Whether you know him as the dark knight, the caped crusader, or Batman, he is one of comic books’ most famous superheroes. Playing the part of billionaire Bruce Wayne by day and Batman by night, there is little time for Batman to sleep. Crime doesn’t sleep, so why would he?
Naturally, plenty of games have tried to capture the essence of Batman. A quality Batman game doesn’t deviate from the source material. It provides an authentic Batman experience with all the elements of the Dark Knight, including detective work, the usage of gadgetry, gliding, and Batman villains. The Batman: Arkham series meets all of these expectations, which is why they are the most-liked Batman games. That said, there are quite a few other good Batman titles.
Updated on January 7th, 2021 by Patrick Mocella: With dozens of games under his name already released, WB Games Montreal will have a tremendous battle later this year if the studio wishes to establish its game, Gotham Knights, as among the best in Batman’s long history. Whether it’s beat-em-up, platforming 2D sidescrollers, or stealthy action-adventure experiences, Batman has his bat-claws in every system and genre a fan can want. Gotham Knights is set to launch later this year, so now is a good time to revisit the best Batman games ever made with some new entries. While the new ones aren’t incredible by any means, they’re still worthy of a DC fan’s time.
15 Batman Forever: The Arcade Game
Despite being based on the highly successful Batman Forever movie, Batman Forever: The Arcade Game is forgotten by many gamers due to being released on home consoles almost a year after the movie had come out in theatres. While it isn’t a great game by any means, it is so off the wall crazy that it has to be included.
Just as how the Batman movies changed direction under Joel Schumacher from Tim Burton, this game tosses out the window any seriousness the previous games based on the films had. In the place of moody and tense cutscenes is Batman and Robin smashing endless armies of criminals with screen-clearing super moves and Street Fighter esque button combos. It is one of the flashiest beat-em-ups ever created and while you likely won’t play it more than twice, it is a sensory trip any Batman fan should try out.
14 Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu
Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu occupies a unique place in Batman gaming history. Although it uses the designs and overall continuity of the New Batman Adventures TV show, it stars an original villain named Sin Tzu who seeks out the toughest opponents to defeat them in combat. Naturally, this draws him into the cross-hairs of Batman.
At its core, this game is a surprisingly difficult beat-em-up where Batman fights through legions of henchmen before ending each stage with a boss who has been broken out by Sin Tzu. You can level up and buy new combos but most importantly, you and up to four friends can play as Batman, Robin (Tim Drake), Nightwing, or Batgirl. The game is at its best with four players and while it will never be topping any best Batman games lists, it is a fun enough time to play once.
13 Batman Begins
While the story of the canceled The Dark Knight game has been told before, what’s often forgotten is that the film’s prequel, Batman Begins, actually did receive a moderately successful game of its own.
Developed by Eurocom, Batman Begins can be best be described as a cross between Splinter Cell (because of its stealth sequences) and, of all things, the Burnout series (because of its Batmobile driving sections). While the game never comes to close to the level of quality of either of those series, it nonetheless is a fun adventure that arguably set the template for the Arkham series that came after it.
12 Batman Returns (SNES)
Back in the 16-bit console era, it would have been quite impossible for Batman games to have heavily detailed stealth or detective mechanics. Thus, fans received mostly linear side-scrollers, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t fun. Case in point, Konami’s classic Batman Returns on the Super Nintendo.
Aside from a single Batmobile driving level, the game follows the events of the movie as Batman fights Catwoman, The Penguin, and endless legions of thugs from a beat-em-up perspective. While the game is hardly revolutionary, the graphics have aged quite well and the controls are solid, making its combat highly satisfying. Its cheap bosses knock it down a peg compared to other beat-em-ups on the SNES, but it’s still fun to throw criminals into glass windows after stunning them with a Batarang.
11 Batman (NES)
Retro gamers still loyal to Nintendo’s breakout console still swear by this Batman title and after playing it, it’s easy to understand why.
Batman on the NES is a simple side-scroller where players must reach the end of a stage, beat a boss, and move onto the next one until they reach The Joker. From its wall jumping puzzles to its various weapon power-ups, the game plays extremely similar to Ninja Gaiden on the same console, which isn’t a bad template for an 8-bit Batman title. What puts this over the edge of many other Batman movie games, though, is its presentation. The 8-bit cutscenes look amazing for their time and its soundtrack shines on a system known for classic soundtracks. Very much worth the time of any Batman fan.
