comes off as relatively uninspired, though the game may have, in some way, influenced the Arkham games, the first of which would debut four years later.
13 Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (Metascore: 67)
A sequel to 2001’s Batman Vengeance, Rise of Sin Tzu is a 3D brawler loosely based on the Batman: The Animated Series show. While competent enough mechanically, Rise of Sin Tzu failed to make a splash, and the titular antagonist, who was actually created solely for the game, never became a recurring feature in the Batman lore.
While some Batman TAS fans may get a kick out of Rise of Sin Tzu, the major letdown is the restrictive time limit which forces players through stages at a breakneck pace.
12 Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (Metascore: 68)
While the Batman Arkham games were massively successful both critically and commercially, the series’ lone mobile conversion, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, didn’t fare all that well. While the developers should be commemorated for so closely adapting the gameplay and overall feel of Arkham Origins on much less powerful hardware, these PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS conversions simply don’t compare to the home console counterparts.
That said, Arkham Origins Blackgate is entertaining enough and never feels particularly cumbersome or aggravating. Yet, nearly a decade after its release, there’s really no reason to return to it.
11 Batman Vengeance (Metascore: 70)
Released in 2001 for sixth-generation consoles, Batman Vengeance is a mixed bag. The title boasts stunning visuals, and many castmembers from Batman: The Animated Series reprise their roles, but some floaty platforming elements and unresponsive controls make for a rough ride.
It’s not necessarily all bad; in some ways, it’s a bit like a lost episode of one of the most critically-acclaimed superhero series of all time. Yet, its hangups prevent it from being an all-time great, and Batman Vengeance is perhaps best reserved for hardcore fans of the caped crusader.
10 LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Metascore: 73)
The third entry into the LEGO Batman series saw the caped crusader go “Beyond Gotham” into space to help save different Lantern Worlds and collect several Lantern Rings to stop Brainiac. The game boasts a vast amount of characters—217 to be exact—as most LEGO games do. However, the game did receive mixed responses from reviewers on Metacritic.
LEGO Batman 3 is critically the lowest in the caped crusader’s LEGO bout, but many of the positives state that it is an enjoyable experience for younger audiences with simple controls and excellent co-op components. Yet, with a weak, simplistic story, it’s simply not a game well suited to gaming’s hardcore.
9 Batman: Arkham VR (Metascore: 74)
In 2022, VR is still a fledgling technology that has yet to captivate the mainstream, and VR gaming was arguably even more obscure back in 2016 when Batman: Arkham VR landed on the PlayStation 4. Though it earned praise for its immersive qualities, this short VR offering felt more like a glorified tech demo than an actual game.
Worse still, the game didn’t feature any combat, with it focusing entirely on Batman’s sleuthing skills instead. It wasn’t all bad, earning a relatively respectable 74 on Metacritic, but it wasn’t quite the action-packed Batman VR thrill ride for which fans were hoping.
8 Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Metascore: 74)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold saw releases both on Wii and Nintendo DS and was more of a beat-em-up rather than an adventure game. It was based on the animated show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with the first episode premiering in November of 2008. Games in the genre are usually hit or miss, and this one does share some cons including repetitive gameplay and easy difficulty.
On the positive side, critics did say the game had a great sense of humor and solid controls, level design, and graphics, paying tribute to the early 16-bit days. However, critics also state that the game was too short and offered very little replay value, though it did make for a brilliant co-op experience.
7 Batman: Arkham Origins (Metascore: 76)
Arkham Origins is the prequel to the Arkham Asylum games and sets itself up as the beginning of the Arkhamverse. However, instead of established series developer Rocksteady helming the game, Warner Brothers Games Montreal took control. Upon release, it was brought down by bugs, glitches, and crashes. On top of this, critics also felt that the game did not expand much off of Arkham City and Asylum and was very uninspired in its gameplay.
There were positives to the game, though, such as the gameplay in boss battles, the overall story, and the gameplay mechanics in combat. Despite the technical issues, critics did state that the game is entertaining, and, although the weakest game in the Batman Arkham series, is not a terrible game by any means.
6 Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series (Metascore: 79)
The second season in Telltale’s Batman series focused on the villain of the Riddler, but it also brought about the origins of Batman’s most famous foe, The Joker. Most of the praise from critics came thanks to the imaginative story and the genuine impact player choice had on the game’s outcome. Despite this, the game did have issues, mainly with difficulty in puzzles and the lack of detective gameplay.
One thing critics praised, in particular, was the origins of The Joker and how decision-making plays a part in the overall story. Batman fans should still enjoy this second season, especially fans of the Joker.
5 LEGO Batman: The Videogame (Metascore: 80)
In the 2000s, the LEGO series of video games was riding high, and this trend continued with LEGO Batman: The Video Game in 2008. Where it succeeded was in its gameplay, the variety of different levels, and co-op. However, the criticisms it faced stemmed from the wonky puzzles, how similar it was to other LEGO titles, poor storytelling, and a lack of online co-op.
Although, the game was geared towards kids just getting into gaming, most critics agreed that LEGO Batman: The Video Game is great for young audiences.
4 LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Metascore: 81)
LEGO Batman 2 expanded upon not only the series’ Batman-centric characters, but it added more of the DC Universe, morphing into somewhat of a Justice League LEGO game. While it wasn’t a perfectly polished experience, there’s no denying the appeal of a team-up between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader.
Critics also praised how well this game progresses from the first LEGO Batman. This game was a huge leap forward for the developer and an evolutionary step for the LEGO series as a whole.
3 Batman: Arkham Knight (Metascore: 87)
The latest addition to the Arkham series did not quite receive the same critical acclaim as Asylum and Arkham City did. The game introduces a new villain into the mix, which is appropriately named the Arkham Knight and makes fan-favorite Scarecrow the new big villain to fight the caped crusader. It also introduces a new mechanic in the form of the Batmobile which was absent from all previous entries in the series.
However, most of the complaints concerning Arkham Knight are because of this addition of the Batmobile. Some of the lower scores for the game consistently reference the Batmobile as being a flaw for the game, as it is often forced upon the player and takes away from the story and overall high-octane feel that the first two games so effortlessly achieved. One of the many things critics did praise Arkham Knight for was its atmosphere and the map.
2 Batman: Arkham Asylum (Metascore: 91)
Arkham Asylum received quite a bit of praise when it was released. The title wasn’t tied to the popular Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movies, instead telling a unique story that was better suited for the medium. It also introduced some incredibly well-developed beat-em-up gameplay which made incapacitating hordes of foes an unmitigated joy. Combined with some excellent stealth action segments, Arkham Asylum was a definite standout.
However, where Arkham Asylum fell short, according to critics, was the repetitiveness of the gameplay. Despite this, the game is still regarded as being one of the best Batman games of all time.
1 Batman: Arkham City (Metascore: 96)
Arkham City, from the beginning, received critical acclaim. Critics praised the game’s story, its action, and just how polished the game was overall.
It is often debated whether Arkham City or Arkham Asylum sits atop as the best Batman game, but Arkham City differs from its predecessor in how it expanded the map, story, and the characters in the Batman universe, adding fan favorites like Catwoman and Mister Freeze. Arkham City also had story DLC added onto it with “Harley Quinn’s Revenge,” something the previous Batman title lacked.
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