1. Arkham Knight: Identity Reveal & Azrael
**WARNING: The Following Content Contains Major Spoilers!***
I’ll be blunt, the ending of Arkham Knight was a disappointment. Some endgame events in Arkham City and Arkham Knight seem to have been made with the erroneous assumption that escalation equals quality, but it doesn’t guarantee it at all. The public unmasking of Bruce Wayne changes the whole dynamic of Batman in the Arkham Universe, but does it make that universe better? Did it bring closure? Did it make people want another Arkham game? I know Wayne Manor exploded as a nod to “The Dark Knight Returns”, but was it done in the right context or for cheap dramatic effect only? And why is Batman considering passing the mantle over to this unknown jerkass Azrael over his personally trained and entrusted wards? WTF? Drake and Grayson are much better options but the story sometimes sacrificed good sense for more characters.
12. Arkham Knight: So, Does Jason Todd Want to Kill Batman or Not???
So without getting into specifics…does Jason want Bruce to be spared, weathered down, humiliated and THEN killed? Or does he want Batman to be blown to crap in his Batmobile during the very first mission? One moment he’s trying to pump live rounds into Bat’s face, the next he’s telling his goons to stand down, next he’s screaming into his coms that he wants the Bat DEAD, and the next he’s sparing him at gunpoint. I’d like to believe it’s due to Jason being unhinged and conflicted due to his abuse at the hands of Joker, but unfortunately it just comes off as inconsistent, lazy writing.
13. Arkham Origins: Combat Was Tweaked Too Much.
In my minority opinion, Arkham Origins is a very worthy installment in the series and provides some of the best moments, but the combat did get futzed with a bit too much. I kept wanting to yell at the screen during my first Origins playthrough…ok, I would frequently tell my TV that it “effing had no father”. It’s not a massive difference, but combat in City and Origins have enough timing differences that I would say that Arkham City is superior to its successor in that department. Hours and HOURS of play proved that it wasn’t just me, it looks like the devs changed the distance Batman could cover in between attacks, but his strike animations wouldn’t always land at the end, so you’d whiff. When I first played Origins, I’d have to go back and play City just to make sure my skill hadn’t gone to crap without my say so. However, this is nothing a player can’t get used to over time and Origins ended up being one hell of a game.
14. Arkham Origins: “Initiation” DLC Was a Particularly Lazy Cash-Grab
Playing Bruce Wayne as a ninja is pretty awesome, I guess (but isn’t he always a ninja?). Seeing him fight ninjas is awesome I guess, but having no real story behind a full priced DLC is weak sauce. This DLC offered some new visuals, practice areas and a boss fight with Shiva, but it was pretty throwaway.
15. Arkham City: Two-Face Was Underused
What a nightmare it must have been, or maybe it was really fun (or both) to look at the giant rogues gallery of Batman villains and decide who was going to get the ole shaft. Never in my dreams would I have picked Two-Face to get the cold shoulder but he did, both sides of him. And when Two-Face does make an appearance he’s just another guy to punch in the faces, this is true for both City and Origins. Roman Sionis in Origins was done better in my opinion than Dent. The only positive things I can say about Two-Face in the Arkham series is that he looks great and he says interesting things to Batman. That’s it, everything else with Harvey Dent is filler missions and fodder battles (fun stuff, but filler) and I wish it wasn’t so. If done right, Two-Face should be much more than a couple of punching bags.
16. Arkham City: Joker’s Death (Though it Made Arkham Knight AWESOME)
Witnessing Joker’s newly dead body being carried out of the historically important Monarch Theatre by a stoic and silent Batman, an act of which eerily symbolized the beautiful and handsomely framed painting of the brothers Cain and Abel at the beginning of the gaming venture felt as convoluted as this sentence. So Ra’s is impaled and dead, Hugo Strange is dead, Talia is dead, that thug I left face first in a pile of trash by the courthouse after I broke his torso bones is probably dead, and now Joker is dead; my brain was in an overstimulated panic waiting for Alfred to call up and say he’s dead too. The final chapter of Arkham City is an amazing mess, and I can’t help but feel, as it was with so many other choices made concerning Arkham City’s main narrative, that Joker died because big budget forces required it. There’s not much emotion evoked here for me; Hugo Strange’s death felt a little more tragic and real, Joker’s death felt pretty empty and rushed. With that said, because Joker died we got the “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” DLC and Arkham Knight got Harley’s Panessa Studios mission AND Mark Hamill returned as the Joker hallucination. So it was a blessing in disguise (for us, not Bats).
17. Arkham Origins: Blackgate
NO comment besides my dumb fanboy-ass beat that steaming pile of shit once.
18. Arkham 2-4: Gotham Islands Layout Makes NO Sense/Aren’t Functional Cities
All the cities in the Arkham series allow for the cathartic gaming experience of beating scumbags from one side of the map to the other, but they don’t really bring to the table an important aspect of vigilante crime fighting: the presence of innocent people. It’s true that Batman saves many hostages during the Arkham games, but the series tries its hardest to not have to deal with a fully populated urban environment. Instead we have cities that are breathtaking to look at and play through but in the end, they feel like large movie sets devoid of the very people Batman is trying to protect. This is very forgivable for Arkham City, it was the first game to try to put Batman in a pseudo-sandbox style of game and also the story of the game requires the buildings to be sectioned off from the main city. Origins doesn’t get as free of a pass since it recycled half of its predecessor’s city layout. True, the other half added more large buildings, but you never see any civilians that aren’t bad guys, not even through the windows. The city isn’t evacuated, there is just a cold-ass blizzard outside. Having a kid wave through his window at you fly past, or a couple watching TV in their living room, anything, would have been a nice touch, but there’s nothing. I sometimes chuckle to myself when Batman is trying to solve murder cases in Origins (detective mode was really fun btw), apparently there are civilians being freshly killed in the streets, but we never see any normal people walking around. Arkham Knight’s city layout is perfectly designed for twisty, turny Batmobile missions (that we didn’t really want) but little else; damn fun place to fight and fly in though.
