Arguably the most beloved superhero of all time is Batman, leading to a litany of comics, movies, shows, and video games based on the character. Although the caped crusader has always been a fan-favorite, his track record in the video game space didn’t pick up until the last decade or so. Since the ’90s, we’ve gotten Batman movie tie-in games, stand-alone stories, and games of all genres, including action, 2D platformers, and narrative adventures.
Thankfully, there have been a lot of high-quality Batman games released for various systems over the years. Whether you’re a veteran Batman fan or just getting into the hero for the first time, there’s likely a game out there for you. These are the 10 best Batman games, ranked.
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This is probably a game that many haven’t thought about (or even heard of) in years. The Batman Begins movie tie-in was a good attempt at mixing fun stealth gameplay with wild Batmobile sections and even includes many of the film’s cast reprising their roles in the game. Aside from stealth sections and vehicular mayhem, there’s also basic hand-to-hand combat, wherein Batman utilizes his gadgets to defeat enemies. It’s not the greatest game ever, but it did lay the groundwork for what would come from Batman games later on, and we recommend giving this one a try.
Another game in the Dark Knight’s catalog you might not remember is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. No, not Batman: Arkham Origins (more on that one below), but rather, a 2.5 Metroidvania game set in the same universe. This game launched alongside Arkham Origins but was initially designed for handheld systems like the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Blackgate takes place after the events of Origins and does a fair job of translating the beloved combat from the Arkham games into a 2.5D presentation. Again, this game isn’t amazing, but it’s a worthwhile entry in the Batman series, especially to fans of Metroid and Castlevania.
Telltale Games was one of the masters of storytelling in video games. One of the shining examples of this is Batman: The Telltale Series, a game released episodically towards the end of 2016. Its strength is in presenting familiar characters in an unfamiliar way, featuring slightly different backstories than you might be used to. It offered a thoughtful, choice-driven narrative that never lets up throughout its five-episode saga. A followup season, Batman: The Enemy Within, was released throughout 2017 and 2018 and is well worth checking out, too.
Many of the Batman games on this list are for more mature audiences, typically falling into the T ESRB rating. While those games are great, it’s nice to have something the whole family can play, which is what you get with Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. This game ups the ante from the first installment, featuring not only characters from the Batman series but other DC Comics heroes as well. Lego Batman 2 is notable for being the first Lego game to include a fully voiced cast with dialogue rather than the gibberish presented in older entries. It’s got an open world and two-player co-op, making it a great fit for the family.
Serving as the oldest game on this list, the movie tie-in for 1989’s Batman is a blast from the past. Sure, it might not hold up as well today, but Batman for the NES is widely regarded as one of the best superhero games of that era. It’s a sidescrolling action game that’s loosely based on the Tim Burton film but also features various classic enemies like Deadshot, Killer Moth, and Joker. In it, Batman has access to an arsenal of gadgets and can even wall-jump. This game is worth checking out if you’re into retro 2D games — or if you just simply can’t get enough Batman in your life.
Out of all the games on this list, Batman: Arkham VR is the one that truly makes you feel like the Dark Knight himself. Taking place in the Arkham universe from developer Rocksteady Studios, Arkham VR is a short experience that sends you on a mission to investigate the disappearance of Nightwing and Robin. It doesn’t directly include combat but rather focuses more on storytelling and puzzle-solving while immersing you in its world. Arkham VR is one of the standout PSVR experiences, thanks to the way it’s presented while making you feel like Batman.
Arguably the most overlooked entry in the series is Batman: Arkham Origins, a game that tells the story of a younger Bruce Wayne. While this game takes place before the events of Arkham Asylum, it wasn’t developed by Rocksteady Studios, which led to disappointment among fans. Instead, it was created by WB Games Montréal, and considering it was the team’s first major game developed, it’s remarkable how well it turned it. Since it’s a prequel, it makes a lot of references to the rest of the Arkham series, offering more context and backstory for many of its characters. And out of the rest of the games in the series, this one has some of the most memorable bosses, including fights against Black Mask, Deadshot, and Firefly.
Out of the three mainline Rocksteady-developed Batman games, Arkham Knight is typically the least favorite, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. In fact, it does a lot of things better than the previous entries, such as featuring some of the best narrative moments in the entire series. It ropes in many characters from the Bat-family, including Robin, Nightwing, Barbara Gordon, and Alfred, while telling a story with high stakes. We particularly appreciated just how many costumes there are to choose from in this game, sprinkling some variety throughout the main story or the challenge missions. Aside from the out-of-place Bat-tank battles, this game does a lot of things right and is essential to the overall narrative.
There’s often debate about which Batman game is the best — with it usually coming down to Arkham Asylum versus Arkham City. And it’s a tough choice because both are so good. Batman: Arkham City is our second option between the two, but it’s still a game that deserves its praises. It features a large open world, allowing you to freely explore it to tackle side quests, find collectibles, and take in the interesting sights and sounds of Gotham. Arkham City expanded upon many of the mechanics from the first installment while paying homage to the character’s rich history throughout the years. It’s easy to see why so many adore Batman: Arkham City, and while it isn’t our top choice, it’s an incredible experience from start to finish.
That leaves us with Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game that broke new ground for the way it handled Batman as a character. It introduced the satisfying free-flow combat that many other games drew inspiration from afterward. But outside of the memorable combat, it leaned into Batman’s detective skills, with sections that required you to gather clues to solve mysteries. The reason this game works so well is due in part to its level design. It’s a tight, confined world that never feels too big or overwhelming. It also doubles down on the Metroidvania elements, allowing you to visit new areas once you’ve unlocked certain items. Its stealth mechanics, storytelling, presentation, and pacing are all brilliantly put together, making it the best Batman game of all time.
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