This is Objection Network’s countdown of the top 25 video game series of all-time. We’re counting down to the best franchise ever on March 31. For more info on the voting process, click here.
13) Batman: Arkham (2 votes, 99 points)
Chris: Batman has had such a tumultuous ride through pop culture, especially with video games and movies. There are some extreme highs and lows throughout his history, from the solid LEGO entries to that awful N64 Batman Beyond game, from the Nolan trilogy to the irredeemably terrible Batman and Robin. Very few entries get Batman right.
The Arkham series, which stands on its own because of how different it is from most other Batman games to that point, gets Batman right.
The tone is important. The Arkham games are serious without being boring, and they have little moments of humor that are solely missing from other DC properties. They are scary without being campy — consider how Scarecrow’s little portions of Asylum are among the best sequences in gaming. They have bestowed upon us (or, depending on your point of view, cursed us with) a robust detective vision mechanic that makes investigating actually FEEL like you’re the world’s greatest detective.
Bonus points for the series bringing back some of the heavy hitters from The Animated Series like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do the voices — I found it to be a tremendous boost in immersion, and I don’t think anybody captures the Joker’s manic, dark nature like Mark Hamill.
Shaun: Arkham showed up on my own list surprisingly high, and seeing it as 13 here? I’m pretty okay with it. This series is, at a minimum, three games deep, and more if you count VR experiences and entries developed by other studios (which I do). The stealth gameplay is top notch, and they just understand the character — you FEEL like Batman each time you don the cape.
What elevates the series for me is the story. In my opinion, outside of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Arkham represents one of the best Batman yarns that has ever been created. Each one explores the character of old Batsy himself, diving deep into the psychology of the man behind the cowl, and presents him with choices that test his resolve. The villains are captivating and the stuff of nightmares, the story is always engaging and interesting, and the writing is top notch. For nothing else, Rocksteady deserves credit for putting together the pieces that have given the world some of the best Bat-tales we’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing.
Now they just need to get started on that Batman Beyond game.
Cary: I swear to god that I WILL play Arkham Knight someday, but I can’t say enough good things about Asylum, City, and even the red-headed stepchild, Origins. I’m a little surprised at how high this series made it in the list because…well, they’re great games, surely, but I don’t know that they’re as readily accessible as, say, something like the Uncharted series. I mean, Batman has a pretty specific fanbase, and players kind of need to understand something about its lore in order to get the most out of the games. Nathan Drake, in essence, is just a dude with guns – that’s pretty standard gaming fare. But it’s that specificity that sets the Batman: Arkham series apart from all the “dude with guns” games. Not only does Batman not have guns, but he lives in a very particular (and peculiar) universe. It’s really good stuff all around.
(14) Metal Gear
(18) Saints Row
(20) The Sims
(21) Grand Theft Auto
(23) Animal Crossing
(24) Silent Hill
(25) Donkey Kong