Ranked: The Top 6 Best Batman Games to Play in 2016 and Beyond

best batman games, best batman games 2016
"I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman."

Grab your gadgets and become the night in this roundup of the 6 Best Batman Games for 2016.

Since the first Batman game in 1986, gamers and comic book fans alike have been following the franchise’s continually growing list of Batman comics, merchandise, movies, television shows, and video games. Appearing in 50 games across multiple platforms—from MS-DOS to NES to Playstation—and starring as the lead character in more than half of these titles, Batman has become a household name. 

While awaiting the much anticipated Batman by Telltale Games (release date of September 2016) as well as the tentative June 2017 release of Injustice 2, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best Batman games to play in 2016 and beyond. Grab a snack, hit the lights, and become the night in our countdown of the best Batman titles. 

6. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum Official Trailer 

Batman: Arkham Asylum scores at Number 6 on our list because of its unique storyline, its utilization of the puzzle system, and its freeflow combat system. This nightmare-fueled narrative begins when Batman accompanies the Joker to Arkham Asylum. Once inside, the Joker escapes and reveals that he’s sprung a trap for Batman—one that involves kidnapping Commissioner Gordon and threatening to detonate numerous bombs around Gotham City if anyone attempts to enter the asylum. As Batman, your mission is to save Commissioner Gordon while taking out as many of Gotham City’s villains as possible. If getting to defeat many of the canonical villains isn’t exciting enough, you’ll also have the opportunity to face off against Scarecrow, who uses his fear toxin to make Batman hallucinate some… pretty disturbing things.


Batman! Look out behind you!

Using a mix of direct combat and stealth, as well as Batman’s usual roundup of gadgets, you’ll travel deep into the asylum, defeating shirtless, steroid-fueled prisoners. Your index finger will definitely get a workout as you punch, kick, and chop your way through the enemies, scoring combos, regaining health, and earning EXP with each kill. Probably one of the most interesting features of the game is Batman’s “Detective Vision,” which players must utilize in order to solve some of the game’s puzzles. The addition of “Detective Vision” not only gives this game a new dimension, but it also gives your index finger a break from furiously clicking your mouse.


Many of Gotham City’s ICP fans end up in Arkham Asylum.

If you’ve already played this game and you’re thinking about playing it again, look for the Game of the Year version because it can be played in 3D on any 2D television. Just pick up a pair of anaglyph 3D glasses to experience all the spooky, action-packed goodness in 3D.

5. Batman: A Telltale Series

Number 5 on our list is Batman: A Telltale Series, coming out in September of this year. This Batman game ranks at 5 on our list because players will play half the game as Batman and half the game as Bruce Wayne. Unlike other Batman games, this one takes place just after Bruce Wayne decides to become Batman, allowing players to act freely since the game isn’t tied to any established storyline. The game will contain 5 episodes, the first of which will be released in September and the last in December. While other Batman titles have relied on making the environment as realistic as possible, Batman: A Telltale Series will move away from photorealism and instead rely on comic book style art.


Is he saving Catwoman’s life or dropping her from the 20th storey? You decide.

Playing as both Bruce Wayne and Batman is exciting mainly because Bruce Wayne’s decisions during the day could potentially affect the types of activities that occur in Gotham City at night. Similarly, decisions players make as Batman may affect how things operate in Gotham during the day. Batman: A Telltale Series will likely have a high replay value because different decisions will affect the direction of the overall storyline.


Regardless of your decisions, Bruce Wayne will still have a lot of issues to deal with.

If you were a fan of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead game series, you’ll probably want to pick up a copy of Batman: The Telltale Series.        

4. Injustice: Gods Among Us

Titled the “Best Fighting Game” in 2013, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a multiplayer fighting game that was the highest selling title in both the U.S.A. and the U.K. during its month of release. This game comes in at number 4 on our list not only because of its mechanics, but also because of its very involved plotline. The storyline pits Batman and Superman against each other after Superman becomes a tyrannical leader and establishes a new world order. To bring peace, Batman rounds up his own army and clashes forces with some of DC Comics’ greatest heroes and villains. Sounds like the typical plot to any fighting game, but this story has more twists and turns than a hunchback with scoliosis.

 


Let’s just take a moment to appreciate Wonder Woman’s straight spine.

Aside from the impressive lineup of playable characters, there are a number of non-playable characters that appear in various arenas. These characters (ranging from Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum to Darkseid in the Hall of Justice) appear as hazards on the battlefield, adding a level of difficulty to certain arenas. Interactive and transitional elements add more excitement to each stage, as players can use certain objects in an arena to damage their opponent (like throwing a car at someone). The clash system adds another unique dimension to the game. In this system, players secretly bet portions of their “super meter” in an attempt to instantly win the clash—an ideal system if you’re fighting against the “hit and run away” type of player.

 


You’ll never win a fight against someone who accessorizes with a noose.

If you haven’t played this game yet, pick up a copy today. The sequel, Injustice 2, was recently announced in June 2016 and has a tentative release date of 2017.

