Warning: This post is full of SPOILERS! Continue at your own risk!
We are only a couple of weeks away from Batman: Arkham Knight, the epic finale to the Arkham saga! So much has happened to this Batman re-imagining over the last 6 years. With the conclusion just right around the corner I do believe it is the best time to take a look at what has lead to this final showdown. The Arkham games will be told here in chronological order for the story's sake. This article will be summaries of all the main games, telling the story from when it started to now. Anyone who plans on playing the previous Arkham games themselves before Arkham Knight, I advise that you turn back now. And for anyone that just loves Batman and wants to hear the story of the Arkham Legacy, then by all means stick around!
Batman: Arkham Origins
Most everyone already knows about Batman's backstory. He witnessed his parent's death as a young child, and vowed to rid his city of injustice. That was only just the beginning...
As shown in the DLC titled Initiation, Bruce Wayne, when he became old enough, left Gotham and traveled all over Asia to various regions and countries learning all different forms of martial arts he would encounter. His travels eventually led him to a castle high in the mountains of North Korea where he met the Martial Arts Master known as Kirigi, who agreed to allow Bruce to train with his other pupils. Over the course of several years, Kirigi taught Bruce a form of Japanese Ninjutsu and trained him how to hide in the shadows and use psychology and fear to win a fight before it even starts.
With his training complete, Bruce Wayne returns to his city of Gotham and takes up the cowl as the Batman. Taking down only muggers and thieves with occasional arms dealers for about two years, it isn't until his second Christmas Eve as Batman rolls around that his presence is fully recognized as a force to be reckoned with. What is believed to be just a riot, Blackgate Prison is turned upside down with reports of massive explosion and hostages. As Batman infiltrates the facility, he learns that it was all orchestrated by Roman Sionis AKA Black Mask. Not only did he turn almost all criminals loose on Gotham, Batman also learns that he hired 8 assassins with $50 Million going to the one who kills him first. Those 8 assassins consist of Deathstroke, Killer Croc, Copperhead, Shiva, Electrocutioner, Bane, Deadshot, and Firefly.
While trying to deal with the assassins and protect the citizens of Gotham while avoiding the entire police force, Batman begins to get closer to the truth behind Black Mask. When he finally tracks him down, it is revealed that a sadistic madman who calls himself The Joker has been pretending to be Black Mask just for the sheer pleasure of causing chaos all over Gotham. Boasting that in only a matter of a few short hours, he completely turned Gotham upside down under Batman's watch. After capturing The Joker, he is placed in Blackgate Prison where he develops his undying and well known obsession with the Dark Knight.
From there, Batman seeks out Bane who is the only assassin he hasn't caught yet, but just as he finds his hideout he learns that Bane knows who he really is and has broken into the batcave and left Alfred for dead. As Batman saves him, both Bane and The Joker take over Blackgate and demand that Batman try to stop them. He finally realizes that he can't save the city alone and forms an alliance with Gordon and the Police Department. At Blackgate, he has one final showdown with The Joker and Bane, who shoots himself with an overdose of Venom and becomes the massive mindless monster that we all know him as. After apprehending them both, Gordon understands that Batman is what the city needs and decides to work with him from now on.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
It's been 5 years since the Blackgate breakout on Christmas Eve. The city reopened Arkham asylum not long after that to accommodate for the criminals that Batman was bringing in. Batman has recaptured the Joker time and time again, only for him to break out of Arkham sooner or later. One night however, Joker orchestrated a plan to take over the asylum and trap Batman inside, which was successful. Trapped inside the asylum, Batman attempts to reach the Joker and find out what his plans are. Encountering various criminals he's put away in the last 5 years, he finds out that Joker had been making deals with a scientist that worked in Arkham Asylum to develop a new version of Bane's Venom toxin which was code named TITAN.
This new serum is far stronger than that of Venom, and eliminates the need for a delivery tank like what Bane is forced to use. Joker plans on using this new TITAN to create an army of powerful mutants to take over Gotham and eventually the world. Upon discovering this, Batman creates an antidote in a batcave he had hidden on Arkham Island in case the need for one arose.
Batman attempts his best to keep Joker from finishing his TITAN serum but fails in doing so, which allows the Joker to eventually use the TITAN on himself. Even with Joker's increased size and strength, Batman is successful in defeating him and administrating the cure to reverse the TITAN. Using the antidote, the police are able to turn the inmates back to normal and bring them under control once more. With the Joker behind bars once again, Batman flies off to continue his never ending patrol over the streets of Gotham.
Batman: Arkham City
Quincy Sharp, the warden of Arkham asylum, took sole credit for the retaking of the asylum when Joker took over and made his TITAN serum. He then uses this as a push to become the Mayor of Gotham City. Using his new privileges, he declares that Blackgate penitentary and Arkham asylum can no longer hold criminals good enough and sanctions off a section of Gotham to use as a large scale prison known as Arkham City. He then appoints Dr. Hugo Strange as the caretaker of the facility, who is actually manipulating Quincy Sharp to his will. Bruce Wayne opposes this idea of a prison city, and is arrested by Hugo's forces.
