It’s time to don the cape and cowl to defend Gotham City as we check out the best Batman games of all time!
Despite first appearing in Detective Comics #27 – published, astonishingly, way back in 1939 – Batman remains one of the most popular characters not just in comics, but in popular culture in general.
The tone of Batman films, TV shows and comics can veer from camp, to more straight-faced superhero action and even into the realms of horror.
And the same can be said of Batman video games.
This list covers all of that ground too. There’s room for plenty of different styles of Batman here, so let’s take a look at which games made it to the best Batman games of all time!
Based on a classic comic series in which – often unusual – combinations of heroes teamed up, the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated show was a fun, deliberately campy throwback to a more family friendly era for Batman.
This video game adaptation of the show was excellent on both Wii and DS, yet felt very underrated. Made by WayForward Technologies – creators of Shantae (see our list of the best Shantae games here) and Aliens: Infestation, our pick for the top of the underrated DS games list, both games use the visual style of the cartoon to great effect.
The Wii version is a side scrolling beat ‘em up with platforming elements, in which Batman can call upon different heroes to assist him. The DS version, however, has Metroidvania elements. Players switch between Batman and a different hero – to take advantage of their unique abilities – in order to proceed.
The DS version is just about the better version of the game, but there’s a reason that we’ve combined the two versions into one entry on the best Batman games list!
That’s because the best feature – and something that really elevates Batman: The Brave and the Bold – is the fact that the Wii version can connect to the DS game.
This allows the handheld player to ‘invade’ the Wii game as the mischievous little Bat-Mite. It’s a very clever, very well done bonus feature!
After Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman was the first Lego game by Traveller’s Tales to have an original story.
With its mechanics and more linear structure feeling a little dated these days, however, it’s Lego Batman 2 that marks the first Lego title to make it to the best Batman games list!
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was a pioneering entry in the Traveller’s Tales Lego series too – being the first to feature an open world and even spoken dialogue.
With an excellent story, tons of collectibles and plenty of secrets to uncover, Lego Batman 2 is an addictive, compelling and family friendly game that gamers of all ages can enjoy – like Lego itself and of course, other Lego video games. Check out our best Lego games list for more!
Originally a handheld companion game to Batman: Arkham Origins (which came to 3DS and PS Vita in 2013), this Deluxe Edition featured new maps, new maps, enemies, difficulty levels and batsuits, as well as enhanced visuals compared to the handheld original.
A 2.5D, Metroidvania-style game, Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate Deluxe Edition sees a riot break out at Blackgate Penitentiary a few months after the events of Arkham Origins.
The prison is then taken over by the Joker, the Penguin and Black Mask – and Batman swoops in to save the day.
Cleverly designed to allow the player to take the bosses on in any order they choose, the game also features multiple endings – which one you get is dependent on the final boss you face.
Lots of stealth, gadgets and even the famous Arkham combat system are featured here, smartly retooled for 2D gameplay.
It’s a really underrated title and definitely deserves its place on the best Batman games list!
Though Lego Batman 2 expanded the original game’s scope into an open world, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham goes even bigger, with multiple hubs and open world stages alongside more linear and focused missions.
More than 200 characters are available, though most will need to be found or otherwise unlocked in order to use them. But this means that a dizzying array of powers and abilities are eventually on offer, with plenty of opportunity to use them across the game’s universe.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has a great story, incredible scope and the same addictive Lego action adventure gameplay that Traveller’s Tales have become known for since the very first Lego Star Wars game was released in 2005.
Sure, it’s more a ‘DC Super Heroes’ game than one specifically focusing on Batman, but hey – the Dark Knight is right there in the title and he (along with countless allies and enemies) does feature prominently.
This game is definitely one we’d consider as being worthy of an entry on the best Batman games list!
Rocksteady’s Arkham series set a standard not just for Batman games, but for licensed games in general. The first two titles were masterpieces, receiving both critical and commercial acclaim.
This third entry, Batman: Arkham Origins (not counting the interim prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, which wasn’t a Rocksteady game) closes off the story well, but is a little too ambitious for its own good at times.
There’s a big focus on the Batmobile this time around, which is both blessing and curse – it’s refreshing and fun to drive around the city so fast, but the repetitive, Batmobile-based missions are a real chore.
However, the story is fantastic, with some clever usage of the Joker and Batman’s mental state to deliver some shocking twists and turns. Plus, there’s a surprising emphasis on horror, with perhaps the finest, most effective video game jump scare in history (which I won’t spoil!).
Despite not quite reaching the heights of the previous Arkham titles, Batman: Arkham Knight is still a fantastic experience, a fitting end to the Arkham series and well deserving of its place on the best Batman games list.
This is probably an extremely controversial spot to place the non-Rocksteady, WB Games Montreal-developed prequel.
Intended as a stopgap between Arkham City and Arkham Knight, development duties passed to WB Games Montreal when Rocksteady were tied up in developing the third game.
