Batman has appeared in a vast array of video games over the years. From choose-your-own adventures, action-stealth games, fighting games, the Caped Crusader has done it all. The thing is, video games very rarely get Batman right. But when they do find the sweet spot, they are unforgettable experiences. Here’s a rundown of the times that games got Batman right.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Bruce Wayne has sleuthed and fought his way into games with surprising genres over the years. He’s been made out of virtual Lego, he’s served as an online mentor, he’s even been featured on online casino platforms in his own online Batman slot games - a very enjoyable experience for those fond of gambling. But Batman getting his own slow-paced, story driven, quick time event laden Telltale game series? It seemed like a poor fit on paper, but the currently released chapters of The Telltale Series have us convinced. Batman’s earlier days are the perfect backdrop to set a series which balances Bruce Wayne’s double life and provides the player with agency of making lasting decisions which consequences matter across the episodes. How you proceed as Batman will affect how the story plays out, how villains are made and who literally lives or dies. Batman has always been plagued by his choices, and now you can too!
Batman: Arkham VR
When PSVR exploded into the gaming scene, there was only one question on our minds; how the hell do we use this to become Batman? Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long to find out; Batman: Arkham VR was announced at E3 earlier this year and launched last month at the same time as the peripherals release. The game itself was more of a glorified tech demo, but did show us how terrifying it must be to dress up like a giant bat and cut about punching mental patients. The game used VR pretty damn effectively to show how encounters with the Joker and Killer Croc could actually make you mess yourself. You could even tweak your bat-nipples if you wanted. Come on, we all know that costume is highly fetishized.
Batman: Arkham Trilogy (Asylum/City/Knight)
Alright, so the PC versions of these games are pretty pants, but lest we forget that the trilogy of stealth action games that Rocksteady made practically turned everyone around on the idea of superhero games. Save for genuine diamonds in the rough like Spider-Man 2 or InFamous, most superhero games of the early 2000’s were absolute garbage. Rocksteady, however, managed to find a way to turn both DC’s Dark Knight and the superhero game genre around with one of the biggest critical and financial successes in recent gaming history, spawning a franchise literally worth billions of dollars. Bearing in mind, we’re not counting Arkham Origins here, nor the spinoffs like City: Lockdown or Arkham Underworld, which are still great, but nothing has come close to making us feel like the Bat than the Rocksteady Trilogy of games. Just play them on a console, it saves a lot of technical disappointment and far fewer broken controllers.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
I know what you’re thinking: “One, this isn’t a Batman solo game. Two, Batman wasn’t even the best playable character in Injustice. And three, why wasn’t this spot given to a Lego Batman game?” Now listen, I’ll admit that I like the cartoony goodness of a Lego game, and that Aquaman was the fighting game pro-choice in Injustice, but the fact that Batman stood out in Injustice given that it features a lot of DC heroes and villains is a testament to how right they got Batman here. That is testament to a simple fact: Batman is an absolute genius. Who figures out cross-dimensional travel? Batman. Who engineers a plan to defeat evil Superman? Batman. Who actually beats evil Superman in a fight? Batman. Which character from the evil universe stays a hero? Batman. Whose villains actually accomplish anything, giving the story some much needed gravitas? Batman’s. Injustice may be a story about the DC heroes coming together to defeat their mirror dimension evil selves, but it is essentially DC and NeatherRealm both agreeing that the best superhero is Batman. And that is a message I think we can all get behind.
Did we miss any of Batman’s best gaming moments? Feel free to leave your favourite Batman video game in the comments if we didn’t include it here, or tell us your favourite part of the games listed above. Or you could always lose your parents in a tragic street shooting, inherit a company worth at the very least $682 million, go soul searching in the far east, learn a ton of different martial arts, return home after years abroad and go out every night dress up as an armoured winged mammal, recruiting children to help you batter mentally ill criminals. Either or.
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