While in custody, Hugo reveals to Bruce Wayne that he knows that he is actually Batman and he then throws him into the Arkham City populace. Once situated, he calls for an airdrop for his gear so that he can put a stop to Hugo Strange's plan that he refers to as "Protocol 10". Upon searching for answers, he eventually gets trapped by Joker who as it turns out is dying from some sort of blood disease he developed from his use of the TITAN serum. Joker then informs Batman that he performed a blood transfusion and infected Batman with the same disease as well as various hospitals all over Gotham. Batman then sets out to find a cure that Mister Freeze was supposedly working on. Upon finding Mister Freeze, Batman then learns that although the cure is finished it isn't stable enough to be used. He then deducts that a sample of Rha's al Ghul's blood can help stabilize the compound, and so he seeks out the League of Assassins. After he fights tooth and nail to find Rha's, he returns to Mister Freeze and completes the cure but it is eventually stolen by The Joker.
Batman races after Joker, and finds him completely healed. It is at this time, that Hugo Strange triggers "Protocol 10" which turns out to be a missile attack that is designed to completely destroy the criminal population of Arkham City in order for him to impress Rha's al Ghul. A missile hits where Batman and The Joker are located and incapacitates Batman momentarily. Before Joker can execute him, Talia, the son of Rha's al Ghul and Batman's former lover, intervenes and offers Joker immortality by taking a dip in the Lazarus Pit which is what gives Rha's his immortality.
Batman then makes the choice to stop Hugo Strange's missile attack before pursuing Joker and Talia. After dealing with Hugo Strange in Wonder Tower, he then gets a message from Joker demanding the cure and to meet him at the theater. Once there, Talia kills Joker and reveals that she had actually stolen the cure from Harley Quinn. But suddenly, Talia is shot and killed by the real Joker who is still stricken with the disease. The presumably dead Joker then rises and morphs into Clayface who had been pretending to be a healthy looking Joker the whole time.
Batman is left to fight Clayface and he eventually incapacitates him. The Joker then blows up the floor of the theater which spills the fight into Rha's al Ghul's lair below. Before Joker can use the Lazarus Pit, Batman destroys it and then drinks a portion of the antidote, effectively curing him of the disease. Joker suddenly attacks Batman with a knife, inadvertently making him drop the antidote and shattering the vial. As Joker attempts to lick it from the ground, Batman makes a comment about the funny thing being he would have willingly gave Joker the antidote in spite of everything that he has done. The Joker then succumbs to the blood disease, and dies laughing at Batman's comment.
With the Arkham City mischief finally over, Batman carries Joker's body to the police squad waiting outside the gates to the city. While Gordon is asking what happened, Batman lays Joker on the hood of a squad car and leaves, never uttering a word.
Harley Quinn's Revenge
Following the aftermath of the Joker's death, Harley Quinn gathered the Joker's remaining thugs and successfully trapped police forces that planned to enter Arkham City to escort prisoners to Arkham and Blackgate. Gordon then calls on Batman, who infiltrates the steel mill where they're held up. Upon entering their stronghold, Harley traps Batman in an air tight glass ball as part of a statue in memorial to The Joker.
Two days later, Robin infiltrates the facility looking for Batman and planning to put a stop to Harley's plans. He discovers the shrine containing Batman, and fights Harley and her thugs to retrieve the key card that unlocks Batman's trap. Harley then activates several bombs that she stole from GCPD, forcing Batman to quickly find and disarm them while Robin rescues the rest of the officers being held in the shipping yard. With the bombs and officers dealt with, Batman and Robin go after Harley Quinn who is hold up at the Joker shrine.
Upon arrival, Harley activates the Wonder City mechanical guardians that Joker previously stole during Protocol 10. Once the robots were defeated, Harley triggers the final bomb which was hidden in the Joker statue with the intent to kill Batman, Robin, and herself so that she would be reunited with Joker. Batman is able to get himself and Harley to safety, worried that Robin was caught in the explosion. Harley then tries one final attempt at killing the batman by stabbing him, but is stopped by one of Robin's projectiles who survived the blast.
Batman returns Harley to police custody and then leaves, again staying silent while Robin assures Gordon that he'll be fine. With Harley's plans ruined, her gang is rounded up by the Gotham Police and Arkham City is finally, officially shut down for good.
Batman: Arkham Knight
On June 23rd of this year, just a couple of weeks away, we will see the epic conclusion to the Arkham Legacy. The official synopsis for the final entry is below:
One year after the death of the Joker during the events of Arkham City. Batman is struggling to come to terms with the absence of his nemesis and the uncomfortable feeling that the pair shared a bond deeper than either could admit. Without the Joker's chaotic presence, Gotham's citizens have never felt safer, and crime in the city has dramatically declined. However, this gives Batman's enemies, including Penguin, Two-Face, and Harley Quinn, a chance to unite with the singular goal of killing Batman. On Halloween night, Scarecrow threatens the city with his newly created strain of fear toxin and bombs planted throughout Gotham, forcing the evacuation of the city's six million civilians. Only criminals remain in the city, leaving Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department outnumbered. Anticipating a new threat, Batman continues to develop crime-fighting technology and maintains a vigil over the city.
In this final Arkham entry, we not only get to use every single one of Batman's abilities we also for the first time ever get to use a fully driveable and battle ready Batmobile. Add to that the layout of Arkham Knight is going to be 5 times bigger than Arkham City and we have a recipe for the Game Of The Year or even Decade award. And let's not forget, that once a month for 6 months after it's release we get new DLC which will extend the story and add more content. This is most definitely going to be the greatest Batman game of all time.