I have some friends who asked me what is a good PC game to start with. After all, I’ve never owned a single console in my life. (I had a Wii, and let’s not talk about that.)
Without a doubt, the first few games I would recommend anyone to play would be the Batman Arkham series consisting of Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman Arkham City, Batman Arkham Origins, and the latest addition Batman Arkham Knight. Each of them are awesome standalone games with a compelling storyline, awesome-to-do side quests, and a kickass experience of beating up criminals and solving mysteries. In essence, this game truly allows you to act and feel as Batman himself as you instill fear into the heart of criminals, just like how Batman in the comics would.
Let’s go through each series one-by-one:
Batman Arkham Asylum
This series tore through expectations when it was released. Much like how comic adaptations of superheroes usually turn out bad (almost all Spiderman games fall into this trap save Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman), this game wasn’t given more than a glance either. But when you played it, you KNEW something was going to be different. With hyper-realistic graphics, voice acting and cinema-worthy introduction, this was the game to be playing. With almost 2 million copies sold within a month, this game proved itself worthy as an upcoming standalone franchise. Source here.
Batman Arkham Asylum takes you through Joker’s Madhouse, which is basically Arkham Asylum infiltrated and reprogrammed into a trick house by none other than the clown prince of crime himself. You even get to face many famous criminals like Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, etc. (The Scarecrow part was honestly one of the best play-throughs I’ve ever.. played through.)
Gameplay was solid, with one of the most fluid combat systems ever created. Even newer game titles started copying the mechanic, where most notable mentions were Shadows of Mordor and Sleeping Dogs. Arkham Asylum also introduced a new stealth mechanic (back then) which was really fun to play, allowing you to strike fear into the baddies as Batman, which was refreshing compared to the dominating Assassin’s Creed mechanics at that time. As you can probably already tell, I had so much fun during the stealth scenes.
Definitely a must play, especially for Batman and Gotham TV series fans.
Batman Arkham City
As experienced gamers already know, sequels usually end up worse. As such, we braced for the derailment of what would have been Arkham City (at least I did). Nonetheless, I gave it a spin and the experience was easily much greater than the first game.
The formula is kept constant. Rocksteady really paid heed to the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The same combat and stealth mechanics were employed and they added a lot more new gadgets into the equation.
Most notable was the addition of an open world concept, where you can now free roam the map while you were getting from objective to objective. Skeptical at first, I tried out the roaming (while also noticing the missing batmobile. Where is it, Batman?!) and to my excitement, the grappling and gliding was exciting, intuitive and loads of fun. Getting from point to point was a blast and I had a LOT of fun.
– Because who needs a suit right?
Another addition was a new playable character: Catwoman. Her mechanics were notably different from Batman’s and her stealth scenes are pretty fun to play as well. You should definitely buy the collector’s edition just to play her. I mean, look at that costume.
Arkham City easily trumped Arkham Asylum, which was already spectacular.
Batman Arkham Origins
This game was, to say the least, a little bit awkward. This game takes us back to the prologue where Bruce Wayne started off as Batman, and faced strong criminal underlords and villians. However, it seemed more like a 3rd installment than a prologue though. The big giveaway was the fact that gadgets that you had to fight to attain in Arkham City were available from the start in Origins.
A bit of oversight there wouldn’t you say Rocksteady?
Nonetheless, the storyline was compelling and all the same formula applies. New villians, a new look, and a not-too-bad voice cast to take over the usual Batman voice. Still a must-play in my opinion, especially if you’re a Batman fan.
Batman Arkham Knight
And finally, we’ve come to the end of the series (Fun fact: I’m not too sure about this, but I vaguely recall Rocksteady saying that this is the end of their trilogy. What happened to Arkham Origins?).
Arkham Knight is the finale of the series that is taking place after a major change in the game’s timeline at the end of Arkham City (no spoilers).
-I also noticed they paid a lot of attention to his lips this time round. Kissable, no?
Everything to the equation is kept intact, which is awesome. So no point elaborating on that here. Batman even sports a cooler Batsuit slightly after the beginning of the game which looks absolutely sick. And as you can already guess from the box cover, a major part of the game (finally) involves the Batmobile! So let’s break down each of the new aspects:
The Batmobile was, sadly, not that easy to control. It reminded me a lot of Watchdogs’s driving mechanism which wasn’t easy to control and slide. This made chase scenes slightly difficult. The only saving point was that the Batmobile could enter in a ‘Tank’ mode which sort of applies the brakes in order to transform. That was so much more intuitive than using the brakes themselves.
I believe I also mentioned previously that the gliding and grappling function was already very intuitive and exciting. The Batmobile downplayed Batman into a GTA-like mechanic of travelling. Personally, as long as the main mission didn’t require a Batmobile, I ended up just grappling my way across the map.
But a new aspect has been added to the game. Firstly, we establish that the main villian of the game is Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight. In case you don’t know who that is, Scarecrow is the villian who uses fear toxins to overwhelm people with fear. What was magnificent of this game was that the entire game centered around fear itself. There are subtle jump scares planted around the map, and a creepy new aspect added that I will not spoil for you. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s as scary as horror games, but the new addition was definitely refreshing.
– I probably shat my pants at this scene. Go find it out for yourself.
Ok I must admit though, I’m mostly a scaredy-cat and these kind of jump scares still frighten me all the way. Nonetheless, the gameplay was too compelling to stop. That HAS to show how awesome the game is.
Another interesting addition was the chance to play many characters in the game. For the first time ever, you get to play ‘dual-play’ with Robin, or beat up baddies with Nightwing as well. Working together with your companions added a whole new gameplay experience that made this an even more spectacular game.
Overall, Arkham Knight once again defied expectations, making it easily one of the best game I’ve played in a long time.
So here ends my review of the Batman Arkham Series. Have any opinions or disagreements? Leave them in the comment section below!
– And if you ever got too bored, know that you, too, can kick butt as the legendary animated Batman