Batman: Arkham City Best Upgrades To Get First

Even Batman needs a couple of essential upgrades.

While you can unlock all upgrades in a single playthrough, picking the best ones for certain gadgets will give you a massive advantage early on in Batman: Arkham City.

Most players tend to just rush into their upgrades by picking them at random. That can work as well but is hardly optimal for certain boss fights and end-game missions.


Completing all the side missions lets you unlock all upgrades in a single playthrough.

We are here to help you make your playthrough easier by taking only the most essential upgrades in the game.

Grapnel Boost

Unlock requirements: Complete the Augmented Reality Challenges 1-4.

Grapnel Boost is easily one of the best upgrades as well as an important one to get in Batman: Arkham City. We recommend unlocking it as soon as possible to save yourself a lot of travel time.

Did You Know

Grapnel Boost became a mandatory gameplay addition for future Batman games. It was that good!

Grapnel Boost lets you launch yourself into the air, allowing you to glide across the entire city. You can grapple from rooftop to rooftop to reach high altitudes for better vantage points and cover distance in less than half of what it would take you normally.

Batclaw Disarm

Unlock requirements: None

This will be your staple to avoid getting fired at whenever the stealth approach goes south, at least before you unlock the Gun Disruptor upgrade.

Batclaw Disarm can be used to disarm an enemy wielding a gun without getting up close to them. This is especially useful when facing a group of unarmed enemies mixed with one or two armed ones.

Freeze Cluster

Unlock requirements: Complete the Hot and Cold side mission.

Freeze Cluster is a must-have upgrade in Batman: Arkham City. It will be the key to saving your skin when dealing with a multitude of enemies at once.

Freeze Cluster allows you to immobilize multiple enemies and make some breathing room to deal with the rest. Note that the frozen enemies will still be able to move their torsos so be careful when approaching enemies with firearms.

Glide Boost Attack

Unlock requirements: None.

Probably the most fashionable way to enter a fight is by dive-bombing into a bunch of enemies, sweeping them off their feet, and knocking them out cold. Glide Boost Attack lets you do just that.

To pull this off, you will need to be gliding at a high enough speed. Press the Glide Kick button to lock onto your target, and then hold the Dive Bomb button. If the Bat symbol fills up before the impact, you will be able to instantly knock out multiple enemies in your vicinity.

Special Combo Boost

Unlock requirements: None.

We recommend you get this upgrade as soon as possible to make it easier to perform special takedowns and deal with multiple enemies faster.

Special Combo Boost will allow you to perform all Special Takedowns after achieving a combo of x5 instead of the normal x8.

Critical Strikes

Unlock requirements: None.

Critical Strikes can make the combat more immersive and deal with swarms of enemies faster in quite a satisfying manner.

Critical strikes can be performed by initiating a strike right after finishing a move with perfect timing. Remember that button mashing will not activate critical strikes. Critical strikes increase your combo by 2x and can be chained up to activate the special takedowns quicker.


If you don’t perform any special takedowns once your combo is high enough, you will enter a Free-Flow focus mode (if upgraded). This will improve your reaction time and movement speed, allowing you to reach insanely high combos.

Blade Dodge Takedown

Unlock requirements: None.

Get this upgrade as soon as the enemies wielding blades start showing up as these enemies can be a major nuisance and most often the reason for your combo getting interrupted.

This upgrade allows you to immediately incapacitate any enemy wielding a blade. You must perfectly evade an attacker three times to perform this takedown. Once again timing is the key, simply holding the counter button will result in you getting hit with the subsequent attacks.

Ballistic Armor (Batman)

Unlock requirements: None.

Between the Combat and Ballistic Armor, we recommend going for the former in the early game. This is because you do not need the Combat Armor upgrades if you are good at countering attacks.

Ballistic Armor reduces the damage you take from guns. You are going to face several guns-wielding enemies in the latter parts of Batman: Arkham City, which makes this upgrade pretty important.

Each point in the upgrade will provide a 25% reduction in damage taken from live rounds.

Ballistic and Combat Armor (Catwoman)

Unlock requirements: None.

We do not advise unlocking upgrades for only Batman. Remember that Catwoman has her missions in the game as well. She is an incredibly fragile character to play. You will discover that for yourself after starting her latter missions.

We suggest unlocking her Ballistic and Combat Armor upgrades for additional health points. You will, otherwise, have a hard time clearing her last mission in Batman: Arkham City. Do this after you have unlocked your best upgrades for Batman because Catwoman makes up a small portion of the campaign.

Cryptographic Sequencer Range Amplifier

Unlock requirements: None.

This upgrade increases the effective range of the Cryptographic Sequencer and allows you to override security consoles from a greater distance. It is especially useful (and necessary) for a number of Riddler Challenges.

Unlocking the Range Amplifier upgrade early lets you complete every single Riddler puzzle that you come across while exploring the massive city. This in turn lets you gain more XP to level up faster.

Avatar photo

Attabik is an extroverted introvert who seeks to escape into the alternate realities of video games, anime, manga, and manhwa. He has been called by many names: traveler, unkindled one, tarnished, hunter, but his favorite ...