A lot of people like to argue about which Arkham game is the best Arkham game. On one side of the fence are the fans who adore Arkham Asylum, the Metroidvania-esque debut that put developer Rocksteady Studios on the map, while the other side consists of folks with a special love for Arkham City, the sequel that let Batman loose in an open-world environment for the first time. Asylum vs. City has primarily been the argument for some time now, but with Arkham Knight recently bursting onto the scene to critical acclaim, we may be hearing very different debates from here on out. Since everyone has an opinion, even us, we've decided to weigh in and rank the entire series from our perspective.
So, based on overall quality and fun factor, here's how we think the Arkham games stack up.
5. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Undoubtedly the weakest effort with the Arkham name attached to it, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate tried to compress the whole Arkham experience into a 2.5D Metroidvania for handheld consoles, and the result was hit and miss. We thought it turned out to be a worthwhile piece of weekend entertainment, but was ultimately forgettable. When we attempt to recall the most memorable moments, we can't stop thinking about how awful the map system was at communicating the layout of the environment. Because of all the time we spent turned around and perplexed about where to head next, Blackgate is the game that kicks off the countdown in the very last place.
4. Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins gets a lot of flak, but it's actually a solid enough game. It was the story that connected with us the most, and we also loved the presence of lesser-known villains from the Batman universe, especially when these confrontations resulted in formidable battles. The combat sometimes felt disjointed, and the open world wasn't laid out in the most sensible manner, but the campaign was well worth a playthrough. It's a long way from the top, but Origins is all right in our book.
3. Batman: Arkham City
Don't get us wrong, we thought Arkham City was one heck of a thrilling ride, but the open world left us wanting more. That's the major reason this entry in the series sits in the middle of our list and not any higher. We still consider it one of the best games to release last gen, though, so that says a ton about what it does so well. The interactions with Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, and Ra's al Ghul were just a few of the highlights that we won't soon forget, and we suspect we'll continue to regard them as some of our favourite Bat-moments for years to come. If only a game came along that expanded on the promising foundation that Arkham City established...
2. Batman: Arkham Knight
We've just completed 100% of what Arkham Knight has to offer, and we're already ready to jump into New Game+ mode. If that doesn't convey our enjoyment of Rocksteady's Arkham finale, we don't know what will. While we found that Arkham City was an impressive attempt at presenting the duties of Batman in an open-world format, we thought that it was missing something. Arkham Knight injects the Batmobile into that void, and the end result is an action-packed adventure that truly immerses you in the role of The Dark Knight better than any piece of entertainment before it.
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
The game that started it all is still our favourite of the Arkham series. Arkham Asylum might not have an open world like its successors, but it's the most cohesive, focused of the lot. It's been on the market for six years now, and we still feel wowed by how its ambition, inventiveness, and quality took us by surprise when it launched. Rocksteady not only gave Batman the video game treatment he deserved, they also crafted one of the best action-adventure games we've ever played. We're crazy for Arkham Asylum, and it undoubtedly deserves the top spot on this list.
After you've voted for your favourite of the Arkham games in our poll just above, grapple into the comments below to tell us how you'd rank every entry in the series. Are you an Asylum nut, or are you on the City committee? Has Knight fallen over the top of your list, or is it one of the Origins games that has risen to the occasion? Leave a detailed and comprehensive report below.