“I’m [a] Batman [game]”
Bruce Wayne has had many ups and downs in his personal life, in just about every single iteration of Batman media that he appears in: it’s kind of his thing. And the same goes for the sea of Batman video games; which, quite frankly, is filled with sunken barges of ill-advised movie tie-ins and projects that just didn’t have as much love and care as they should have.
Here’s a list of our top five Batman games throughout the ages.
5 – Batman: The Video Game (NES)
A dark horse pick that Bruce Wayne himself would have been proud of: the surprisingly influential movie tie-in game on the NES takes number five.
I recall renting this ages ago at my local Power Video, and I was completely blown away. Not only does it stray far from the Tim Burton movie it attempts to replicate, but it also utilizes that classic Sunsoft retro touch. Leaping off of walls felt like a natural extension of Batman; and I associate it with Batman NES more so than any other game before or after it (Ninja Gaiden included).
If I can still hear the soundtrack blasting in my head from memory as I’m writing this, you know it did something right. If you’ve played it before, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
4 – Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
While most of you expected this list to be entirely populated with Arkham-universe games, I figured I’d throw in a few worthy surprises.
Lego Batman 2 literally builds upon what made its predecessor work, while maintaining the family friendly appeal of the LEGO franchise in general. This is something I can just pick up with anyone and play basically at any time of day, no matter how I’m feeling. And seeing Batman interact with a ton of DC comics characters is the cherry on top. It’s also one of the more packed LEGO games, which is good news for people who are tired of the sometimes worn formula.
3 – Batman: The Enemy Within
In what feels like the cusp of the downfall of Telltale Games, the studio put out Batman: The Enemy Within, and really hit hard on piloting the identity of Bruce Wayne and managing his fractured psyche. While the first season was relatively light with Joker antics, this season took things in a decidedly more Joker direction, which was to be expected: as most roads in Dark Knight-dom lead to Joker.
Thankfully, Enemy Within managed to spice things up a bit, and took a different tact that allows for some fresh takes on the Clown Prince’s relationship with Bats.
2 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
As the big spark that kicked off Batman and made him relevant again in the gaming sphere: it makes sense why Asylum would be included as a no-brainer top five pick. Although it had some rough edges the Assassin’s Creed-like combat system was an instant hit, and it nailed the fantasy of playing as Batman, with all the wonderful toys to come with it.
Without Asylum, we wouldn’t have seen a new wave of resplendence of Batman media.
1 – Batman: Arkham City
That said! Arkham City is my favorite of the Arkham series, and takes the top spot overall. I know when it came out there were plenty of debates in regards to the merits of City and Asylum, and how the former was a bit too sprawling for its own good: but I was called to 100% City like a siren’s song from the first hour.
The harrowing intro, the raised stakes, the increased rogue’s gallery: it was all enough to cement it as my favorite Batman game of all time. I can remember flying through every inch of this city, before the franchise started to run out of ideas.