Throughout the month of June, Blastr will be celebrating our favorite digital diversions with Video Game Month: A look at some best, worst and wackiest from the world of shooters, space sims, strategy games, and more.
Superheroes have been dominating the box office for years now, but there’s one arena where the capes and cowls crowd have yet to fully take over — video games.
Yes, there have been some awesome superhero games over the years, but they can sometimes be few and far between. So, we’ve tried to cut through the noise and break down the superhero video games you should definitely check out while you wait for the next huge Marvel or DC movie to hit the big screen.
Check out our picks below, and let us know your favorites!
This 2002 PC game is an oldie, but a goodie. The game is a real-time tactical game, set in a world where people gain superpowers and have to defend Patriot City from villains and monsters. The game played on the classic superhero tropes, and put its own spin on several DC and Marvel stalwarts. It also has quite a few different characters, bringing different trait and abilities to the table. Freedom Force came out all the way back in 2002, but still holds up pretty well. You can still track it down on Steam, though your mileage may vary depending on the new-ness of your system. Ironic note: The game actually inspired its own comic book, via a six-issue miniseries put out by Image Comics in 2005.
Batman: Arkham Knight
When you talk about the best superhero-to-videogame adaptations, there’s a reason this franchise is at the top of most lists. The Rocksteady Studios franchise, which also spans Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Origins, is arguably one of the best interpretations of The Dark Knight on any medium. The graphics and gameplay are top notch, as well as everything from the story to the voice work. Arkham Knight is the culmination of the franchise, and is the most ambitious yet (though you can’t go wrong with any entry in the franchise).
Marvel Heroes 2016
This one has come a long way, and though it was fairly buggy after launching, Marvel Heroes has improved over the years — and is now one of the best MMORPGs on the market for comic fans. Players can upgrade their different abilities and make their hero all their own. It digs deep into the Marvel canon, featuring more than 100 characters (along with different costumes, of course), and kicks off with Doctor Doom obtaining a Cosmic Cube. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Madame Hydra stages a breakout from The Raft, and players are tasked with tracking down some of the Marvel Universe’s worst of the worst.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes
Oddly enough, one of the greatest superhero games ever made frames the comic book world through the lens of LEGOs. The LEGO video game franchise has grown into a juggernaut these days, and a bit part of that success goes back to LEGO Marvel Superheroes, which is one of the highest rated comic book video games ever made — kid-friendly or otherwise. The plot tasks Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with tracking down “Cosmic Bricks,” after Doctor Doom knocks the Silver Surfer out of the sky and shatters his board. As is a common theme in these Marvel games, some baddies escape from The Raft, too. The game has a great sense of humor, and is just plain ol’ fun. From Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Mister Fantastic and Wolverine (and a whole lot more), the whole Marvel roster is all here.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Along with the Arkham series, Injustice: Gods Among Us is the other huge DC game that carries the torch of greatness. The fighting game is set in a world where Superman establishes a new world order after he’s tricked into destroying Metropolis (and killing Lois Lane) by the Joker. To try and stop him, Batman gets some help from the mainstream heroes of the DC universe to take down Supes himself. The fighting mechanics were fantastic, and the storyline also kept it hopping. The game was also good enough to inspire parts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (for whatever that’s worth).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
There have been a boatload of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games over the years, and they vary in quality about as much as you’d assume. But, the franchise arguably reached its zenith in 1991 with this SNES title, which finds the Turtles fighting Shredder and his goons throughout all of time. It’s a side-scrolling beat ‘em up at its heart, but it manages to rarely get repetitive. The game was so good, it was actually remade for modern consoles in 2009, with updated graphics and rerecorded voice work. That version is a lot of fun, too, but misses a bit of the nostalgic charm of the original.
Infamous: Second Son
If you’ve ever wanted to be a superhero and figure out what the heck you would do with those powers, this open world game is the experiment you’ve been waiting for. Released in 2014, the PS4 game drops you into the shoes of a person with enhanced abilities. What happens next is up to you. You can decide to be a hero, or a villain, and the gameplay is top-notch across the board, with an excellent combat system to boot. Admittedly, it’s not exactly superheroes per se, but it’s close enough — and really fun.
DC Universe Online
If the DC universe is your forte, this is the MMORPG for you. The game allows players to create their ow , original character, who will interact with the heroes and villains of the DC universe. You can pick everything from your superpowers to character traits, and eventually earn a spot on the Justice League (or Society, if you’re feeling villainous) roster. Keep at it, and you can level up your hero (or villain) and eventually become a major player in the DC universe. To keep things from getting repetitive, DC also does a good job of updating the game regularly, so there’s typically some fresh content popping in so things don’t get stale.
The first two installments were pretty much the best versions of Spider-Man ever put to film, and the tie-in game for the second film carries a similar honor. Released in 2004 on the major consoles of the time (Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube), Spider-Man 2 does a fantastic job of bringing the web-slinging fun of Spider-Man’s world to life. Spidey gets to face off against several rogues from the comic canon, and the feeling of blasting web and gliding from building to building is still hard to match. If you dream of being Spider-Man, it’s worth digging up for some vintage gaming.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
This action RPG hit shelves in 2006, and proved a critical and commercial hit on everything from PS3, to Xbox 360 (it was first released at the tail end of the previous console cycle). The game told a massive tale stepped in Marvel Comics lore, featuring two dozen playable characters from Spider-Woman to Black Panther. Of course, the major players like Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine are also well-represented. It also crams in dozens of villains, from MODOK to Doctor Doom. The game also spawned a sequel (which was equally great) that let players pick sides in the Civil War.
The Wonderful 101
Nintendo has always been known to push the boundaries for creativity, and The Wonderful 101 is the Big N’s quirky take on the superhero genre. The game is essentially an anime-tinged superhero action adventure game. The game plays out from an isometric point of view, as players control a group of heroes from an isometric viewpoint. You’ll jump from recruiting new heroes and growing your team, to solving quirky puzzles and fighting off alien enemies within this fantastical world. The game mostly ran under the radar, but if you’re looking for a modern-day superhero game that thinks outside the box, this is it.
Earthworm Jim 2
Gah, you have to love the 1990s. The Earthworm Jim franchise was a monster hit for a brief time, spawning a bizarrely awesome animated series and a few fantastic video games along the way. The first Earthworm Jim was great, but Earthworm Jim 2 was just about perfect. The game was a witty and weird platformer, with the hero Earthworm Jim looking to save Princess What’s Her Name from baddies such as Psy-Crow. This was the last entry before the franchise tanked into awfulness, but it’s worth the effort of digging out a Sega Genesis or SNES.