James recently took everyone through a list of the greatest superhero movies of all time, so I thought I’d see what the world of videogames had to offer the universe of cape wearing do-gooders. Often, superhero videogames are reduced to cheap movie tie-ins with little value in their own right, however, there have been some truly exceptional superhero games that have gone on to be held in extremely high regard, with a couple on this list even being considered alongside the greatest videogames of all time.
- Infamous (2009)
Infamous was a nice little PlayStation exclusive that has since spawned two sequels and proved a good little money spinner for Sony. Set in an America that is both similar and different to Earth’s, you play as Cole (in the first two, at least) as he learns to control his new-found electrical powers. These powers allow him to fire bolts of electricity from his hands and travel by harnessing this power and skating along train tracks and power lines. There was little in the way of a gripping story, but the gameplay was brilliant fun and more than made up for it.
- Saints Row 4 (2013)
The Saints Row series is one of my favourites, and as a teenager, I had hours of time for it. The games very quickly moved away from their roots as a GTA clone, and into the territory of Holy Mother of All That is Holy, did I just Hit Someone in the Head with a Giant Purple Dildo Whilst Dressed as a Ninja Whilst Riding a Hover Bike. The fourth in the series has the leader of the Saints saving the world to Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’, becoming President, curing cancer, hanging out with Keith David, letting the world be destroyed by aliens whilst him and Jane Austen are placed in an ultimate reality, matrix-type thingy, in which he has special powers … It’s a wild ride and I feel the world is a better place for having it in.
- Deadpool (2013)
I’ve spoken before about what a crazy game Deadpool is, but then is it really surprising, seeing as it features everyone’s favourite, postmodern, 4th-wall-breaking, mutated nut job? The game is a series of genuinely hilarious levels that see Deadpool hack and slash his way to his nemesis, Mr Sinister (who we still haven’t had a good adaptation of on screen, even though he’s one of Marvel’s best villains). The gameplay itself gets tired pretty quickly, however it doesn’t really matter, as the game is so damn hysterical. I don’t usually laugh out loud when playing a game, but Deadpool is so cleverly written that it makes the excellent film look a bit dull in comparison.
- Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom (2011)
Fighting games are always tricky to master and MVC3 is no exception. Playing with a three by three fighting structure, the game brings together all your favourite heroes and villains from both the Marvel and Capcom universes. You can finally settle the age-old argument of who would win in a fight between Magneto, Frank West, and Doctor Strange on one side and Albert Wesker, Ghost Rider, and Phoenix Wright on the other. The game’s attention to detail is what makes it so brilliant. Each stage of the game is filled to bursting with winks and Easter eggs to your favourite Marvel and Capcom games and comics.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Aside from Logan, all of the Wolverine stand-alone films have pretty much been steaming piles of shit, with Origins being the worst of the bunch. Luckily for us, whilst they may not always know how to make a good Wolvey film, they sure no how to make a game. The Origins tie-in game was truly superb, with incredibly gory action sequences, and genuinely enjoyable combat gameplay. The game isn’t the most perfect superhero game ever made, but as a faithful adaptation of the character, it’s up there with the one of the best Marvel videogames ever made.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
Personally, I prefer X-Men Legends which was the first in the series that finished with Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, but the first Ultimate Alliance is an excellent superhero videogame, as it gives you all the heroes. With an incredible roster of super-powered spandex lovers, the game weaves a Marvel storyline that shatters whatever the MCU can dream up into a million pieces. Featuring all of the most iconic Marvel villains teaming up to allow Dr Doom to become a God, the Earth’s heroes must also team up for a journey that takes them from the Shield Heli-Carrier to Asgard, before finishing off in Latveria. The game’s storyline is excellent, and the top-down, Diablo 3-esque RPG gameplay is addictive and enjoyable. An all-round excellent game.
- Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Whilst Spider-Man and X-Men made superhero films cool again, Spider-Man 2 the game, made superhero videogames cool again. Featuring a fully explorable New York, with incredibly intuitive web-slinging controls, and a storyline that loosely followed the events of the film, whilst adding in new plot ideas, this game was the best superhero videogame of all time (up until the release of our next entry). Spider-Man has a long history of excellent games, but this is the one where all the ideas and the technological advancements came together seamlessly to create one of the most enjoyable experiences of that gaming generation.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
Whilst Batman topped James’ list, so he does with mine. Some people may argue that Arkham City is the better game, but I feel it’s all about your personal preference as while the barebones of the games are the same, the executions are totally different. Whilst this entry focused on one large area with an intense and interesting background that was able to seamlessly weave villains in and out of the storyline without them ever feeling forced; City was a free-roam open-world superhero sim, that is still an excellent game. If I’m honest, there isn’t much in it, I just have a personal preference for Asylum as the titular prison did for me what Rapture had done not lone before in Bioshock: the setting came alive and felt like another character looming over all the action. Whilst the ending was a bit shoddy, I will replay this one long after Arkham City has turned to dust … Arkham Knight was terrible, please don’t bring it up …
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