The rules: they all have to be natively on PC (no emulators!), and Batman has to be the main character. Unfortunately that eliminates a fair amount of games, but don’t worry, we’ve still got enough! And hey, at the very least you’ll see how we rank the Arkham series. So please take a leap off that building before dramatically firing a grapple gun at The Top 10 Batman Games on PC!
Injustice: Gods Among Us
The excellent beat-em-up from the developers of Mortal Kombat boasts an excellent story mode and wonderful 2D fighter mechanics, plus the PC version is the Gold Edition so contains all the DLC. However a shaky online mode on PC and the more recent competitor seals this one to the Runners-Ups.
The Scribblenauts series are puzzle games where you can type anything, like “Red Farting Cthulhu”, and it appears. Sadly once it hit the DC-themed third game players had pretty much had their fill of it. Which is a shame, because Unmasked is filled with much love for DC Comics.
Batman: The Telltale Series
The focus on Bruce Wayne from his pre-Joker Batman days, making mistakes and ticking off mobsters, the hints at a larger unfolding plan, the compelling new takes on classic villains such as Catwoman and the Penguin, and the excellent planning and detective moments were all great - but it's been superseded by another title...
Gotham City Imposters
This now F2P shooter has fake Batman and Joker gangs battling in the streets of Gotham and is a lot of fun. It got overlooked when it first came out, probably due to requiring money, even though it was developed by F.E.A.R., Condemned and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor maker Monolith. You don’t actually play as Batman though, so it stays off the list.
LEGO DC Super Villains
Possibly the best LEGO comic book game, with a gigantic play area encompassing Gotham City, Metropolis, Smallville, Apokolips and more, and if you're a DC fan you should really pick it up. However, despite bringing back Kevin Conroy as Batman, he's really a side-character. This one's about the villains...
DC Universe Online
A pretty excellent MMO that’s of course also now F2P, with Batman and the Joker playing prominent roles, DCUO is well worth a look and is one of the best DC Comics games on PC - but the absurd monetization walls it off the list.
Why It’s Here: Please welcome the first Arkham game on this list. Originally a handheld-only tie-in for Arkham Origins, Blackgate was given an improved PC and console port. On paper it’s superb – the Arkham gameplay translated to 2D in the form of a proper Metroidvania by a team made of veterans from the excellent Metroid Prime series, set in the other Gotham prison - that also had been taken over by villains such as the Joker, Penguin and Black Mask. It’s certainly an interesting adventure and the gameplay actually has been translated well from 3D to 2D - plus it has all the Origins voice actors, including Troy Baker’s excellent Mark Hamill Joker impression.
Why It’s Not Higher: Sadly unlike Arkham Asylum Blackgate is incredibly dull to explore with every area looking the same, all black and drab and lifeless. Consequently the back-and-forth gameplay soon loses its spark and the whole thing becomes boring.
9. BATMAN VENGEANCE
Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal Release: 2001 (consoles) / 2002 (PC)
Why It’s Here: The first 3D game based on Batman: The Animated Series was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and featured an original story performed by the excellent voice cast from the show - including Kevin Conroy’s Batman, Mark Hamill’s Joker, Michael Ansara’s Mr. Freeze, Arleen Sorkin’s Harley Quinn and Tara Strong’s Batgirl. While undoubtedly a simple linear game with a lot of different gameplay styles it’s certainly highly playable, and the idea of playing through lost episodes of the iconic show was enough to spur us on. It worked without any hassle on Windows 10 64-Bit.
Why It’s Not Higher: For starters, the controls on PC utterly suck. If you use mouse and keyboard you’ll be expected to press Delete to climb ladders or End to jump or glide. A gamepad doesn’t make things much easier, as the game will cheerfully tell you that Jump is assigned to “Button 3” so igniting a frantic mash of all buttons to find it. The camera’s either uncontrollable or painful, and having a first-person mode is nice until you realize that the game wasn’t built with dual analogue sticks in mind.
Why It’s Here: If you’re a DC fan and don’t mind the LEGO formula, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is pure fanbait. The fun story covers every angle of the DC universe and is filled with a deep love for the comics. There’s 100+ characters to unlock with their own unique abilities, many missions, hidden bonuses, co-op, and tons of replay value. It’s our personal favourite LEGO game, but it’s not necessarily the highest on this list… however, it’s the only game here with the voice of Adam West.