The Christmas setting, the open city – albeit during a curfew, so there’s no civilians in Gotham – and the addition of crime scene scanning all give Batman: Arkham Origins a unique feel, a great atmosphere and even put Batman’s detective skills to good use.
Though very similar to Arkham City in its mechanics, the fact that this is more of the same isn’t such a bad thing, considering the strength of the game it followed.
By 2016, Telltale Games had refined their choice-and-consequence narrative adventure game formula – perfected with The Walking Dead in 2011 – to produce some absolutely stunning experiences.
Batman: The Telltale Series was no different, providing a stunningly involving story which really felt personal, depending on the dialogue choices made throughout.
The episodic structure made it feel like you were playing through episodes of a TV show. If you’d been playing the game from launch, this sensation would be further heightened, as you would have had to wait for each episode to release before continuing the story beyond each cliffhanger!
It also introduced elements of piecing together and combining evidence at crime scenes, bringing Batman’s detective skills to the fore very effectively.
The game also manages the Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy extremely well – unlike any game before or since (maybe with the exception of its own sequel!).
Weaving in lots of characters from Batman’s supporting cast, it even features sequences in which Batman’s nemesis appears.
In Batman: The Telltale Series, he’s called John Doe, as his identity isn’t yet established; he’s presented as a somewhat sympathetic character – and not the maniacal, nihilistic villain he eventually turns into.
If you thought the placement of Arkham Knight on the best Batman games list was controversial, no doubt you’ll feel the same way about Arkham City too!
The Arkham games went open world for the first time in Batman: Arkham City, with a plot contrivance that closed off an entire section of Gotham City and filled it with criminals and supervillains.
With Bruce Wayne – and therefore Batman – also trapped in there too.
The clever, Escape from New York-esque setup allowed Rocksteady an excuse to see Batman roving over what is essentially an entire city without having to worry about pesky civilians getting in the way of the relentless violence – and also gave them the opportunity cleverly fill the world with plenty of missions and threads that lead to brilliantly reimagined supervillains.
Batman’s rogue’s gallery is perhaps the strongest set of villains in any comic book and a huge number of them are featured here.
Though the open world makes Arkham City feel less focused than Arkham Asylum, it does give the player more freedom.
Batman’s gadgets, the crunchy combat and some genuinely superb, cinematic cutscenes really elevate Arkham City – it has a level of artistry in its construction that make it one of the most satisfying open world games of all time.
The story and final boss encounter in particular do feel a bit anti-climactic, but this is an incredibly strong game – and no doubt many players would name Arkham City as their favourite Batman game of all time (it even features on our list of the best Xbox 360 games and best Wii U games!).
Following up the brilliant first season of Batman: The Telltale Series was always going to be a bit of a challenge – but Telltale managed it brilliantly.
Batman: The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within takes players on another epic narrative journey with choices that often lead to devastating, powerful consequences.
Poor John Doe’s evolution into the Joker we know and love is handled amazingly well; he’s depicted as a sympathetic character and his descent – or at least the path he takes on the way down to the point of no return – feels, to an extent, in the player’s hands.
Doe can end up as vigilante – albeit one much more ruthless than Batman – or an outright villain. Whatever happens, the heartbreaking events feel like they’re your fault!
It’s a brilliantly told story that shines new light on several key figures in Batman’s universe; it reimagines a number of familiar characters to fit within the world created in the first season – and does so in a way that makes perfect narrative sense.
Batman: The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within is another astonishing achievement from Telltale – and it’s a story that will linger in your mind long after the credits roll. An underrated gem of a game, it’s more than deserving of its high ranking on our list of the best Batman games!
The hype around the Unreal Engine-powered Batman: Arkham Asylum was pretty big before release, but I don’t think players – or critics – realised just how good it was going to be.
Rocksteady Studios only had one full game to their credit prior to Arkham Asylum – the underrated but still unspectacular PS2 FPS Urban Chaos: Riot Response – so there were no huge expectations being placed upon Batman’s shoulders.
Sometimes, it’s nice to be proven wrong.
Right from the opening sequence, this action adventure title – with one of the best and most imitated fighting systems to have emerged in the last few decades – really made you feel like Batman.
From environment scanning for clues, to the wealth of steadily unlocking gadgetry at your disposal and the brilliantly reimagined super villains to take on within the walls (and grounds) of the eponymous Asylum, the brilliant mechanics and atmosphere really nailed the feel of Batman.
It gave us a perfect representation of the actual comic book-style Batman – in my opinion, better than there had ever been up until that point, aside from perhaps in Batman: The Animated Series. Not coincidentally, Batman: Arkham Asylum features the creative and voice talent behind the classic 90s TV show (which also features on our best 90s cartoons list!).
The Metroidvania-style structure keeps the game and its narrative focused and controlled – and the seemingly endless legions of goons provide great opportunity to let loose with the brilliant, freeform combat system.
The boss fights can be a bit of a letdown, but in their favour they are varied and feature showdowns with some of Batman’s biggest and most famous enemies, in a way that feels natural to the game’s plot.
For us, it’s a clear choice for the top spot of the best Batman games list!
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.