Superhero games have always been an escape from reality. Players have always looked at the gaming industry to empower and provide abilities that can only be found in fiction. Gaming, in general, can be seen as a way for players to do fantastical things. Some of the best games available capture these ideas extremely well.
Superhero games have a ton of scope and variety. Be it borrowing from a previous story or comic book to create something entirely new. Such games are fun, addictive, and relatable.
This list covers some of the best superhero games that treat the source material with great respect and five that encapsulate that ‘Super’ feeling while being original.
Five superhero games that perfectly capture the superpower
1) Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance
One of the first proper forays into the gaming industry that showcased Marvel characters, Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance is an ARPG with some surprisingly unique elements. The game is quite simple as the mechanics are engaging and fun. Players have access to some of Marvel’s best characters and have made major strides in telling a superhero story.
The classic superhero game gives players control of up to 4 Marvel characters in an engaging narrative. Gameplay is more akin to a beat-em-up and feels challenging at times. There are a bunch of puzzle sections as well and the game does feel well-thought-out.
The game features heroes such as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor, Iron Man, and many more with an iconic Marvel cast. The story has comic book tropes that fans love and the game has a ton of easter eggs. Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance is a superhero game that has a star-studded cast.
2) Spider-Man (2000)
A blast from the past, Spider-Man (2000) was a fantastic game to own at the time. It was one of the first times a popular comic book superhero starred in his own superhero game. Spider-Man appearing in gaming has been a huge success for the industry. Sparking a cry for more superhero games, the game’s success set a benchmark for more games to come.
The gameplay is really good. It has the mechanics of a beat-em-up and follows Spidey from a third-person perspective. Players can use a melee combo or web-shooters to care for foes. The game features numerous challenging villains from the Spider-Man comics and has been well designed.
The game is extremely dated, but it still plays like a modern game. It has good web-swinging mechanics and allows players to use all of Spidey’s skills. Spider-Man is an old classic superhero game from which fans have fond memories.
3) Batman: Arkham City
The Arkham series is what put Rocksteady on the map. They created a formula for a Batman game that started with Arkham Asylum and ended with Arkham Knight. This epic saga for Batman takes players on a powerful journey and is arguably the best story for Batman in popular media. The game is open world and is set in Arkham City, a vast prison complex that has been cordoned off from the rest of Gotham. It houses some of Gotham’s worst and an actual test to conquer for Batman.
The game is similar to all Arkham games and follows the same beat-em-up style that fans have come to love. The story follows Bruce Wayne, who has been incarcerated in Arkham City. He must use his alter ego to figure out the true secret of Arkham City.
The Joker is also present in this game and is voiced by the iconic Mark Hamill. His voice acting and portrayal of the Joker in Arkham City have been critically acclaimed and he has become a pop-culture icon.
Arkham City is one of the best Arkham games ever made and Rocksteady has amazing plans for the future.
4) Injustice 2
When Injustice: Gods Among Us was released in 2013, NetherRealm Studios hit a gold mine. Already famous for developing the Mortal Kombat games, Injustice: Gods Among Us and its sequel are based on the same engine but with some tweaks. The source material for the story is one of the best DC stories ever written for comic books. Injustice: Gods Among Us pits all the iconic DC superheroes and villains against each other in classic Mortal Kombat style.
The story for the game is pretty linear and does not excite much. Players will mostly play this game online or on the same system as a multiplayer. The game’s cosmetics are locked behind loot boxes that require a lot of grinding. This is tedious and sometimes trivializes the game. Injustice 2 excels in the action-packed combos that bring these iconic characters to life. Injustice 2 is an excellent fighting game that doubles as a superhero game.
5) Marvel’s Spider-Man
This next entry brings the Spider-Man games full circle, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best games made and it shows. The superhero game is filled with things to do and the wonderfully rendered city of New York is a treat to explore. The open-world feels populated and there is rarely a moment where players feel bored.
