DC Comics and Marvel have been competing for the top spot in the comics industry for decades. While many fans enjoy the releases of both companies, some are loyal to just one brand. Now, each have been represented extensively in computer and console games right since the early 1980s and we’ve been fortunate to see many of these make their way over to the PSP and Vita. It’s no exception for one of my all-time favourite superheroes, so let’s take a closer look at the times we’ve seen Batman on the PS Vita…
LEGO Batman: The Videogame
The first game available to PS Vita owners is by way of its legacy catalogue. When it comes to the toyline most people think of Star Wars as the primary licenced LEGO property but the games have seen more comic based games than anything else. This first one released for the PSP (amongst other formats) put you in control of the Dynamic Duo against some of the most iconic villains from Batman’s history following a mass escape from Arkham Asylum.
As well as the fan favourite heroes, the game gave you the chance to play as these villains as they’re unlocked when you complete different chapters in the game’s story. Using plenty of Bat-gadgets and costumes, with a sprinkling of the humour you come to expect from LEGO games, this was a perfect start to the LEGO Bat-franchise.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Batman made his Vita debut with the second game in the LEGO Batman franchise. This was a chance to show what the console could do and how it could run LEGO games just as well as the PS3. Building on the previous game, this time our heroes tackle Lex Luthor and the Joker as they try to take over Gotham City. With new gadgets, vehicles, and Bat-suits at your disposal as well as an array of DC heroes to aid you on your adventure it’s a packed story from start to finish… with all the usual secrets and side missions to unlock for extra replayability afterwards.
Even though this was – and still is – a fun game, it didn’t quite match up to the console versions. Without the multiplayer mode (which could have been offered using the Vita’s ad-hoc mode) it took away some of the fun from the game. It failed gamers on a technical level as well – not running at the full native screen resolution of the console, giving the game a somewhat washed-out look. Vita owners deserved so much more…
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Moving on to something more series, the infamous Arkham Origins series made its way on to the PS Vita with this 2.5D interpretation of the classic series of Batman adventures. Despite being a scaled-down version of its console counterparts, this game designed specifically for handhelds worked remarkably well and blended stealth, exploration, arcade action and combat wonderfully. Add in plenty of gadgets and a superb storyline and it made for a fantastic Batman game to delight gamers everywhere.
While it never pushed the PS Vita to its limits, it proved to be a sleeper hit on the system. As with all games like this it sometimes caused a few headaches remembering where you were in the game’s map (although this is a flaw with 2D games of this ilk rather than this game specifically) and if you can cope with that you’ll have plenty of fun ahead.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
Easily the darkest of all the Batman games to land on the Vita, Injustice: Gods Among Us took the Mortal Kombat game engine and brought the DC Comics characters to life in an all-new beat-em-up. Combining a deep story mode as well as an action packed arcade mode the 2D beat-em-up wowed gamers when it was released for it’s diverse range of characters, superb visuals and wide range of missions.
The Vita version didn’t disappoint either with a two-player mode using it’s ad-hoc wi-fi capabilities and exclusive characters available only on Sony platforms. This Ultimate Edition, released after the original release contained not only the main game but also all of the DLC content released. So in addition to the already extensive character roster, this edition added a further 40 character skins, 60 more missions and extra music! The only reason DC and Batman fans in particular shouldn’t add it to their collections is if you absolutely loathed fighting games!
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Arguably the finest of the LEGO Batman games to grace the PS Vita. This really is the game LEGO Batman 2 should have been. As the title implies, the scope of this release is far bigger than the first two games. It goes far beyond Gotham City and reaches far into space as Batman takes on Brainiac. Moving across countless worlds and pulling in help from heroes across the entire DC universe this is the best in the series and was a fitting way to bring the franchise to a close on the Vita.
As well as featuring the best visuals so far in a LEGO game on the Vita, it delivered a more open-world experience than games that had come before it, allowing more freedom to explore each of the levels. Sadly it still only offered single player gameplay and it lacked the DLC offered on all the console formats, but it didn’t stop it from being an instant classic.
Batman Games No More…
Sadly these proved to be all that we were able to play on the PS Vita. Despite further DC LEGO games being made and Telltale Games (makers of The Walking Dead) releasing two Batman games in their story based range, none made it to our favourite handheld. It left us having to look elsewhere for our Batman fix, whether it was other consoles like the Nintendo Switch (which has still seen LEGO releases), the PS4 and PS5, or the PC.
But after all of those you’re still not satisfied and need another Batman fix, free online gaming site Plays.org have come to the rescue with Batman Gotham City Speed. This top-down LEGO-powered endless runner puts you in control of the Batmobile racing through the streets of Gotham City. Steer the armoured car to avoid obstacles and collect LEGO Studs and power-ups. You’ve got a set number of lives and lose them and it’s game over.
After a short while you’ll come to a bridge that is out and that’s when the Batmobile re-builds itself into the Batplane. It’s back to the endless action again but then you start to encounter some of Batman’s arch enemies. Collect rocket pick-ups and once you’ve gathered enough, a missile fires. Get enough hits on target to take out the villain. Then it’s back to the road and on to the next bad guy!
Studs are used between games to upgrade the Batmobile – increased health, Stud magnets and more. For a free online game it’s remarkably great fun. Despite running as a browser based game, sadly it’s not PS Vita compatible but if you’ve exhausted all the other LEGO Batman games this is another one that’s worth checking out!