3. Batman: Arkham City – Game of the Year Edition

Number 3 on our list is Batman: Arkham City – Game of the Year Edition. We’ve chosen the Game of the Year version because it not only extends the original game by about two hours, but it also includes seven new maps to explore, three new playable characters (Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing), and a number of different skins for Batman, Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing. The game itself begins when Bruce Wayne winds up imprisoned in Gotham City’s new prison, Arkham City. Hugo Strange, the villain behind Wayne’s imprisonment, is after something called “Protocol 10” and it’s your job to stop him. Throughout your journey in Arkham City, you’ll come across a number of familiar faces, including the Riddler, whose solvable riddles make up a good portion of the game’s side quests.


“Sure, I’m Batman, but my real dream was to become the ultimate riddle solver.”

Like Batman: Arkham Asylum, players will make use of the freeflow combat system as well as things like “Detective Vision” to fight enemies, solve puzzles, and progress through the game. Since this game is the second in the Arkham series, many of Batman’s gadgets and combat mechanics have been updated to improve the overall game play experience. Unlike Arkham Asylum, Batman can catch objects thrown at him, attack while gliding, and counter multiple hits at once. There are also a number of new gadgets to look forward to, such as smoke bombs and a REC stun gun.


Also, this door.

Batman: Arkham City was also the winner of several awards, including Best Action Game, Best Adventure Game, and, of course, Game of the Year. You’ll definitely want to explore all the spooky nooks and crannies in Gotham’s sprawling prison, Arkham City.

2. Batman: Arkham Origins

Batman: Arkham Origins, the third game in the Arkham series, stirs up the franchise with a new multiplayer mode. What makes Origins number 2 on our list? The storyline’s artful comparison of the Joker and Batman’s personalities, which culminates with the unanswerable question: is Batman doing more harm than good? Although Origins was released after Arkham Asylum, the game takes place 5 years before those events. The game begins on Christmas Eve with Batman attempting to stop a jailbreak at Blackgate Penitentiary. After failing to stop Black Mask’s escape, Batman discovers a $50 million bounty on his head, which has attracted the attention of some pretty awesome assassins. As Batman, players will not only go toe-to-toe with villains like Killer Croc, but they will also have the opportunity to engage in some petty crimes, such as breaking and entering.


And eavesdropping! Okay, eavesdropping isn’t a crime, but it’s pretty rude.

As with Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, players will again make use of the freeflow combat system, stealth techniques, and gadgets to progress through the game. In this game, Batman can summon the Batwing so players no longer have to glide-Batclaw-glide-Batclaw-glide-fall-start over. Also unique to Origins is the new multiplayer mode, which pits Bane and the Joker’s henchmen against Batman and Robin. Players also have the option to play the “Hunter, Hunted” mode which pits six henchmen (three Joker, three Bane) against Batman in a sudden death match. Origins also has a high replay value. If players beat the game on “New Game Plus” mode, they’ll unlock “I Am the Night” mode. This special mode is extremely difficult because if Batman dies once, the game just ends.


But at least those burning flames will keep their corpses warm.

While Origins was probably the most criticized of the Batman games on this list, it’s still one of the better Batman games out there.

1. Batman: Arkham Knight

Last on our list is Batman: Arkham Knight, the fourth game in the Arkham series. This game ranks at 1 because of its character-driven storyline and because it improves upon nearly everything from the previous Arkham games. Set one year after the events in Arkham City, the game begins with Scarecrow releasing his fear toxin into Gotham City, causing citizens to hallucinate some pretty nightmarish creatures. When Batman goes to investigate, he crosses paths with the Arkham Knight and his band of rebels, and ends up exposed to Scarecrow’s toxin. Players who enjoyed Arkham Origins’ storyline will be excited to see some of the same plot points picked up in Arkham Knight. And since this game takes place within Gotham City, players will have the opportunity to drive a very modernized version of the Batmobile.


The sweetest ride in Gotham City—now with a Gatling!

While the freeflow combat system remains the mainstay for the Batman video game franchise, Arkham Knight builds upon this system by introducing the dual play system and by enhancing some of Batman’s gadgets. The dual play system, which can only be used after several continuous combat streaks, allows players to seamlessly switch between Batman, Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing. Batman’s batarang now includes a scanner, which can be used for gathering information about an area, and the Disruptor (Arkham City) received several upgrades, one of which includes the ability to electrify crates (setting booby-traps for enemies).


To be fair, I’m sure Batman gave him plenty of warning before electrocuting him.

The puzzles in the game are also more intricate and more difficult than in previous titles, and some of these require the Batmobile to solve. With loads of downloadable content, players will discover even more quests, missions, and villains to defeat. As the fastest selling game in the Arkham series, it’s no wonder this Batman game sold over 5 million copies only four months after its initial release.

Batman: Arkham Knight - Harvey Two-Face Boss Battle

From his inception as a video game character in 1986, Batman has come a long way. Aside from a definite improvement in overall graphics, combat systems, and character lineup, developers have continued to please fans with each game’s unique storyline. But whether the storyline is character-driven, action-driven, or thrown out the window in favor of hack-n-slash or puzzle solving goodness, Batman has easily shifted its way into becoming one of the best superhero video game franchises of all time. If you haven’t played any of the titles on our list, start today. You won’t be disappointed.

You may also be interested in:

Batman: Arkham Knight Review. Spoiler Free
Batman: Arkham Knight: 5 Interesting Things You Must Know
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham Origins

 

Gamer Since: 1970
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
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