Freeflow Combat is the smooth and adaptive structure of fighting in the Batman Arkham Game Series.
After starting a fight and reaching a two-multiplier combo (as shown in the upper left corner), the character enters Freeflow Combat at the third multiplier (added by either a strike or a Batarang and signaled by slow motion and sound effects). This is why there are some ways for you to immediately initiate Freeflow by simultaneously adding two multipliers, typically running to get momentum then striking or slide tripping, rather than just striking or countering twice. Some heavy attacks also adds 2 multipliers if used to initiate Freeflow, unlike normally when they only adds 1 multiplier during Freeflow, such as the Batclaw Slam or the Aerial Attack; or in the story mode or Predator Mode, also Glide Kick, Glide Boost, and Pounce. A starting, non-Freeflow Blade Dodge Takedown adds only two multipliers to initiate Freeflow rather than three like a Freeflow one. As long as the combo is kept, the character can attack further distances, more enemies and gains more speed. However, failing to Counter, hitting air or a shielded enemy or not doing anything for longer than about 1 second instantly ends the combo.
While the combo counter only increases by 1 multiplier per strike, each game allows upgrading to Critical Strikes, which increases the combo by two, provided that the player isn't mashing the strike buttons continuously. Even though the on-screen instructions say timing is required for a Critical Strike, it is merely to train players not to frantically strike but to take it slow, because you can still do a Critical Strike even if you've evaded so many times after the last strike.
Once the counter turned yellow (at the initial eighth, or after upgrading, fifth multiplier), the player could perform a special move, which served different functions: one could instantly take any normal enemy out, others would temporarily Stun nearby opponents, and one can destroy their weapons. After such a move is used, the yellow "special move" meter expires until eight or five more multipliers are added.
Most of the aforementioned features of Freeflow Combat are only available in combat situations. In predator situations, players can initiate Freeflow similarly and use some similar attacks such as normal strikes and counters (which are much more powerful for taking down enemies quickly), Beat Downs, etc., but cannot use Critical Strikes or Special Combo Moves.
Compared to the later entries in the series, the original game's combat is quite simplistic. Batman can punch, counter, stun and leap over his opponents, and eventually use both the Batclaw and Batarangs as weapons. The Ground Takedown, while difficult to perform, awards the most points if it is used. Special Combo Moves were not initially available, and are upgrades that the player can get.
The combat system is greatly improved upon, and Batman gained several new moves to use against his opponents. Batman can use more gadgets in combat, had access to more special moves, and could weaponize the stun move, by using it to initiate a Beat Down or an Aerial Attack ; alternately, he can knock enemies down (but not out) by swinging his cape at them until they lost balance.
Once "Freeflow Focus" is purchased, Batman can begin to experience his surroundings in slow motion once he reaches a 12 hit combo without using any special moves. This focus can, however, be lost if he uses any special move during it. Another upgrade, Freeflow Focus Gadgets, allows Batman to end the focus mode with the benefit of increasing the power of his quickfire gadgets; this upgrade can not be turned off, however, and only affets Batman. If used in Freeflow Focus Mode, usable gadgets become much more powerful: 3 powerful Batarangs can be thrown instead of one and they keep enemies down for longer; the Batclaw Slam is much more powerful and generates a blast that pushes nearby enemies away a bit; Explosive Gel has a much wider blast range and enemies are down for longer as a result; the Remote Electrical Charge shocks many enemies instead of just one and the Freeze Blast freezes many enemies instead of just one.
The combat remained largely the same as in City, but Batman has a different set of quickfire gadgets, and can upgrade his focus to last until he uses two special moves. Batman later gains access to the Shock Gloves. The Shock Gloves are arguably overpowering as it allows Batman to get 2 multipliers for a strike, 3 for a Critical Strike, and it can pierce through all enemy defenses. The same principle applies to the Thermal Gloves used in Cold, Cold Heart.
While the system remains mostly the same, several new additions and changes are present. New additions include the ability to strike downed enemies, and picking up downed enemies in order to finish them up quicker. Additionally, using the aforementioned pickup immediately after knocking out an enemy can cause the character to throw them over their head, adding insult to injury and preventing the player from losing their combo if they didn't notice the knockout. Several changes, however, are present.
The slow motion effect of Freeflow Focus is removed. Instead, the characters gain more attack power when it's activated, and it's now tied to the Special Combo Meter; it will be activated upon reaching a combo of 5/8 hits. Freeflow Focus Gadgets can be used as any character (but not with every gadget; Batman also has to own the same or a similar gadget, such as the Explosive Gel and Shuriken/Batarang.), and are activated by holding the quickfire button, which allows the player to use gadgets normally during focus.
After Batman gains access to the Batsuit 8.03, the increased mobility of the Batsuit allows him to use his attacker's momentum against them. By timing the counter and holding the movement control when the counter icon sparks brighter as the enemy is just about to hit Batman, he can throw the attacker in the desired direction. This can knock down any enemies on the path.
The Batswarm is removed. The same controls allow certain characters to pick up enemy weapons that are left on the ground and use them for extra damage and the ability to bypass Thug defenses. However, these weapons will break after 3 hits.
Additionally, the game introduces Environmental Takedowns. Certain objects in the surroundings are highlighted with blue and getting an enemy close enough allows the character to instantly take them out by using the object.
However, Batman isn't the only one who learns more moves. Gotham City's Thugs also know a few more tricks than before. Even normal thugs can charge at the character, who, in turn, can either Evade over them or use their primary gadget for a Instant Takedown. Additionally, thugs can grab the character from behind, which allows other enemies to get in a few punches unless the character escapes quickly.
In addition, in several parts of the game, players can perform Dual Play Takedowns, which instantly takes out an enemy. Dual-Play Takedowns consist of both playable characters focusing their attacks on a single enemy and taking them out quickly and effectively. They can only be done in special circumstances where both characters are fighting together, such as Gunrunner. A wheel in the corner of the screen charges as you hit enemies, and once full, allows the player to perform the combo. The wheel also appears in Free Roam if Batman is fighting near the Batmobile, and when full, allows him to perform an Environmental Takedown with the Riot Suppressor.