When you think of a Batman-based game, what comes to mind? The Arkham series might be a good contender, as these action games are critically acclaimed and some of the most recent tales of the hero’s adventures. You might consider Lego Batman, again a series that’s very active and dedicated to beat’em up exploits. There are similar games like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman Begins, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, or even Batman Forever. What do these have in common? They’re conventional. They have Batman going around and beating up tons of enemies. Which is great. Some of those are fantastic games. But, it’s the more recent and unconventional Batman games that sometimes really excel.
The impetus for this is Batman: Arkham VR, of course. The former PlayStation V exclusive is headed to other VR headsets. This means more people are going to get to see and appreciate a game that’s often more a Batman experience. This allows us to see what it’s like to be inside Bruce Wayne’s head. We deal with enemies and investigations firsthand. We are the ones using his tool and checking out a crime scene. It’s a more thoughtful experience, one that requires a bit of care others don’t offer. There’s a sense of ambiance here that makes people really appreciate what being the Bat is like.
Batman: The Telltale Series is another thoughtful approach to Batman. This point-and-click adventure game rather equally divides the story up between Bruce Wayne and Batman. We choose who handles a situation and how. We see how the hero’s decisions influence his life, as well as people in Gotham’s. While there are some fight scenes and battles, they’re handled with quick time events and aren’t the main focus. The real attention is paid to the choices Bruce Wayne/Batman will be making and the impact his mind and sense of justice has on the stories. It’s enlightening.
Even the Injustice series could be seen as a means of offering a different view of Batman. In most typical games, Batman is going through a horde of missions and fighting enemy after enemy. It’s very rarely a one-on-one fight. In Injustice and Injustice 2, we have situations where Batman is getting a chance to get into an elaborate fight with one other person. Even more interesting, that person could be someone we’ve long considered an ally or friend. It offers the idea that heroes don’t always agree, something that doesn’t get to generally be explored in more traditional games.
I mean, at this rate imagine the games we could get. There’s a part of me that secretly hopes there’ll be some sort of Batman dating simulator. This could go either way. There could be one where Batman could date characters like Catwoman or Harley Quinn. Or, there could be one where players are Catwoman and have to decide between Batman and Bruce Wayne. There’s a whole wealth of titles that could build on the variety the series encourages. What about a game where you’re helping him develop tools he can use to fight crime? Or maybe even a Bruce Wayne business management sim.
Being Batman is great. He’s an amazing character. But what’s even more amazing is all the games being released that acknowledge the fact that he isn’t always fighting his way through hordes of enemies. Batman can be a more strategic and thoughtful hero. Games like Batman: Arkham VR and Batman: The Telltale Series acknowledge this. Even the Injustice series offers a slightly different view, by having him go one-on-one against iconic opponents. These games offer a better look at the caped crusader’s other aspects.