Why It’s Not Higher: Despite being excellent it’s the third LEGO Batman game so the formula is getting a little tired, even by LEGO videogame standards. Furthermore TT Games decided not to have the free-roaming hub that made LEGO Batman 2 and LEGO DC Super Villains so compelling, instead just featuring a number of smaller hubs that are a bit of a pain to navigate. More to the point though, LEGO Batman 3 skirts the edges of this list by only just being a Batman game – in reality it’s more a celebration of the entire DC Comics multiverse.
Why It’s Here: The final chapter of Rocksteady’s epic Arkham trilogy is a truly excellent game. There’s a proper open-world Gotham City complete with Batmobile, next-gen graphics, every villain you can think of (except Bane for some reason), and a truly inspired use of the Joker. The gameplay has been polished to perfection, the challenge is just right, Gotham City looks gorgeous and is crammed with detail, and there’s a heck of a lot to do in it. If we were going to play a Batman game now, it’ll probably be this one.
Why It’s Not Higher: It cannot be underestimated how badly Warner Bros screwed up the PC version, and some people still struggle with slowdown. That aside, the story is just plain boring. Rocksteady chose not to ask for veteran writer Paul Dini’s assistance this time and instead proved just why he’s so good, scripting a highly predictable tale with dull lines ("over my dead body", "I believe that was the idea"), blatantly obvious twists, and an ending that Batman could’ve got out of in a million different ways other than the one he went with. Oh, and the Batmobile felt like it belonged in a totally different game and the Riddler had a giant mech suit.
Why It’s Here: Yes, the non-Rocksteady Arkham gets in higher than Arkham Knight. The gameplay is much the same greatness as in Arkham City except we’re in an open-world Gotham for the first time, there are some great setpieces (the Deathstroke and Firefly battles for example), and there’s no Batmobile to be seen. However it’s the story that puts Origins firmly ahead of Knight, with several cool twists that build into Batman’s first meeting with the Joker - before flipping the script and bringing another villain to the forefront, a superb retelling of Batman lore. The game has a few flaws, but the great gameplay is unimpeded. Shame the excellent multiplayer is offline now.
Why It’s Not Higher: A couple of big problems nearly let Knight steal this spot. In terms of level design, Origins just doesn’t quite feel as detailed or as polished as a Rocksteady title - with plenty of areas that Batman can’t grapple on to and a giant boring bridge bisecting the map. However it’s the bugs that let the game down, which are still prevalent and are never going to be fixed.
Why It’s Here: Think of the ultimate Batman game. Maybe you’ll imagine a giant free-roaming Gotham City with actual pedestrians rather than just criminals and where you can head out of the city to Arkham Asylum, Wayne Manor, the carnival, and the Batcave. Where you can control every Bat-vehicle, the Batmobile is really cool rather than a murder tank, and you can drive all of them (even the Batwing and Batboat) out of the Batcave all the way to the centre of town. How about being able to unlock and control every Batman character including the villains, and even the Justice League? Danny Elfman doing the soundtrack, apart from when Superman flies where John Williams plays instead?
This is LEGO Batman 2. Yes the story’s not quite as DC-centric as Beyond Gotham, but it features a full Gotham City to explore and is far more Batman-centric. That said, it’s also still probably the best Superman game ever made...
Why It’s Not Higher: It’s still a LEGO game, and TT Games would take everything they learned from LEGO Batman 2 and make the superior LEGO Marvel Superheroes and LEGO DC Super Villains - which isn't really a Batman game. Gotham just isn’t as interesting as it could’ve been, really feeling like it needed to be 10% smaller and with 15% more things to do. So despite being a laundry list for the greatest Batman game ever it still basically ended up with the same flaws as Arkham Origins, except less buggy.
4. BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN
Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games Release: 2017
Why It’s Here: It may have been the last full game Telltale released before closing (Walking Dead's Final Season was completed afterwards) but it's probably Telltale's best series ever. It builds wonderfully from Telltale's alternate take on Batman history in the first season, with some incredible new takes on The Riddler and Harley Quinn. Best of all though, the series focuses on the rise of the Joker, and through choices players get to craft their own take on the Clown Prince of Crime - to the point where he might not even be a criminal! The series also explores Bruce Wayne as much as his alter-ego, and it all leads to an ending that can play out very differently, depending on how you tackled the previous episodes.
Why It’s Not Higher: For a lot of people the Telltale formula got a little stale, or at least the engine was, which is part of the reason why the studio closed. Nevertheless, at this position and the quality of the games ahead, an entirely story-focused Batman game as the fourth best Batman game ever is great.
Why It’s Here: It may not be fully Batman, but Injustice 2 is both one of the finest fighting games ever made and one of the best DC Comics games ever made. The sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us has Batman trying to put the world back together while sending the few remaining non-evil heroes out to fight - but when a new global threat comes forth Batman will have to rely on the corrupted Superman and his former team once again. Come for the wonderful story mode, stay for the epic and very satisfying fights.
Why It’s Not Higher: Technically speaking it's not just a Batman game, it's a full DC Comics game. While he is arguably the main character, you don't play Batman all the time. Furthermore, there are two better games that honour everything DC and Batman while still just sticking exclusively to letting the player play as the Dark Knight...
Why It’s Here: For a glorious period, 2008-2009, Batman was the biggest and the best franchise in three different mediums. The Dark Knight was the greatest superhero movie of all time and one of the best movies of 2008, Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder made Batman comics the best around, and a little game from the UK’s unknown Rocksteady Studios became the best videogame of 2009. Arkham Asylum was a work of sheer cleverness and love, confining Batman to the iconic Arkham grounds and turning it into a mix of Bioshock and Metroid. Paul Dini’s writing nailed the characters, the Animated Series voice cast stole the show, and the amazing combat system became the template for a million games to copy. Arkham Asylum changed gaming as we know it and it’s as important to the medium as Super Mario Bros or Half-Life. Most importantly, it just got Batman right in a way no game had before.
Why It’s Not Higher: We’re sure there will be disagreements. However, while a truly classic game it’s not quite the perfect Batman game. Many of Batman’s best villains, including Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face and Mr. Freeze, do not make an appearance. It’s not really free-roaming and just getting from the front door of the Asylum to the back requires a lot of trekking. Most importantly the constant Titan fights and boss battles were the worst sort of videogame-y bulls*** around, with the overlong Killer Croc fight and the stupid Titan Joker finale in particular standing out for being annoying. A superb game, but not without flaws.
Which leaves us with our Number One Best Batman Game on PC…
1. BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Developer/Publisher: Rocksteady/Warner Bros Interactive Release: 2011 Why It’s The Best Batman Game Ever: Asylum set the template for a perfect Batman game and City bust it wide open. Everything that made Asylum great – Paul Dini on writing duties, the voice cast, the combat, the stealth, the perfect level design – was back and ramped up. The story has numerous excellent twists, most of which involved roping in the whole of Batman’s excellent rogues gallery. The voice cast has been expanded to bring in Maurice LaMarche (Mr Freeze), Corey Burton (Hugo Strange), Nolan North (The Penguin), and Tara Strong (Harley Quinn). The combat has been improved with a range of new quick-fire gadgets such as the ice grenade. The Riddler challenges would never get better, with some cool challenge rooms.
More than that though, the ingenious decision to turn a slice of Gotham City into an open prison allowed Rocksteady to have their cake and eat it – a place filled with prisoners to beat up within set walls and yet still be a free-roaming city. There isn’t a boring moment in the entire game, and from shocking start to equally shocking finish you’ll be utterly hooked. While it is arguable whether Arkham Asylum is the better game, Arkham City is the better Batman experience. Everything you could possibly want from a non-LEGO Batman game is here, sans perhaps the Batmobile – and we know how well that turned out. It is, in short, the best Batman game on PC.
Then again, that’s our opinion. Please feel free to chime in with your opinion in the comments below. Merry Batman Day one and all! Save me a wing.
About Chris J Capel
Chris joined us in 2011 and loves Star Wars, comics and bad videogame movies.