Movie Reviews

Batman: Arkham Side Missions Better Than The Main Story

The Batman: Arkham series featured numerous villains from the Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery, with some of these villains’ missions even being more fun to play than the games’ main stories. Batman: Arkham CityArkham Origins, and Arkham Knight all had side missions for players to track down, leading the Dark Knight to tangle with the likes of Two-Face, Mad Hatter, and more in a potential bid for 100% completion. Some of these side missions ended up being the highlights of each entry, boasting great atmosphere and unique set-pieces that made them stand out compared to the main narrative.

The main stories of the Batman: Arkham games featured some of the Dark Knight’s most iconic villains, including, most famously, the Joker. However, side missions afforded more opportunities to include potentially lesser-known characters. Batman: Arkham City introduced Hush during the Identity Thief storyline, while Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight included the likes of Anarky and Man-Bat. Side missions also resolved storylines of characters who featured in the main stories of the games themselves, with Penguin receiving closure in Arkham Knight this way, and Two-Face’s feud with Catwoman ending in Arkham City‘s post-game.

Related: Arkham Insurgency: Will Rocksteady Do Batman Again After Suicide Squad?

With four main titles in the Batman: Arkham series, each edition introduces more distinctive soon-to-be Arkham-bound villains for Batman to face off against, as well as carrying over a few from game to game. The player is able to not only experience battling familiar villains from previous games, but also new villains that continue to challenge Batman in different ways. The main stories were already big, but many of Batman: Arkham‘s side missions ended up being more interesting and memorable.

Batman: Arkham City was the first iteration in the series to have a complete open world, giving the player the opportunity to fly all around an open map and uncover all sorts of new mysteries. One of these new side missions was a distorted tea party with a villain named Mad Hatter, who brainwashes Batman and forces him to battle other brainwashed inmates for control over his mind. This quest marks the second time that Batman has been mentally manipulated in the series, with the first being in Batman: Arkham Asylum while Batman tries to beat Scarecrow’s nightmares.

Mad Hatter is lesser-known compared to other Batman villains, and this quest marks his introduction into the Batman: Arkham games. This quest is memorable because the Alice In Wonderland aesthetic and direction is unique for a Batman story and creates fantastical imagery and levels that are distinctive in regard to other missions. Even though this side quest is relatively short, it does mark a drastic difference within the series in terms of tone, as the Dark Knight is provided with a nightmarish detour on the way to stopping Protocol 10.

Batman: Arkham Origins is the only main game in the series to be a prequel, taking place before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and setting the stage for not only Batman in his early years, but also many of the origins of his villains. Batman: Arkham Origins almost included playable villains within the open world, which would have been a first for the series. One of the villains that makes an appearance is a political terrorist that goes by the name Anarky, who has planted several bombs across the city in the hopes of causing change, as his impression is that the city is too corrupt to save. However, because he believes Batman is too self-righteous to ignore him, Anarky adds timers to the bombs in order to give the Dark Knight a chance at disarming them.

Related: Batman: Arkham City Made Penguin Even More Of A Monster

After disarming the bombs, Anarky invites Batman to the courthouse for a confrontation, in which he pleads that Batman’s quest for justice is misguided, as the city will always be corrupt. Anarky is unique compared to other villains in the Batman: Arkham games because he doesn’t have any special powers or a large criminal infrastructure behind him. He doesn’t even have a main boss battle with Batman in Arkham Origins, but instead presents him with a challenge through unpredictability. He’s much more of an anti-villain compared to the other rogues in the series, but that doesn’t stop Batman from trying to stop him from destroying Gotham. Although Bruce Wayne is also opposed to corruption, Anarky’s tactics amount to nothing more than terrorism, and with civilians in harm’s way, the Dark Knight is left with no choice but to stop him.

Batman: Arkham Knight brought the largest open world to the franchise yet, which came with its own expansive list of side quests and new villains to occupy the city. One of these new villains was a killer named Professor Pyg, who strings up dead and mutilated bodies around the city, similar to Batman: Arkham City‘s Hush storyline, with Batman having to analyze them for identifiers in order to locate Pyg’s location. Later in the quest, when Batman realizes that each victim was taken in areas where a traveling circus was being held, he discovers that the circus is owned by Professor Pyg. When Batman finds the killer hidden in an expansive torture chamber under a local shop, he realizes that there is much more going on than just a serial killer on the loose.

Professor Pyg goes beyond the typical serial killer, as he not only abducts and kills his victims, but also operates on and brainwashes a select few into becoming essentially mindless henchmen wearing creepy masks. Batman is able to stop Pyg and free his hostages, but isn’t able to put an end to his abductions, as his traveling circus goes around the country and abducts people nationwide, making Batman rely on Nightwing outside of Gotham. Pyg challenges Batman in multiple ways that make him unique to other villains, such as his ability to not only operate on others and create a mindless army of victims, but also shows that Batman can’t be everywhere at once and that evil and corruption can not only come from Gotham, but into Gotham as well.

Next: Rocksteady’s Next Game After Suicide Squad Could Be Peacemaker

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