Five Undeniably Stellar Superhero Games From This Generation


My love for comics is deeply rooted, and my love for video games is well established, so you can only imagine the size of my smile when the two merge and make beautiful music together. The problem is, this is a rarity because most licensed games suck, and are just cheap attempts to milk money from the udders of whatever franchise it is brutalizing. But, there are rare occasions when a video game and a comic book (or comic book character) just mesh up perfectly, and you go from feeling like a gamer, to feeling like a full-on superhero, suddenly capable of doing things his mind only dreamt about as a child.

Here are the five games from this gaming generation that I feel best capture the feeling the license they were using, and the character they were representing. And to anyone curious, Marvel Versus Capcom is not on the list in any form because it isn’t solely a comic book inspired video game. Though we can all agree, it is pretty awesome.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Series)


The graphics are aging as gracefully as Val Kilmer.

Though you play it now and it begins to show its age, and even though it is a dungeon crawler with a slick coat of Marvel paint, it still worked for me, if for no other reason than the sheer amount of Marvel characters you could play as, and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways they interacted with each other. You could lumber around a stage, playing as Hulk, and just leveling everything. Or you could go through as Spiderman, and be far more defensive, leaping off walls and using a web shield. And just the fact that, across both games, you got to play as some cult faves (like Deadpool before his fame surge and recent subpar game) and Ghost Rider (before Nic Cage LITERALLY peed on the franchise). For a grown up fanboy like msyelf, that was enough to sell the series.

Plus, what nerd DOESN’T wanna play Diablo as Wolverine? Speaking of Wolverine, was anyone else pleasantly surprised by…

Wolverine: Origins


“Mom, watch me dive! “

Now presenting, the game that the movie SHOULD have been.

I think I could easily write an 1000 word article about this game, alone, and everything it did right. Honestly, there are very few games I play through more than once, and Wolverine Origins is one of those games. Truthfully, outside of the Arkham games, which I will speak of later, this is the game that pretty much encapsulates what it would feel like to be a badass, marauding superhero. Rarely does the game get tough, but that subtle touch is genius, because rarely does Wolverine ever face a real challenge, and the idea here was to make you feel like him. Like you could slaughter anyone, like you could take damage and heal. Like I said, every single note it hit was perfect, and all fans of the character owe it to themselves to play this game and let it replace the memory of the AWFUL two films from your mind. Yes, I said awful TWO films. I have seen both, and both suck so intensely, I thought they were produced by Dyson.

Also, this game features my proudest achievement in a 360 game ever, Threading the Needle.


I did that shit first try, and I still remember feeling exhilarated. Man, I’m a fucking nerd.

Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions


And yes, the many skins and costumes you could find were pretty badass, like this Tony Stark designed Iron Spider.

Erase whatever it is you think about Spiderman 2 being the best Spiderman game. Yes, it was awesome because it was one of the first games to EVER actually make us feel like the superhero the game was about, but if you gave it a chance you’d see, Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions was a much better game, start to end. Not only a better game, but a game I would say is easily one of the 20 most under-appreciated games of all time. Yes, I just said that. Now hear me out.

Shattered Dimensions was, for all intents and purposes, four games in one, and each one was better than the last. Amazing Spiderman was the funny, fast talking Spiderman you grew up reading (and finally gave me a fight with Kraven the Hunter). Also, in The Amazing version, Spidey was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, and it was as awesome as it sounds. Ultimate was the new universe, black suited Spidey, a little more gritty and tougher, with some cooler enemies to boot (the Deadpool level is THE BEST REPRESENTATION OF DEADPOOL EVARZ!!!!!!!!). Spiderman 2099 is set in the future, with a different man wearing the spandex (a cool, Spanish dude I think) and A LOT of vertical combat (falling levels rule). And last, you had the crowning achievement. Spiderman Noir, which was pretty much stunning. It was black and white, set in the nineteen forties, and played like the Arkham games. Seriously, look at this shit:


Yes, it played even cooler than it looks.

You got all that, four games with interlocking stories, all the best Spidey villains, and all for the price of one game. The fact that everyone doesn’t gush about this game is odd to me. I think it a conspiracy, and I blame Norman Osborn.

Batman: Arkham Games


In the DLC, “Purrring Conspiracy”, they have a love scene you can control. Really hard to find, though.

First off, to set things straight, I liked Arkham Asylum more than Arkham City. I know that seems screwy, but I thought it was easier to keep the story tighter with it all contained in one place. Though the scope and execution was jaw dropping in City, it overwhelmed me at times, and I felt like I missed some things I may have not missed were it more linear. That disclaimer out of the way, these games are, honestly, perfection.

They took a perfect license, matched it up with perfect gameplay and storytelling. They FINALLY gave the character the adaptation he deserved, and you needn’t even be a fan of the core material to realize you were playing something perfect. I know I keep using that word, perfect, but honestly, does any other fit? The Arkham games are the games that will be forever held as the high water mark for licensed video games (and video games in general) and though the following may get me in some shit with you guys, I am a bit hesitant about the new game.

Yup, I said it.

By a third game in a series (examples for me, Dead Space, Gear of War, Resident Evil) unless you do something MAJOR to change the gameplay, I tend to start losing interest. The new game looks to add nothing new to the series, and it seems like they have already tapped the well dry of the best Batman enemies, so now they are using new ones (I do like Black Mask in the comic) and some altered villains as well (no comment about how they turned Copperhead into a lame Harley Quinn and Catwoman hybrid) so time will tell how well the series stacks up, but for now, City and Asylum are game changers, pun intended.

