There should be a lot more of the best superhero games than there actually are. Video games and all things superheroes share an intersection of being pure escapism: there’s a reason why Marvel’s output dominates the box office and why games keep selling in huge numbers. You only need to look at Marvel’s Spider-Man’s sales success to see that.
Whether it’s because of lazy adaptations to tie-in with the newest box office releases or the developers just not understanding the characters, the best superhero games are a small but quality bunch of beloved titles, ranging from the virtuous to the, erm, flatulent. Some of them aren’t even tied to comic books and are entirely new entities, though it would be nice at one point in the timeline of humanity to play a Superman game that is not terrible. Leave it with Rocksteady and watch this space.
You’ll find a wide selection of the best superhero games here, with more to be added if any impress. What did we miss? Please note that due to the licensing issues forcing Activision to stop selling them, we’ve decided to omit the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games.
The Best Superhero Games
18. Batman: Arkham VR
Developer: Rocksteady Publisher: WB Games
An early game released during the boom of the updated tech, Batman: Arkham VR still stands up as one of the best virtual reality games going. There’s nothing quite like donning a headset and feeling like you’re instead donning the famous cowl — Arkham VR does a fantastic job of helping you become the Bat.
So why is it so low down on our list? It’s, quite simply, too damn short. You can whip through it in an hour and a half and do everything there is to do in just under three. It’s a short but sweet experience with more emphasis on the detective side of Batman than the face-breaking, so here’s hoping a longer and fuller VR game comes out in the future.
“Although Batman: Arkham VR is not the game that will justify your PSVR purchase, it is still my favourite one thus far and I hope that it will set the standard of quality for future VR games. Rocksteady did not disappoint with the final entry in the Batman: Arkham saga, even if it is a bit short.”
Developer: Pentadimensional Games Publisher: Pentadimensional Games
You’re going to need a VR headset (and maybe some ginger) to get the most out of Megaton Rainfall: an FPS of sorts that pits you as an all-powerful entity who must stop an alien invasion. You fly around the world at breakneck speed and take the fight to the bad guys in this limited but still fun VR title.
Megaton Rainfall is somewhat rough around the edges and may perhaps become a little old a little too soon, but the first few times when your Dr Manhattan self saves innocents through the power of virtual reality is one of the most immersive experiences you’re likely to have in a superhero game. This may be the closest thing we get to being Superman for a long time.
Developer: Radical Entertainment Publisher: Activision
Often compared somewhat unfavourably to an entry you’ll find later on in this list, Prototype is perhaps too edgy for its own good but still packs one hell of punch. You play as Alex Mercer, who is “gifted” with powers that allow you him to shapeshift and create massive bloody swords from his arms.
Taking place in an open world in which its inhabitants are under threat from a deadly plague, you must use all the powers at your disposal — whether that be giant tendrils impaling your enemies or taking control of a freaking tank — to save the day. Its sequel lost its way, so we may never see Prototype 3. If you ask us, they should take a chance and create a supervillain game instead; it would suit the style of the games down to the ground.
15. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Developer: Raven Software Publisher: Activision
A game we overlooked on our first draft of this list probably because of its association with the terrible, terrible movie of the same name, X-Men Origins: Wolverine goes to places that the movies never could. Namely chopping your enemies into little pieces with Logan’s adamantium claws.
More graphic than even the Deadpool game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is as bloody and graphic as superhero games get, as well as having a startling eye for detail. When Wolverine is hurt, his body shows it before regenerating in real-time — you can watch as his wounds heal themselves. It’s a little hard to get hold of these days, but may be totally worth it.
14. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
Developer: Traveller’s Tales Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
If you want a challenging and gritty superhero game, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 ain’t it. If you want one that you can absent-mindedly play with the young ones and titter along to some pretty cheesy laughs, it’s one of your best options.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 doesn’t move the wheel much (if at all) from its many, many Lego predecessors. Once you’ve played one, you’ve effectively played them all. However, for bringing together a huge cast of Marvel characters ranging across its many ages as well as a host of things to see and do, it’s a fun distraction for all the family. Whatever gets them off Fortnite for a bit, right?
13. Batman: The Telltale Series
Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games
You might be surprised to know that Batman: The Telltale Series actually has a lot of action in it for a Telltale experience. It’s not quite as immersive as The Walking Dead: The Final Season, but it should be viewed as the first sign that Telltale were trying to move away from their simplistic but effective USP.
Much like the Gotham show, Batman: The Telltale Series is a different spin on The Dark Knight’s mythology with major changes to the villains and more of a focus on Bruce Wayne the friend and businessman. While it’s unlikely to change the mind of Telltale dissenters, it’s a must-play for fans of Batman and those seeking out the best superhero games.
12. Saints Row 4
Developer: Volition Publisher: Deep Silver
Technically, this isn’t a true superhero game. For one, the game never definitively calls you a superhero and also you never saw Captain America clobbering people with a purple dildo, though that may have improved The First Avenger. If you wanted The Avengers meets Adult Swim, however, Saints Row 4 should be your next port of call.
Saints Row 4 doesn’t change the formula much from the previous game and elects instead to just ramp up the ridiculousness. You can leap and run like the best of them, meaning that whoever worked on the cars in the game probably felt like they were wasting their time. This may be the last great Saints Row game we ever see, so treasure it.
Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco Publisher: Ubisoft
Much like Saints Row 4, South Park: The Fractured But Whole doesn’t feature characters that would be adorned on posters as national heroes. Instead, you play as the titular town’s infamous kids as they daydream about being superheroes. And farting on everything in sight.
An RPG-lite, The Fractured But Whole doesn’t change things up a great deal from its predecessor, The Stick of Truth. Instead, it’s more guilt-inducing hilarity and pastiches of modern superhero culture with all the animation style you’ve come to know and love from South Park. It didn’t sell all that well, so you can pick up a copy on the relative cheap.