Rocksteady defined a new direction for superhero games with its Batman: Arkham series, starting a new trend for the genre. The tagline was “Be the Batman,” which they managed to fully deliver with the gameplay and story across the series. For many, Rocksteady’s version of The Batman was the definitive one.
With three games from the same developer and one prequel by WB Games Montreal, the Batman: Arkham series is now hailed as one of the best superhero game series of all time.
Players took control of the Caped Crusader inside an open-world sandbox map and were tasked with stopping various super-villains from his rogues’ gallery from enacting their plan.
This series started life in 2009 with Batman: Arkham Asylum and came to a spectacular conclusion in 2015 with Batman: Arkham Knight.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s opinions.
Ranking Batman: Arkham series from poorest to best
4) Batman: Arkham City
While Batman: Arkham City did introduce a much larger map along with an even larger cast, it is the lesser of the four games due to its overall nature and narrative delivery. This title was released on October 18, 2011, and by no means was it a bad game, to clarify.
The narrative focused on a completely original script, as is Rocksteady’s norm, with Batman being introduced to Arkham City, a prison enclosure consisting of the old Gotham area.
From the events of the first game, Arkham Asylum has been deemed unsafe, and Hugo Strange has come up with the best plan, to leave prisoners inside Arkham City to carry out their sentence.
With a few new features added to the gameplay, Arkham City allowed players to traverse the open-world map by gliding and using their grapnel gun. Combat returned from the previous game, fine-tuned and tooled to perfection.
This game introduced new faces in the form of Alfred, Robin, Two-Face, Penguin, and Catwoman, amongst other names.
While Arkham City upped the ante from the previous game, the story was quite a comic book event, edging the lines of campiness. It was an upgrade visually but broke little new ground compared to other titles in the series.
Aside from the storyline involving the Joker, the other plotlines felt like they had little to do with the larger narrative of the series.
3) Batman: Arkham Asylum
This was the game that started the Arkham Trilogy for developer Rocksteady, first released on August 25, 2006, to some surprising appraisals. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a new story set in Rocksteady’s very known corner of the DC universe, which saw the Caped Crusader trapped inside Arkham Asylum.
Orchestrated by the Joker to get one night alone with this most favorite person in the whole world, the Clown Prince of Crime takes control of the facility and locks it down. Batman must do his best to uncover the Joker’s hidden plan behind this scheme and wrench control back from him.
This action-adventure title gained much popularity, primarily because of the unique combat system, which consisted of a two-button setup. Users could go on the offensive with the attack button and counter enemy moves using a counter button.
They also had access to numerous Batman gadgets, which gamers could use in the environment and combat.
2) Batman: Arkham Origins
It is the only title in this series not developed by Rocksteady, instead handed out to WB Games Montreal. Batman: Arkham Origins was meant to fill the four-year gap between Arkham City and Arkham Knight.
While this game reused many assets from Arkham City, it introduced a more grounded take on the Arkham series while changing the art style to a more realistic one. Combat and gadgets were nearly the same as in the last title, and the map featured most of Arkham City as one part, with the other filled up by new areas.
This game’s story takes place eight years before Arkham Asylum, seeing the Dark Knight during an early period in his career. It picks up on Christmas Eve, as Batman uncovers a plot to assassinate him after someone has put a bounty on his head and numerous world-class assassins are on his tail.
Arkham Origins included a new way to use detective mode, to analyze crime scenes using evidence and create a simulation of the events. However, the best aspect of this game was the story, which was an old-school mystery for a large part of the narrative and saw Batman piece the clues together to unveil the larger plot.
1) Batman: Arkham Knight
Finally, with Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady hit the nail on the head for the epic conclusion to its most popular video game series. Happening two years after the events of Arkham City, it was set in a modern-day Gotham, with a Batman at the top of his game.
This time around, Scarecrow has threatened to flood the city with his fear toxin and partners up with a private militia led by the mysterious Arkham Knight, who has his own score to settle with the Dark Knight.
Working with his allies and the GCPD, Batman must make sure the Scarecrow’s plan does not come to fruition during the night of All Hallow’s Eve.
The gameplay is the most refined experience yet in the series, with the same iconic combat system returning, as well as new gadgets. The title also introduces the Batmobile, which has quite a dynamic range in mobility and assault power.
Taking a leaf from Arkham Origins, the story is more grounded and features a stellar cast of characters from Batman’s comic book history.
As the final entry in the superhero series, this game, set in modern-day Gotham City, was a dream come true for Batman fans (no matter what anyone says about the Batmobile controls).
Many were sad to see Rocksteady step away from the Dark Knight, although Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is supposedly set in the Arkham Universe. Time will tell if this version of Batman will ever return.
Poll : Did you play any of the Arkham games?
Yup, loved it