19. Detail Nitpicks
Nitpick 1: Arkham Origins has one of my least favorite quotes from the Arkham games: Batman says to Alfred: “Not may be! I am! When the mugger or the thief stops to think twice, that is fear. That is what I am! That is why they hired assassins-because I am the reason the criminals breathe easier when the sun rises. So no, Alfred, I am NOT in over my head! Tonight won’t be my end, but it will be theirs!”
- Strike one: muggers and thieves are bottom feeders on Batman’s list, if elite assassins are after Bruce, it’s because he has pissed off crime syndicates and corrupt entities influencing the justice system (or a supervillain).
- Strike two: Batman uses fear as a tool, but what Bruce really wants Batman to be is a vehicle of hope, a reference the people can use as they take back power from the scum running the city.
- Strike three, Alfred and Batman would know this shit by now, just because Bruce is young during Origins doesn’t mean he’s dumb.
Nitpick 2 Arkham Origins: Yo Brucie, you just gonna leave that poor girl unwillingly dressed up as Alice crying alone with the knocked out body of the guy who probably just gave her lifelong trauma?! I hated that with all my black soul! Show a quick cutscene of Batman taking her to safety FFS.
Nitpick 3: It was always a nice touch by the team to add battle damage as the story progresses in all of the Arkham games, but it would have been a great option to turn it off, especially for players who spend hours upon hours messing around in the city.
Nitpick 4: You’re using your real names on coms while fighting criminals who could possibly hack your shit and hear you and record your voice? I wanna know Alfred’s codename (I’d pick “Albatross”)
Nitpick 5 Arkham Origins: Does Batman think Deathstroke will be KO’ed for ETERNITY in the Final Offer? You didn’t tie him up or disarm him or break his legs or personally escort one of the most dangerous assassins on the planet to a concrete con college. I’m sure Bats was like: “Nah, the GCPD will take care of it, I hope he doesn’t get up and leave, aaannnnd he’s gone.” Wow, Arkham Origins. (with tough love I say these things)
Nitpick 6: Hey Batman, stop being a dick to Dick and Tim. Just because he’s a brooding vessel of justice doesn’t mean he always has to be a moody asshole to his friends and family.
Nitpick 7: “Batman: Dark Knight in Distress”. When it comes to the Arkham games, we could probably make a surprisingly impressive montage of all the times Batman is captured or KO’d so that a CG movie can take place. Just kill Bruce and get it over with! YOU’RE NOT the one with the “One Rule”, REMEMBER?!?!
Nitpick 8: Almost ALL “normal” Inmates are built Like Brock Lesner. C’mon, there’s gotta be some tall, swimmer-build inmates somewhere in Gotham’s prison system. Maybe a short, sinewy, scrappy fighter that’s half the size of Batman? No?
Nitpick 9 Arkhman City: Batman telling Riddler puzzle survivors to make their OWN way to the church (there’s also the woman in the Steelmill & the nurse under Wonder Tower). HEY BATMAN, have a heart and take them there yourself, I mean, YOU can barely make it from the Courthouse to the Bowery with your cowl attached, let alone a civvy.
Nitpick 10: Batman (actually) kills EVERYONE & can’t run fast. Batman doesn’t kill, but….I’m pretty sure I just killed that guy after I kicked him with full-force, face first into a truck. Unless his head/neck is coated with adamantium, he’s dead. And that guy over there is probably dead too; I slammed his skull against the pavement so hard that my surround sound speakers just blew. Don’t get me started on Arkham Knight’s Batmobile/tank/murder-machine (electrified armor or not). Also, another small grievance, but Batman runs so effing slow compared to the inmates, it’s annoying but the devs probably thought it necessary for gameplay. It wasn’t.
Nitpick 11: ALL guys with guns are DEADEYES. Yes, Batman should be punished for going up against gunmen without properly thinking about strategy, but they still shouldn’t hit a moving-at-night-dark-clad Bats nearly as much as they do.
Nitpick 12: Repetitive henchmen banter. It’s great banter, but we needed some more of it for as long as these games are.
Nitpick 13: Penguin’s Coke-Bottom Monocle; cool idea on paper, bloody horrible in the game.
20. Honorable Mention: Riddler
This entry isn’t exclusively in the Wrong or Right category, but the endless puzzles made me HATE Riddler’s needling banter even MORE. Wingert as The Riddler should be iconic in video gaming because it’s worth grinding through his challenges just so you can eventually defeat and humiliate him. These brief victories wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying without Wingert’s caustic, migraine-inducing performances. But the punishments for Riddler aren’t enough, the player should be allowed a 5-minute window to unleash the Bat and pummel the Riddler while I curse at the screen. The Batcave sorely needed a VR Riddler dummy to beat up, that would have been cathartic. Although I can understand some players hating the Riddler and not enjoying his challenges whatsoever, that in and of itself is a victory for Edward and Wingert. I personally love to hate everything about Nigma and it wouldn’t be a true Arkham game without him.
Well, that’s it for our retrospective four-parter, thanks for reading! If you would like more Batman-game related content, click here for our “Top 5 Things the Next Free-Roam Batman Game Needs” article!
For Part One of the Arkham game series’ 20 Best click HERE, for Part Two click HERE and for Part One of the Worst click HERE
20 THINGS THE BATMAN ARKHAM GAMES GOT WRONG – PART 2
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