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Best Modern Videogames Based on Comic Books

Updated on May 25, 2015

There is a tendency for videogames based on comic books to come out subpar, for reasons unknown to many (if we’re going by popular opinion, it’s mostly due to lazy developers who know that the games will sell because of the market pull of the license.) There are, however, several modern comic book-based videogames that not only stand out among their brethren, but are also considered as cream of the crop even outside of their sub-genre. Here are a few that you need to check out:

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Uncaged Edition

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a multiplatform videogame prequel and adaptation of the Hugh Jackman-helmed blockbuster film. It follows Logan around the time when he woke up and escaped from the Weapon X facility, while also delving into his past through flashbacks.

The game is a gorgeous and intense 3D action game with platforming and puzzle elements. The Uncaged Edition was released for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360, while a regular edition was released for the PS2, PSP, Wii, with a sidescrolling one released for the Nintendo DS. The two versions, made by different developers follow the same storyline, but the regular edition is targeted towards younger players so the violence is toned down and the gameplay simplified (to its detriment.)

Why You Need to Play This

  • The visuals are stunning, almost lifelike. Logan looks exactly like Hugh Jackman.
  • Even if you’re not a fan of Wolverine, the game stands on its own merits. It’s got off the walls action that gives you a ton of different ways to dispatch enemies, and puzzle and platforming elements that are challenging yet not frustrating (the game itself has mechanics that will prevent you from being stuck, such as Logan’s heightened senses telling you where to go next.)
  • Experience what it’s like to be Wolverine in a game. You’re virtually unkillable unless you specifically chose to get your character killed. Logan is agile, fast, can deal and soak a lot of damage, and he heals in real time. You actually get to see him sustain wounds and heal those wounds over time.

LEGO Batman: The Videogame

LEGO Batman: The Videogame is a 3rd person beat-em-up and puzzle game that gives you control of Batman and a wide assortment of characters from his franchise. The catch is that everything – from the characters, to the environment and even the vehicles - is portrayed as LEGOs.

LEGO Batman: The Videogame is multiplatform, with releases for PC, Nintendo DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360. The PC and console versions are mostly the same, while some of the handheld versions were toned down due to the limited hardware capability, but still retain the general look and feel of the main ports.

Why You Need to Play This

  • It’s a game that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike, both in terms of visual and gameplay accessibility. It can be played co-op, and the game is very forgiving to less-skilled players, making it the ideal game to play with your spouse or kid.
  • There’s no violence or nudity in the game at all, so if you’re worried about things like those, Lego Batman is the game to play.
  • The game is really funny, particularly if you’re familiar with the source material.
  • LEGO Batman: The Videogame is the best in the series so far, as the follow-ups started amping the difficulty and complexity of puzzles, so they’re no longer as accessible.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a 3D isometric action RPG (in the same vein as the Diablo series) that puts you in control of several characters from Marvel’s rich roster of superheroes and anti heroes. You get to play with four at a time, and can swap between all the heroes that you have already unlocked.

Released on a wide variety of platforms (PS2, Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, PC), the game takes you on a roller coaster ride as Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron-Man, and a dozen of other popular Marvel heroes travel to different places in the universe – from the Skrull homeworld to Asgard and everything in between – in an effort to stop Doctor Doom, Loki, The Mandarin, and a bunch of other villains who have crawled out of the woodwork and assaulted SHIELD.

Why You Need to Play It

  • Have you ever wanted to see Thor fight alongside Wolverine, or Spider-Man alongside Blade? Marvel Ultimate Alliance lets you mix and match heroes in order to form your own dream team.
  • Costumes. Each character has access to several costumes based on their different eras or variations in the comic books. For instance, Spider-man has his black symbiote costume, and even his friendly neighborhood bag-man costume.
  • Game can be played co-op, and the mechanics allow the better player to “carry” his partner throughout the fights, which makes the game ideal if you want to play with a spouse or a kid that isn’t as skilled as you are.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a multiplatform (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) 3rd person action game that puts you in the shoes of different Spider-Men from various parallel universes, as they try to remedy a cataclysmic event that has shattered the web of time and brought four universes – each with its own version of the wallcrawler – together.

Why You Need to Play It

  • Gorgeous and varied visuals: each universe has its own theme and art style. For example, Spider-Man Noir’s universe is rendered using noir-ish visuals (dark areas, muted palletes, etc.) while Ultimate Spider-Man’s is bright and cel-shaded, giving the appearance of a comic-book.
  • Variations in gameplay depending on the Spider-Man you’re playing. Each Spider-Man in the game has his own specialty. For instance, Spiderman Noir relies on stealth, while Spider-Man 2009 can go gung-ho and fight opponents head on.
  • Innovative bossfights. Different bosses from the game will require different strategies, so you can’t expect to beat them all just by zipping in and punching everything that moves. For instance, one of the enemies is Deadpool, which you can pretty much go toe to toe with. On the other hand, you’ll also face Juggernaut – and trust me when I say that strength of a spider or no, you’ll have to be a bit more agile and strategic.

Batman: Arkham City

The second in Rocksteady’s series of 3rd person action adventure games based on the Batman franchise, Arkham City is considered the best so far due to the scope and availability of content compared to its predecessor and successor.

Storywise, Batman: Arkham City follows Bruce Wane/Batman as he infiltrates the titular city, which is a maximum security designed as a large city where Gotham’s most dangerous criminals walk free within the walls. Inside the city, Bruce has been captured by the Joker and infected with a fatal disease borne out of the Titan formula from the first game. As Batman, he has to race against time and find the cure while trying to stop a plot to release the deadly Titan formula onto Gotham’s unsuspecting citizens.

Why You Need to Play It

  • It has one of the most innovative and rewarding combat systems so far, allowing you to punch, kick, parry, and counter seamlessly and efficiently. It makes you feel exactly like you’re controlling Batman himself.
  • Stealth mechanics that are accessible. Stealth games are usually not friendly to casual players, but Batman’s stealth mechanics are easy enough for non-hardcore players to adapt to, and fit in well with the lore.
  • It’s a free roam game, so you’re not forced to play the story at all. You can just roam Arkham City and do side missions, or just fight random groups of thugs.
  • Tons of extra content. You’ll be able to play not just as Batman, but also as his sidekicks, allies, and different variations thereof (Adam West Batman, Batman Year One, Red Robin, etc.)

That’s five really good comic book video games that you must check out if you haven’t already. The list is by no means comprehensive, as new comic book-related videogames are coming out all the time. If you can think of other titles that should be added to this list, feel free to sound off on the comments.

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