10 Batman: The Telltale Series
Batman’s altruistic nature transcends that of the average man. Although Batman is a human being born Earth, he displays superhero qualities that surpass the limits of a man.
In Batman: The Telltale Series, we dive deeper into the story of Batman, but the game fails to make any impactful changes. The story can be dull at times, which is why Batman: The Telltale Series is not a robust Telltale game or an immersive Batman experience.
9 The Adventures of Batman and Robin
Years later, Batman: Animated Series is still regarded as the most excellent cartoon adaption of DC’s Batman. This can be credited to its engrossing stories and top-notch voice acting. Season 2 of the Batman: Animated Series was retitled “The Adventures of Batman and Robin.” The television series inspired the video game of the same name.
The Adventures of Batman and Robin released for consoles such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega CD/Mega-CD, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, and Sega Game Gear. Using passwords to save progress wasn’t ideal, but the game was entertaining for its time.
8 Injustice: Gods Among Us
While the combat of the original Injustice: Gods Among Us is solid, some of the movements of characters were a bit sluggish. Soon after the release of Injustice: God Among Us, games like Tekken 7 and Mortal Kombat X set a new precedent for games of the fighting genre. At least Injustice: God Among Us was a build-up to Injustice 2, and it’s devoid of lookalike characters.
The level of detail is remarkable. The game, however, could have had more characters, stages, and better combat mechanics. A blend of 3D and 2D doesn’t work as seamlessly as we hoped. Luckily, its story elements kept it relevant.
7 Batman: Arkham VR
The same developer behind the Batman: Arkham series put out one of the most polished VR games we’ve seen yet. Being able to glide would have been a nice touch to the game, but it still had interesting detective work.
Recreating crime scenes and doing forensic work is intuitive. The story of Batman: Arkham VR was its high-point, but missing Batman gameplay elements held it back from its potential. Future Batman VR games can learn quite a bit from Batman: Arkham VR.
6 Batman: Arkham Origins
The game was riddled with glitches and bugs, but eventually, it became an above-average Batman game. Venturing through a snowy Gotham City, Batman is early in his career as the story takes place well before Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham Knight.
Villains like Black Mask, Penguin, Deadshot, Deathstroke, and Bane make Arkham Origins stand out. It’s without a doubt, the worst main series Batman: Arkham game, but it’s still worthy of a playthrough despite its flaws.
5 Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
This is unquestionably the greatest Lego Batman game to date. It’s a game that puts you in the shoes of Batman and doesn’t look awkward while doing so. One major flaw of the Batman: Arkham series is that Batman covers a large portion of the screen. In Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, the game uses an appropriate camera angle that allows you to focus on solving puzzles and in turn, crime.
Flying as Superman adds a new dynamic to the series. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is by no means a game meant exclusively for kids. Almost anyone can find enjoyment in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes as it has a little something for everyone.
4 Batman: Arkham Knight
If you’re a fan of tank combat, you might like this game. Putting aside the overwhelming number of Batmobile sections, Batman: Arkham Knight is all-around spectacular. It might have been the best Batman game of all time if it removed the Batmobile.
3 Injustice 2
With a wide selection of DC characters to choose from, Injustice 2 surpasses expectations, delivering one of the most exceptional fighting experiences in the history of video games. The combination of fighting and story sequences blended worked well. An increase in content, including more costumes is why Injustice 2 is superior to Injustice: Gods Among Us.
For competitive players, it may not be their first choice because of balancing issues. It is still a fun game, however, for fans of the DC Universe.
2 Batman: Arkham Asylum
The game that started the renowned Arkham series happens to be one of the best Batman games of all time. The story was captivating, and most importantly, there weren’t many bugs hindering gameplay.
Batman: Arkham Asylum featured Batman villains like the Joker, Riddler, Bane, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, and Scarecrow. It introduced the Arkham series, which became the inspiration for later games like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Spider-Man for PS4. Playing the part as a detective in a gradually thickening plot is too enjoyable in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
1 Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City is almost perfect in every way. The level design and scale of its map is a considerable jump in comparison to Arkham City‘s predecessor, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Developer Rocksteady Studios set a precedent that will impact games for years to come. Gliding above the city from rooftop to rooftop is intuitive and creates memories that will last forever.
Later games in the series tried to innovate, but none can match the near-perfect gameplay of Batman: Arkham City. For the most epic way to play as Batman in a video game, choose Batman: Arkham City.