Superhero video games are a fairly niche genre, not having many options available for players to choose from. From its humble beginnings on arcade machines, it feels as though superhero games haven't been as widely explored as other genres of video games out there. However, that doesn't mean there isn't an entertaining variety of games to choose from centered around superhero narratives.
From games focusing on original characters like Infamous to adventures follow famed comic book characters like Batman, Spider-Man, and many more, there are actually quite a few games well worth playing for any and all superhero fans.
With recent video game releases like Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (which has just arrived on Windows), we thought we'd take a look back at some notable past superhero games. From cult classics that arrived on early consoles to the most recent Marvel games dominating the market, here are some of the greatest superhero video games of all time.
After being implicated in a terrorist attack, The Avengers disband. Years later, a shadowy government organization known as A.I.M. threatens to exterminate all Inhumans on the planet. In response, a young woman named Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) attempts to bring Earth's mightiest heroes back together again to stop them.
Modeled more closely on the MCU than on their comic book counterparts, Marvel's Avengers was expected to be one of the greatest superhero games ever made, with many seeing it as Marvel's long-awaited answer to DC's Arkham series. Unfortunately, technical issues and user interface problems led to the game mainly earning mixed reviews, even though the gameplay and story are definitely worthy of praise.
DC Universe Online
As the hyper-intelligent alien, Brainiac, prepares to invade Earth, a new superpowered individual arrives to either unite the planet's heroes and villains — or use the ensuing chaos for their gain.
Featuring appearances from virtually every well-known DC character there is, DC Universe Online is the extensive multiplayer game that will allow DC fans to live out their ultimate fantasies. You can choose to be the hero you always wanted to be, or a villain aligned with the likes of Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, or the Joker.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Some years after a massive intergalactic war has ravaged much of the universe, the destitute Guardians of the Galaxy agree to recover a mysterious woman's rare pet creature for her, setting in motion a series of events that threaten the entirety of existence.
The combat system can sometimes be a little wonky, but Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy feels original enough in terms of its story and characters to prevent it from completely falling flat.
Mixing the humor one associates with the MCU movies with its interactive environments, it's a game that truly captures the heart and spirit of the Guardians of the Galaxy and all the dysfunctional adventures they embark on.
Based on a video game Deadpool himself wrote, Deadpool follows the infamous Merc with a Mouth as he teams up with the X-Men and Cable to stop Mister Sinister from using an army of clones to take over the world.
Containing all the tongue-in-cheek and self-aware humor you'd expect from a Deadpool video game, Deadpool itself remains an enjoyable enough video game in its own right. The game has a few issues in terms of gameplay, but its comedic elements make it a more than entertaining game that you spend as much time laughing at as you do playing it.
Batman: The Telltale Series
After his family is implicated in a corruption scandal involving Gotham City's mob, Batman searches for the truth behind his parents' death, leading to a variety of encounters with some of the city's most famed criminals.
Focusing more heavily on the “detective” aspect of the Caped Cruader, Batman: The Telltale Series is Telltale at its finest, offering a more narrative-based exploration of Gotham and its characters than most other action-heavy superhero games.
Some technical issues and criticisms over the narrative led to the game earning mixed to positive reviews, but it's still one of the better Telltale products in the company's tragically short history.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Based on the 2009 FOX Studios/Marvel film of the same name, X-Men Origins: Wolverine traces the career and life of Wolverine from his mercenary days with Sabretooth to his eventual transformation into the adamantium-reinforced fugitive hunted by Colonel Stryker.
It's with good reason that most people try their best to forget the nonsensical nightmare that was the film version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, its later video game counterpart marks a darker, more mature exploration of Wolverine‘s past, complete with satisfying gameplay.
Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
There have been numerous entries in the Marvel vs. Capcom gaming series, but Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is typically cited as being the best.
Released back in 2000 and rereleased several times for modern consoles, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes sees players select from numerous fan-favorite characters from both Marvel and Capcom properties.
Often called one of the greatest fighting games of all time, New Age of Heroes allows you to find out for yourself who's the better fighter: Captain America or Ryu, Iron Man or Mega Man, Wolverine or M. Bison.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
With notorious villains Doctor Doom and Loki forming a sinister alliance, the heroes of the Marvel Universe unite to protect the planet from the all-powerful Doom Ray of Doom — the ultimate weapon of mass destruction created by the villains to triumph over Earth.