Scott Pilgrim Versus the World


I am seriously bringing this shot to Kinkos and having them blow it up so I can hang it over my couch.

Bam, no one saw this coming, huh? Like an evil ex from the past, it strikes with blind vengeance. Though not a superhero in the “I can fly” sense, he is super, and he is a hero, so he is here!

Scott Pilgrim for the PSN and XBL was, much like the above games, perfect. Not only was it an old school brawler (which was a huge inspiration for the original books), but it made nods to video games within a video game, it had brutal difficulty that old school games used to have at times, and the hand drawn graphics and chip tune music was exactly how you would imagine it would be, if an old school video game came BEFORE the comic. But that reality is, it came afterwards, seems like it came before, and is all awesome. I will admit, unlike the above games, you WILL appreciate this game that much more if you read the original comics the material is based on, which is one of my fave graphic novel (series) of the last decade.

And when you are done catching up on all these games, go read some shit about serial killers. Seriously unsettling stuff from your resident weirdo, Remy.

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  1. Arkham Asylum IS better than Arkham City. Do most people think otherwise? I guess the open-world design appeals to people, but that game made no sense to me — whereas Asylum actually felt pretty close to an episode of the Animated Series. Plus Asylum has that whole subplot running about the creation of the Asylum itself and all that. Really I thought City was a big step down, if still a lot of fun.

    And I’ll agree that the Wolverine game is a blast to play, but I must say that its story leaves a lot to be desired, too. Also, the graphics are outright hideous in places. For me, these are relatively minor infractions that don’t prevent the gameplay itself from being a ridiculous amount of fun, but I can’t help but think an actual “perfect” Wolverine game would have me remembering more than how imaginative the violence was.

    I’ll have to go play that Scott Pilgrim thing sometime.

  2. That Wolverine game was a lot of fun, I wouldn’t mind that studio making more based off of comic story lines.

    The violence was pretty over the top, as was the “Lunge”manuever, but it was also refreshing to see the kind of gruesome damage claws like that would do as weapons.

    Also, the beginning and end cut-scenes are probably some of the best Wolverine short films ever done.

  3. I own all these games bar Ultimate Alliance 2. I agree with you about Shattered Dimensions, loved the visuals in that game.

    Speaking of underrated games, have you ever played Enslaved: Odyssey to the West?

  4. LAST SONG KILLS AUDIENCE! Bwa-ha-haaaa! I wasn’t too impressed with the demo for the Scott Pilgrim game. Maybe something’s wrong with me since I grew up on Double Dragon and the like and Pilgrim is one of my favorite comics of all time. There’s no reason I shouldn’t have loved it.

    You guys are insane to say Arkham Asylum is better than Arkham City. Did you really enjoy backtracking all over the goddamn place trying to pick up all of the collectibles and solve the riddles that much? That is tiresome and outdated game structuring to say the least. Plus, there wasn’t enough combat. Arkham City solved all of those problems. And then there’s the doofy and unchallenging final boss. The story was amazing, though, and both games deserve to be considered true classics.

    Ultimate Alliance was waaaaay underrated. The sequel lost some of that mojo, but it was still pretty cool thanks to the Civil War storyline and ability to combine powers.

    Skipped Shattered Dimensions since it didn’t look that great. Best representation of Deadpool EVAR, you say? Have you not seen Hulk vs Wolverine or played MvC3 or is it really that amazing? Guess I’ll have to check it out.

  5. @David R, glad I am not alone in that assessment.
    @Xenoirish, I SERIOUSLY hope there is a follow up to that game as well.
    @Batarangman, ENSLAVED? Hell yes, Ninja Theory, one of the most underrated games of this generation, points to you for that!
    @Tribol, hell yes, my friend! Good tastes.
    @Nick, this is good, needed come counterpoints, hahaha.
    I see why people prefer City (though this thread makes me wonder if, perhaps, there are more like us) but for me, the contained aspect just worked at ensuring i felt like i was pretty much seeing everything, whereas City was almost (GASP too sprawling at times.
    And yes, LOVED Hulk VS version of Deadpool, but yes, the amazing level is the pinnacle of awesome Deadpool imho

  6. What, no love for the Infamous games? They’re not comic adaptions but this is a list of superhero games and I have yet to play a game that has made me feel more like a superhero than the Infamous series.

  7. Good article man. I grew up a Marvel fanatic so I bought all the game tie-ins, and they all sucked. Ultimate Alliance finally changed that for me. I also loved Shattered Dimensions….dope game. I never played the Wolvie one (I gave up on Marvel games for awhile) so I’ll have to pick that one up. Thanks!

  8. I was seriously expecting the inFAMOUS games on this list. What I wasn’t expecting was a mention of Spiderman 2. I literally cannot see how anyone liked that game. It was the most repetitive, dull game I’ve ever played, except for the 2008 Prince of Persia game.
    Other than that, I really need to play some of these games.

  9. I don’t know… My favorite superhero game is still X-Men (the 6 player arcade cabinet version). Each character fought just slightly differently, and each had a different super power that was unique to the character. Loved it when it came out on XBL, and still play a game here and there when I just want to kill some time 🙂

    “Welcome….. TO DIE!!!”

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