Batman: Arkham Trilogy Nintendo Switch Review – Dark Knight On the Go

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Thomas Richards
| December 25, 2023
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The Batman Arkham games are some of the best superhero games around. Even well over a decade since Batman: Arkham Asylum burst onto the scene and eight years since Batman: Arkham Knight concluded the trilogy, few games have come close to their level. Rocksteady had a masterpiece of a trilogy (and Arkham Origins from WB Montreal), and it has been ported to almost every console under the sun. One console I never thought it would come to, though, was the Nintendo Switch. While the Switch could definitely run Asylum and City, Knight was another beast altogether. So I was shocked when, earlier this year, in a Nintendo Direct, the Batman: Arkham Trilogy was announced for the console (no cloud gaming required). And now it’s here, but how well do these superhero games play on Nintendo’s hybrid console? Let’s go through each game and see how well these games play on the go.

I played each game mostly in handheld mode, with some time spent in docked mode, as I feel that handheld mode is the main selling point of this port.

Return to the Madhouse

Batman is standing on a cliff overlooking Arkham Island. The Arkham Mansion is in the distance. The full moon can be seen peaking through the clouds.
Where it all began. (Warner Bros. Games)

The game that started it all is Batman: Arkham Asylum. Being an early Xbox 360 game, I assumed it would run pretty well on the Nintendo Switch, and I was mostly right. Overall, the game looks great and plays just like you remember. Developer Turn Me Up could almost copy and paste the original game onto the Switch with minimal changes. I noticed that some effects were missing in handheld mode when you follow trails in detective mode. It wasn’t anything that impeded my progress as the game still locks onto the trail when you hover over it. Other than that, I didn’t notice any frame drops or texture pop-in during my time with this port. The load times were also super short; I barely had a chance to read the little hints. If you’ve never experienced the game that started it all, this Switch version isn’t half bad.

Entering the City

Batman is gliding through Arkham City. There are Riddler markings on the church to the right. The compass is at the top of the screen. Local surveillance is being picked up on the top right of the screen.
Batman has got to escape from the city. (Warner Bros. Games)

Batman: Arkham City is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the Arkham series. Personally, I’ve played through and got 100% on this game at least four times (that includes all 440 Riddler collectibles). This means I know this game like the back of my hand and would notice if anything felt off. I’m glad to say that Arkham City is the best-performing game in this collection. This isn’t surprising, though, because the game was already ported to the Wii U with Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition. Like the other Wii U games that have been ported to the Switch, Arkham City runs just as good, if not better than the Wii U. I couldn’t find any significant faults with this port aside from a little bit of graininess in handheld mode, but that’s something that didn’t bother me at all. This is the best-performing and best-looking game of the collection, and if you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade and haven’t played this masterpiece, you have no excuse now.

Broken Knight

Batman is inside the Batmobile. The headlights of the Batmobile are blue. It's raining and various storefronts are behind the Batmobile.
Let’s roll. (Warner Bros. Games)

We now come to the game that I was most curious about, Batman: Arkham Knight. To this day, Arkham Knight is one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played. The rain, destruction physics, and character models were breathtaking back in 2015 and still are today. So I’m surprised they could get this game running on the Switch at all, but sacrifices had to be made. For starters, some textures aren’t the greatest, with severe texture pop-in in some instances and the game stuttering a bit with too many enemies on screen. Sometimes, things don’t appear, like when you have to match radio waves at the beginning of the game, and the radio waves don’t appear on screen. If I hadn’t already played this game to death, I would’ve been completely lost. On the bright side, character models for important people look good and have enough detail to look similar to the other versions. I can overlook many of the performance issues because of the novelty of playing this game on the go, even if the performance isn’t the best.

Now, onto the elephant in the room, the Batmobile. I’ll admit it doesn’t feel as good to drive as other versions, and sometimes, it’s bad. Driving around the city isn’t too horrendous, and you’ll only have the occasional frame drop here and there. But when you get into the race tracks, the performance issues are on full display. Playing these races on the Switch was the only time I got genuinely frustrated with how the Batmobile controlled this port. While I could still complete them, I didn’t replay them like when I played on PS4. However, I still enjoyed this port, even with these annoyances and frame drops. Maybe it’s because I love Arkham Knight, or perhaps it’s because I have a bit more tolerance for less-than-stellar performance (I played Cyberpunk 2077 on a base PS4 at launch). I was having fun playing this fantastic game wherever I wanted. However, if dodgy performance and frames are a deal breaker for you, maybe wait to see if they can improve the performance in a patch.

Side Note: After writing, I found a bug where the game won’t save after a certain point, and the only way to save any further progress is through backup saves. I hope this is fixed soon because it’s bloody annoying.

Joker is smiling. His eyes are looking in two different directions. He looks unwell, with his right eye being half red. A light is on behind him as well as a painting of himself.
How’s my face look? (Warner Bros. Games)

The Batman: Arkham Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch is an adequate port of the Rocksteady Trilogy. City is undoubtedly the best-ported game out of the three, but that was to be expected. Asylum is pretty close to the original, with only a few minor hiccups. Knight is playable, and if you can get past the poor performance, you can have fun with this portable version of the game. Unless you’re a massive Arkham fan like myself, I’d recommend waiting until they can improve the performance of Knight before revisiting it. But if you just want to play through City or Asylum on the go, this collection ticks all of those boxes.

Are you going to pick up the Batman: Arkham Trilogy? Which game are you gonna play first? Is poor performance a deal breaker for you? Let us know in the comments where we can talk all things Batman.

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