YMMV: Batman: Arkham Series


  • Badass Decay: Its very subtle but you can make a case that Batman undergoes this. In Asylum, he's unstoppable, repels Scarecrow's gas, always manages to Take a Third Option canonically survives a battle with several Titan monsters in a single night and ends up with very little costume damage. The second and third game provides significantly more personal and challenging threats and while Batman does come out on top, it takes a far bigger toll on him physically and mentally and the repeated Run the Gauntlet by the end of the third game leads him to end the series by faking his death and going into hiding, after Scarecrow succeeds in outing his identity. In Asylum, Batman doesn't take much damage but in City he gets knocked out several times in the game and needs to be rescued by Robin in the DLC, and by the time of Knight, he's undergoing serious Sanity Slippage as well.
  • Complete Monster: The Joker serves, in one form or another, as the Big Bad for the first three games, as well as trying to destroy Gotham with a dirty bomb. When he first established himself in Gotham, he forced Black Mask to kill his own girlfriend, then kidnapped and tortured him. After learning Batman won't kill, he strapped himself to an electric chair charged by Bane's heartbeat to force Batman to kill one of them and held Gordon hostage. Over the course of the series, he kills multiple people and tries to kill more (including innocents), sets Bane up to be tortured, freely talks about being physically abusive to Harley Quinn, offers to let his men rape Harley, covers all the usual Bad Boss bases, tries to turn Jim Gordon into a 'roided-up monstrosity, kidnaps Nora Fries to force Mr. Freeze into helping him, blackmails Batman into helping by sending his poisoned blood to hospitals in the Gotham area, and shoots Talia just to hurt Batman. There's also his actions post-mortem with the digital comic, Arkham City: Endgame: He had his minions rig a radio tower within Arkham City to broadcast a message all over Gotham confirming his death, as well as offering a reward of over a million dollars to the person who finds his corpse and deliver it to Harley Quinn, as a way to ensure that the town would "tear itself apart." He also claimed that the walls of Arkham City were still wired with explosives, thus ensuring that the remaining prisoners not only riot within Arkham City in expectation of the walls being blown up, but also, should it have been destroyed, make the rioting in Gotham City even worse with several of the more dangerous inmates participating in wanton destruction. He had Batman lured to the isolation cell that Batman put him in years ago after a particularly heinous massacre he instigated during the Fourth of July where Joker rigged several fireworks with toxins killing hundreds of men, women and children. Finally, he also later revealed that he had Clayface rig the cell, as a means of ensuring that Batman will meet him in Hell.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Arkhamverse version of Harley Quinn is one of the more popular secondary villains, going from a supporting role in the first two games, to being the Big Bad of her own DLC, to being fully playable in Arkham Knight. Harley's portrayal in the games also raised to profile of the comics version.
  • Escapist Character: Batman, as usual.
  • Evil Is Sexy: If you find yourself having the hots for Harley Quinn in this adaptation, you're not the only one.
    • Poison Ivy could also count. As well as Candy, Tracey, Shiva, and even Copperhead in Arkham Origins.
  • Franchise Original Sin: While all the games are generally well reviewed and well received, the prominence of the Joker as really the primary bad guy among everyone else has been criticized, as it lead to the detriment of other villains having a chance at truly taking stage. Origins in particular has a very strong story with or without the Joker being involved, as many fans were excited thinking Black Mask was going to be a more prominent villain than he was. As it turns out, not even being Killed Off for Real in a franchise where he's explicitly stripped of his Joker Immunity can stop him from being a Posthumous Character in Harley Quinn's Revenge and Arkham Knight.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: How shall we put it? The Joker himself has been a Death Seeker from the very beginning of the series. In Arkham Origins, he tries to shoot himself in the head in order to end it all, but Batman stops him from doing so for reasons he can't comprehend. In Arkham Asylum, after the Joker says, "I have nothing left to live for," he does shoot himself, but with a Titan formula gun to the throat. His "suicide" is very painfully slow, as it takes a year for the Titan poisoning to course through his bloodstream before his death and its nature complete their course at the end of Arkham City, in fulfillment of his deserving to die as a monster, all the while Batman is unable to intervene with him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Casting Wally Wingert as the voice of The Riddler, an Insufferable Genius who frequently gloats about being smarter than the people around him, after he voiced the Blue Psycho Ranger in Power Rangers in Space, whose group boasted about being better than the Power Rangers with the Blue one boasting about them being smarter.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Not only are these considered some of the best Batman games ever made, not only are they considered to be among the best licensed games ever made, they're often placed in the top tier of character action games ever made, period. They are arguably the trope's Most Triumphant Example. Related to this is...
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: Rocksteady studios developed the Arkham IP and did it so well their popularity exploded. When Batman: Arkham Origins was announced as being developed by Warner Bros. Montreal, essentially a stop-gap game to fill in while Rocksteady had been working on Batman: Arkham Knight, there was genuine concern about how the game would turn out. In something of a subversion the game was received quite well as an expansion of the Arkham universe and having a good story, although having no serious changes to the gameplay and lacking the same polish the Rocksteady games had still falls under this trope.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: This pretty much sums up many fans' reaction to the fact that Commissioner Gordon keeps getting recast. Across the whole franchise, he's had five voice actorsnote , going from Tom Kane in Asylum, to David Kaye is City, to Michael Gough in Origins and Blackgate, to Chris Cox in Assault on Arkham, to Jonathan Banks in Knight.