The story follows Spider-Man as he goes up against some of his toughest opponents. It is quite a challenge, but the game is simple to pick up and play. The combat feels exceptionally good as Spider-Man’s combos and attacks blend really well with his character. He also throws quips and witty remarks often aimed at the bad guys.
With the release of Miles Morales, Spider-Man games have cemented themselves as the premier superhero game to play.
Five superhero games that make you feel like a superhero
One of the best games of the late 2000s, Prototype is a unique game inspired by common anti-hero tropes. The superhero game is set in an open-world rendition of Manhattan and is unrestrictive in its freedom of exploration. The game is a product of its age and it does not hold up too well even on next-gen consoles but still has that charm and edginess that was 2009.
Prototype is a superhero game that follows an anti-hero in Alex Mercer. A shapeshifting superhuman being, he is a conflicted soul who ends up saving the city from a biological disaster.
The gameplay revolves around Alex Mercer using his powers to cut down foes that come in his path. Prototype has many fun elements and should not be disregarded because of its age.
2) Infamous: Second Son
Sucker Punch Productions knows how to make an open world game and this is another entry that follows an anti-hero in a superhero game. Infamous: Second Son is the sequel to Infamous and was released in 2014. The game has been praised for its immaculate style and unique visuals. Infamous: Second Son is flashy and loud, much like Delsin Rowe's protagonist.
The game follows Delsin through a trivial story, but where Infamous: Second Son shines is its combat and open world setting. The game is incredibly detailed and polished. The core concept of the Infamous games is that players can make good or evil decisions that impact NPCs around them.
Players can choose to kill criminals instead of taking them into custody. The vigilatism adds a whole ton of flavor as players can choose to tell their own Delvin story.
Infamous: Second Son is a PlayStation exclusive and is available to play on the PS4 and PS5.
Fans of the X-Men’s Jean Grey will absolutely love this game. Control was developed by Remedy Entertainment, responsible for the original Max Payne and Alan Wake games. The Finnish developer used their proprietary Northlight engine to develop this superhero gaming experience with a lot of depth and narrative plot. The game has been highly praised for its strong characters and excellent rendering. The design and aesthetic are spot on and sometimes dark and gritty.
Control follows the story of Jesse Faden, who has psychokinetic powers and is trying to uncover the mysteries that lie ahead. The game’s story is quite complicated and is best enjoyed going blind. There are many skills to unlock as the player progresses the story and is rewarded with clues about the mysterious entity that guides Jesse.
Control is one of Remedy Entertainment’s more ambitious titles and is an excellent superhero game.
4) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park’s entry into the gaming world was with South Park: The Stick of Truth in 2014. The creators South Park have always known what makes their fans laugh and they have delivered an RPG experience that feels like a long South Park episode. Players can make their own South Park characters and be a part of the comical world of South Park.
Gameplay and story are what you would expect in a South Park game. Expanding on the same idea in Stick of Truth, this sequel has a lot of quality of life improvements and is a superhero game as well.
Grids have been added to give it a more old-school RPG style and the combat is turn-based. Borrowing heavily from old-school Japanese RPGs, players can choose classic South Park characters to be a part of their team.
The Fractured But Whole is as fun as entertaining and should be played by all South Park fans.
5) Saints Row IV
The only title that can come close to a Superman game, Saints Row IV, is as witty as it is a giant satire. The Saints Row series has always been known to fascinate and captivate fans with iconic characters like Johnny Gat. Saints Row IV is an open-world game set in a simulated world that players can treat as their playground.
Saints Row IV follows a created player character who is the President of the United States. The game is ironically patriotic as this is used as a narrative plot as well. When aliens invade and put most of the presidential staff into a simulated world, the President must break free and destroy the simulations, destroying the mothership and looking cool.
Saints Row IV does not start off as one but it quickly becomes a superhero game as the player gets access to powers and abilities that would rival the very gods. Saints Row IV is a fantastic experience that doubles as a fantastic superhero game.