When you think about it, it’s odd that we don’t have more options for the best Batman games. The Caped Crusader seems like a natural fit for video game adaptations, considering his most prominent skills: fighting bad guys, hiding in the shadows and solving intricate puzzles. Still, while Batman has starred in some real duds over the years, he’s had a handful of great games attached to his name, too.
With that in mind, the Tom’s Guide staff has rounded up the best Batman games — with a few qualifiers, just to keep things interesting.
First off, we’ve limited the list to fare you can play on modern consoles, although there are a few excellent retro Batman games if you feel like digging out your old SNES. We’ve also tried to limit the number of games from any individual subseries, otherwise half of this list would just be the Batman: Arkham games. (Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Knight aren’t great; they’re still worth playing for fans of the Dark Knight.)
Ready to embark on the journey to play the best Batman games? Then, you can be vengeance, and the night, and so forth.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
After years of disappointing adaptations, Batman: Arkham Asylum is the game that brought the Caped Crusader back to the forefront of gaming. For those who haven’t played it, Arkham Asylum is a 3D Metroidvania, in which Batman finds himself trapped in — you guessed it — Arkham Asylum, along with its murderous inmates.
With plenty of environments to explore, puzzles to solve and villains to fight, Arkham Asylum was one of the first titles to really feel like a Batman game, rather than just an action game where you happen to play as Batman. Arkham Asylum’s rhythmic combat and tight stealth mechanics have gone on to influence a whole generation of action games.
Batman: Arkham City
While Batman: Arkham City is not quite as tight as Arkham Asylum, the scope of the game is much, much bigger. Rather than just a single building compound, Arkham City lets Batman explore a huge chunk of Gotham City in an open-world adventure. The villain roster this time around is especially impressive, featuring memorable boss fights with fan-favorites such as Mr. Freeze, Ra’s al Ghul and Clayface. You can even play as Catwoman in an extended companion quest. Arkham City is not just one of the best Batman games; it’s arguably one of the best open-world games, period, thanks to its excellent combat and interesting variety of side missions.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
At the risk of including yet another Arkham game, we do have to give Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate a shout-out for at least trying something different. Unlike the other Arkham games, Origins Blackgate is a 2D Metroidvania. While they used to be pretty common on the NES and SNES, Batman side-scrollers are pretty rare these days. As the title suggests, Batman explores Blackgate Penitentiary in this one, facing off against Black Mask, the Penguin, Solomon Grundy and a few other familiar foes along the way. The game isn’t especially long or challenging, but it’s a pleasant change of pace from the much-more-complicated 3D Arkham games.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Who knew that Batman would work so well in a point-and-click adventure game? Batman: The Telltale Series is exactly what it says on the tin, letting you take control of Batman in the typical Telltale game format. For those who haven’t played a Telltale game, that means a lot of dialogue choices, simple puzzles and quick-time action scenes. Like other Telltale games, your decisions also have a huge effect on the narrative — and the narrative here is excellent. The game introduces a brand-new villain, Lady Arkham, but you’ll also have to choose how you interact with Two-Face, Catwoman, the Penguin and a handful of other mainstay antagonists.
Batman: The Enemy Within
Batman: The Telltale Series pioneered an interesting formula for the Dark Knight, but Batman: The Enemy Within perfected it. This sequel to the first Telltale series casts you as Batman/Bruce Wayne once again, and you’ll spend plenty of time playing as both alter-egos. This time around, the game ups the villain roster, including appearances from The Riddler, Bane, Mr. Freeze and Harley Quinn. The game’s unique twist, however, is that while everything leads up to a confrontation with the Joker, you can completely define your relationship with him before that. Depending on your choices, Bruce and the Joker might be bitter enemies, former friends or anything in-between.
DC Universe Online
While DC Universe Online isn’t just a Batman game, the Dark Knight does play a big role in it. In this massively multiplayer online RPG, you’ll create your own superhero and set off into a huge, detailed world based on the DC comics continuity. If you create a good-aligned hero with tech-based powers, Batman acts as your mentor during the game, giving you quests and helping you develop your abilities as you go. He also plays a pivotal role in the game’s main story, which involves a loose alliance of heroes and villains, all trying to prevent a future where Brainiac has conquered Earth.
To be scrupulously fair, Gotham Knights might be a stretch for the “best” Batman games. But our Gotham Knights review was more positive than negative, citing the game’s satisfying gameplay, varied protagonists and detailed take on Gotham City. The premise this time around is that Batman has died, and it’s up to his four protégés — Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl and Robin — to protect Gotham City in his wake.
The game’s structure can get grindy, and the story doesn’t make the most of its creative premise. But there’s still enough good stuff in the game to merit a look, including submissions that let you face off against Clayface, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze and more.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us is arguably more of a general DC comics game, but Batman plays a pivotal role (possibly the pivotal role) in the story. This fighting game pits a roster of DC superheroes and supervillains against versions of themselves from a parallel universe, where Superman is a tyrant and the Justice League has disbanded. Batman, the Joker and Harley Quinn all have respectable roles in the main story, and you can also play as Catwoman, Deathstroke, Batgirl, Bane and Nightwing. The combat system is both satisfying and approachable, meaning that even fighting game neophytes can try this one out.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
There have been a handful of Lego Batman games, and they’re all at least pretty good. But the best of the bunch is probably Lego Batman 2: Super Heroes. Whereas the first game told a fairly rote “Batman fights the villains” story, Lego Batman 2 expanded on the concept with a fully voiced cast of characters, a much more ambitious narrative and the inclusion of the whole Justice League. Like most franchised Lego games, Lego Batman 2 is a co-op action/adventure title that’s simple enough for kids to pick up, but with enough depth to keep their parents entertained as well.
Perhaps it’s cheating to include MultiVersus, since it’s not technically a Batman game — or even a DC game. But this free-to-play brawler is too much fun to ignore. Much as Super Smash Bros. brought together all the disparate Nintendo franchises for a four-person fighting game, MultiVersus plumbs the depths of the Warner Bros. catalog. That means you can pit Batman against Bugs Bunny, Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and Arya Stark — and yet somehow, the whole thing feels cohesive. With an instantly magnetic art style and surprisingly balanced gameplay, MultiVersus has a lot to offer, especially since it doesn’t cost anything to play the game, and the microtransactions feel fair, as these things go.