Just in time for Batman Day, a reader lists their favourite Dark Knight-related video games, from the 1989 film tie-in to Arkham Asylum.
I have to admit that I am the sort of nerd that already knew it was Batman Day this weekend and so while some have been surprised by the news of free Batman games and a rumoured Fortnite crossover it’s exactly the sort of thing I would’ve expected. And so, I like to think that makes me perfectly suited to offer this rundown of the eight best games to feature my favourite superhero.
8. Batman (1989)
I’m going to admit this is purely nostalgia talking, as this was the first Batman game I ever played (one of the first anything I ever played) and I haven’t touched it since my Amiga got moved to the loft, or wherever happened to it. I do remember it as being a decent little platform game, with some fantastic racing levels with the Batmobile and Batwing. It certainly wasn’t the worst film tie-in there’s ever been and the first real proof that you could make a decent Batman game.
7. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (2014)
I’m using this as a rep for the whole Lego Batman line-up as they’re all fun. Although while this is the best game it’s also the least Batman-centric, but since I like most of the rest of the DC Universe as well, I’m good with that. (Although unfortunately this game focuses a little too much on the Green Lanterns, which is one of my least favourite elements.) There are so many characters here it’s crazy, and it’s the only game where you can play as Polka-Dot Man, Condiment King, and Bat-Cow. And yes, those are all real and from the comics (well, Condiment King started in the cartoon).
6. Batman: The Telltale Series (2016)
Bit of a strange one for me this, as it veers away so far from the accepted mythos at times it doesn’t really feel like a Batman game at all. The first season is not great but the second one starts to get really interesting when you realise you can greatly affect the evolution of the characters, including stopping the Joker from turning into a full supervillain. The writing and voice-acting is not great a lot of the time, and as usual with Telltale the action is awful with no real gameplay, but it’s an interesting take and I’d like to see someone else try a similar take but with a better script.
5. Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)
A controversial choice, because it kicks Arkham Knight off my list, but this was actually a really good spin-off. You could tell it was cobbled together with leftover assets from Arkham City, and it has the worst excuse of all the games for no civilians being around, but a lot of the missions and story are really good. The twist is a bit lame but the boss battles, which is the one thing Rocksteady are no good at, are great. The appearance of Deathstroke, for example, is 100 times better here than in Arkham Knight.
4. The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1994)
As far as I’m concerned, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, the best Batman anything is the 90s animated series. It’s such a perfect medley of everything great about the character and his world that it transcends even the comics it’s based on. There were quite a few game tie-ins at the time, but this was easily the best. It was an action platformer by Konami but the Mega Drive and SNES versions are quite different and while I think the SNES game is best the Mega CD version has some exclusive cut scenes, done by the same people as the animated series, that you can’t see anywhere else.
3. Batman: Arkham City (2011)
A lot of people will put this as their favourite Batman game, and the best of the Arkham series, but for me it’s a notch or two below Asylum. The open world is great and all but it’s quite small and doesn’t justify losing so many of the Metroidvania elements and the tight design of the first game. The story is also a complete mess, with just cameo after cameo that never really makes sense. It’s still great, don’t get me wrong, but as an open world Batman game it could still be a lot better – so it’s unfortunate that follow-up Arkham Knight was considerably worse.
2. Injustice 2 (2017)
There’s a part of me that really hates the Injustice series, as what I see as a fun, silly take on the DC Universe Zack Snyder and whatever idiots were listening to him seemed to take it as one of the main influences for the DCEU movies. That’s crazy because everyone in this fighter is an xtreme version of themselves, bordering on parody… except Batman. He’s such a brooding badass anyway he comes across pretty much as normal, even as they have to turn heroes like Wonder Woman into a crazy psycho to fit in.
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
For me this is not only still the best Batman game but one of my favourite games of all-time. It was Rocksteady’s first attempt at a Batman game and really their first big budget title of any kind, but what a debut! It works on at least three levels: it’s a great Metroidvania style adventure, one of the very few big budget 3D ones; the writing and characterisation is great in terms of Batman lore; and there are tons and tons of Easter eggs for true fans, including many of the voice actors from The Animated Series and writer Paul Dini!
By reader Macky
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