While Batman: Arkham Asylum may have a better story, Arkham City one-upped its predecessor in the realm of playable characters. The first game exclusively cast players as the Dark Knight, with his nemesis Joker being available as a Challenge Mode DLC exclusively on PlayStation 3. Arkham City, meanwhile, let players control Catwoman at specific points for her own unique story missions. Robin and Nightwing were later added as Challenge Mode DLC, bringing the game's total number of playable heroes to four. Batman: Arkham Origins, meanwhile, removed Batman's allies but made the assassin Deathstroke and a younger version of Bruce Wayne playable as DLC.
Amongst the entire Batman: Arkham franchise, Batman: Arkham Knight reigns supreme in the realm of playable characters. While the series' final installment removed Batman: Arkham Origins' playable Deathstroke and Bruce Wayne, it brought back all three additional heroes from Arkham City and added Azrael. Through DLC players could also unlock Red Hood, Harley Quinn and Batgirl, bringing the total number of playable characters up to eight. While Azrael is largely a reskin of Batman without many of his gadgets, the rest of the cast mostly possesses their own unique combat moves and gadgets. While the selection of playable characters in Arkham Knight is surely impressive, one character stands out among the rest.
While it may seem obvious, Batman is undeniably the best playable character in the entire Batman: Arkham franchise. The Batman: Arkham Freeflow combat system is designed with the Dark Knight in mind, so his attacks and abilities lie at the core of each experience. He also tends to have the largest arsenal of gadgets out of the entire playable roster, giving him a massive variety of tactics for both combat and stealth. Players can also upgrade Batman throughout each Arkham game, which is reflected in Challenge Mode, allowing his skills to expand and change throughout the experience. While he may not be the most unique character, Batman makes up for it with power and unique high-tech weaponry.
While many players will find it more fun to control the playable Batman: Arkham villains, it is hard to deny that Batman is actually the best playable character in the series. Players spend a vast majority of their in-game time as the Caped Crusader, and his arsenal of gadgets and upgrades make him a powerhouse in both combat and stealth. Whether they're striking from the shadows or beating up an army of thugs, Arkham players are always smart to bet on Batman above any other Gotham warrior.