DC might have an extremely inconsistent record in the movie business, but when it comes to games, there have been a lot of stellar releases. Just as with Marvel properties, many of the existing DC comic offerings lend themselves well to the medium.

Though Batman is obviously the big draw, there’s a lot more to DC than The Dark Knight, and the universe is jam-packed with cool characters and even better concepts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the company’s infamous inclination towards dark, noir aesthetics lends itself well to games across several genres. 

This is clearly something that publishers and developers have realized over the years. At the time of writing, there are over 100 licensed DC games — including 52 Batman games.

So, with that in mind, we’ve taken a look through DC’s back catalog to bring you Dexerto’s picks for the top 10 DC games of all time. 

10. Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)

When it was first announced, Batman: Arkham Origins seemingly had everything going for it. As the third mainline installment in the Arkham series, it was released hot on the heels of the brilliant Arkham City (more on that later). It also had a profoundly tempting premise, set nine years before Arkham Asylum, as peerless assassins hunt a young brash Batman.

In execution, Origins, unfortunately, felt more like an expansion than a complete game. It took the brilliant systems of the previous entry and made them slightly worse, bringing little in the way of innovation or progress. That said, it started with a solid foundation and remains a decent Batman game, if nothing else. 

9. The Wolf Among Us (2013)

In what is inevitably going to be a list laden with Batman titles, The Wolf Among Us stands out as the most significant departure from the usual formula. Telltale’s signature style lends itself well to a game based on the Fables series published under DC’s Vertigo imprint. 

The story follows Bigby Wolf, a detective investigating a series of murders in an enclave of Manhattan known as Fabletown. The game features a host of recognizable fairy tale characters and a story that’s equal parts fascinating and appropriately bleak. The simplistic narrative nature of Telltale Games is not for everyone, but this is arguably one of their best efforts.

8. DC Universe Online (2011)

The practicalities of an MMORPG should never be underestimated, and DC Universe Online had a gargantuan task in its attempted translation of the DCU. That said, developer Dimensional Ink Games did an admirable job making it a reality, and the game has maintained a healthy community some thirteen years since its original release.

The game undoubtedly has its issues, but it’s the only one on this list that lets players create their own hero or villain before venturing into the world. Technically, it can be a little unreliable, and it certainly won’t be for everyone, but for those looking to get together with friends and fight stuff, there are few better options than DCUO.

7. Batman: The Video Game (1989)

Heading all the way back to 1989, Batman: The Video Game is as difficult as it is fun to play. The game is a loose adaptation of the ever-controversial Tim Burton Batman film, but don’t let that color your opinion of this impressive retro release. The game is essentially a side scroller of the ilk of many games of that era.

That said, it does an impressive job of capturing the Batman aesthetic, particularly considering the technical limitations of the time. The other major thing to note is that it’s a contender for one of the hardest games ever. Having personally booted this up less than six months ago, it was a crushing indictment of my overall ability to beat games. Highly recommend.

6. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)

NetherRealm Studios

In hindsight, it seems scarcely believable that it took as long as it did to get a standalone DC fighting game (notwithstanding the 2D Justice League Task Force on the SNES). When it did finally arrive, Injustice immediately secured a position as one of the best genre entries of the early 2010s. 

2008’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe laid out the pattern before NetherRealm Studios picked up the same ball and ran with it here. The game’s story mode was genuinely an interesting take on Superman’s character, and the locales for each fight quickly became iconic. With super meters and combos galore, there was a lot for traditional fighting game fans to get into, and Injustice toed that line expertly. 

5. Batman: The Enemy Within (2017)

Telltale Game Studios

The second appearance from Telltale Games on this list, Batman: The Enemy Within, successfully manages to improve on an already respectable original. As a direct sequel, those who enjoyed the original should know what to expect. Having said that, the story is a lot tighter and more interesting to work through.

The game’s biggest win comes in the form of its main villain. The Joker is so ubiquitous that it can feel a little tiring. Not so in The Enemy Within, which, without wishing to spoil anything, breathes significant life into the character, expertly assisted by a pitch-perfect performance from Anthony Ingruber. Both Telltale Batman games are worth playing, but The Enemy Within is undoubtedly the best.

4. Injustice 2 (2017)

The 2017 sequel to the lauded Injustice: Gods Among Us took everything the first game offered and improved it in almost every area. The combat is significantly tighter and at the same time, more fluid, offering players more ways to fight as their favorite heroes.

Though the game largely follows the same path as the first, there were some significant changes to online multiplayer. In Injustice 2, players are able to upgrade their fighters by earning points and buying gear. This grants a unique squad that makes every encounter with an online foe feel different. The best DC fighting game ever.

3. Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)

Rocksteady Studios

The second of the Arkham series to appear on this list, Arkham Knight is an objectively impressive game. Though it’s undoubtedly more ambitious than either of the other two games in this list, it did have some issues with execution that hold it back from progressing any higher. 

The brutal beat-em-up combat remains impressive, and the vehicle elements are good fun now that the major issues have been patched out. The story is arguably the least engrossing of the three, but it still serves its purpose as a memorable conclusion to a stunning trilogy of games.

2. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

Rocksteady Studios

The game that started it all, Batman: Arkham Asylum, holds up remarkably well, considering it’s approaching its 15th anniversary. It’s a considerably smaller game than the myriad sequels it spawned but it’s immeasurably successful in everything it tries to do more generally.

The story is quintessential Batman, introducing some of the most iconic villains in the various comic’s histories. The brutal feeling the combat gives to the player would go on to define the series for years to come, with very few alterations along the way. As action-adventure games go, Arkham Asylum is an all-time great.

1. Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Rocksteady Studios

Just marginally beating out the game that started it all, Arkham City is a remarkable expansion of the original formula. The ability to travel around a sprawling rendition of Gotham immediately elevates it above the competition, driving home the idea that Batman is a lone figure in a city filled with nefarious actors. 

Rocksteady Studios clearly realized the brilliance of the first game and did little to alter that significantly, instead choosing to tighten the existing systems and add to them where appropriate. Arkham City is as close as any Batman game has come to perfection, and there’s a solid argument that it is one of the best superhero games of all time. Arkham City is worth revisiting today; there is no better way to take on the mantle of the Caped Crusader.

This list was produced as part of Dexerto’s HeroFest, a week celebrating all things superheroic. Check out the full HeroFest schedule here.

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