The best-selling Lego video game to date, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is the perfect combination of the lighthearted humor of Lego games and the more action-packed thrills of the Marvel universe. Naturally, it's not as serious and a bit more meta than most other Marvel video games, but therein lies the game's main appeal.
Two years after the events of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Batman and his contingent of superheroes work on rebuilding the world. Uncovering a secretive villainous group known as the Society that plans on conquering the world, Batman's remaining forces try to find a way to stop them.
A significant improvement over the original Injustice, Injustice 2 is a vastly superior game in every sense imaginable. Utilizing a more extensive roster of heroes and villains, improved graphics, and customization options, it's the ultimate fighting game for fans of the DC universe.
When a mass explosion goes off in the fictional Empire City, bike courier Cole MacGrath finds that he's gained electricity-based superhuman powers. In the ensuing chaos that engulfs the city, Cole uses his newfound powers to restore order or to seize control of Empire for himself, based on the player's individual choices.
One of the rare superhero games not based on a pre-existing comic book character, Infamous is a cult hit from the 2000s that cleverly uses its unique gameplay system, original cutscenes, and emphasis on players' decisions. Each of its later sequels is worth playing, but it's the first Infamous that remains the best.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Closely following the film's events, Spider-Man 2 follows Spider-Man as he tries to balance his time as a superhero with his personal life as everyman Peter Parker. When his former mentor, Dr. Otto Octavius, transforms into the unhinged supervillain, Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man does everything he can to stop him from destroying New York.
Thanks to newer games like Marvel's Spider-Man, it can be easy to forget just how revolutionary the mechanics and gameplay style of 2004's Spider-Man 2 really were.
Before the release of this game, no other video game allowed players to effortlessly swing from skyscraper to skyscraper in New York, climbing some of the city's highest buildings and battling some of its most challenging villains. It was a game that indeed was ahead of its time.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Set one day after South Park: The Stick of Truth, South Park's kids begin roleplaying as superheroes in the hopes of launching a successful media franchise they can profit directly from. The more time they spend roleplaying, the more they learn about a secret organization responsible for a rampant crime wave in the city.
Like The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole balances enjoyable gameplay with South Park‘s irreverent comedic style. Listening to fan feedback from the original game, The Fractured But Whole is the ultimate gaming experience for fans of Comedy Central's hit animated series, complete with appearances from some of the show's best and most notable characters.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Just over a year after his training with Peter Parker, Miles Morales struggles to balance his tenure as Spider-Man with his personal life at home. Moving with his family to Harlem, Miles investigates a conflict between the shady Roxxon Energy Corporation and a criminal faction known only as the Underground that threatens to destroy his neighborhood.
Following in the footsteps of Marvel's Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a similarly addictive game that explores the character of Miles Morales — one of the most popular Marvel heroes today. It may do little to expand upon the formula set by the earlier Spider-Man, but it's already as near to perfection as a superhero game can get.
As the mysterious gangster Mister Negative recruits Manhattan's most dangerous criminals in his employ, Spider-Man does his best to stop his villainous counterparts while dealing with personal issues that arise in his private life as Peter Parker.
Commonly named one of the best superhero games of all time, Marvel has released several games centered around their famous superhero properties, but Spider-Man is undoubtedly the best. Its infectiously fun gameplay, web-swinging mechanics, and presentation of its characters make it a game that's almost impossible to stop playing. It's just that good.
The Arkham Series
Spanning four separate games, the Batman: Arkham games follows the Dark Knight as he battles some of Gotham City's most fearsome criminals — from the fear-obsessed Scarecrow and the corrupt official Hugo Strange to the Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker.
The fantastic thing about the Batman: Arkham series is how excellent each game in the franchise really is. Even the weakest game in the series — Arkham Origins — is still well worth playing, if not for its innovative story, at least for its gameplay and characters.
It's one of the most remarkable video game series ever made and the perfect illustration of everything a superhero game should be: fun, challenging, and accurate to the nature of the original comics.
More From Wealth of Geeks
- 8 Controversial Comedies That Could Never Get Made Today
- 10 Movies Fans Watched Once and Refused to Watch Again
- Top 5 TV Show Cancellations That Still Frustrate Disappointed Fans
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).