Top 5: Best Superhero Video Games


5. Ultimate Spider-Man

I might be getting some flack in the comments section right now for choosing this above the also-excellent Spider-Man 2, but I believe Ultimate Spider-Man carries on those great web-slinging acrobatics of that game and updates that movie tie-in to this great, cell-shaded spectacle. It also improves on some of the minor quirks of Spider-Man 2 and also allows you to play as some alternate characters.



4. City of Heroes

I’ve never been one for MMORPGs after a bad break-up with Final Fantasy Online, but one game I still miss is the excellent City of Heroes. It was one of the first games to fulfill the promise of the superhero genre in video games, and remains one of the most memorable superhero games out there. From the simple building of a superhero all the way to creating a backstory and an awesome community of fellow players, and it was a thing of majesty.


3. Infamous 2

Although not based on a comic book (it spawned one later on), Sucker Punch’s Infamous series — specifically this second installment — is arguably the best depiction of comic-style superpowers with its hero, Cole MacGrath. The video game was positively electric (pin intended), with its immensely long story-play and intense combat mechanics. Although there was some slight camera problems during the fight scenes, Infamous 2 is a game that’ll stay on video game fan’s shelves for a long time.



2. Marvel vs. Capcom series

After the emergence of fighting games with Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, video game publisher Capcom did the unheard of thing of calling Marvel Entertainment and making an offer fans will thank them for forever. It’s most recent installment brought closeted fans out of the woodwork, cementing the series’ place amongst the top superhero video games ever.



1. Batman: Arkham series

The British game developer Rocksteady Studios rocketed to the top of the heap when they released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. With a story written by one of the best modern day Batman writers, Paul Dini, and featuring featuring the return of DC Animated Universe’s Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, it was one of the best conceived superhero games out there. With two games out and a third on its way, it puts the game shop on the map as the next place comic fans will go to on Wednesday after their comic shops.


  1. Marvel vs Capcom is a standard in this house and has been since I had it on my Dreamcast back in the day.

    I played City of Heroes from shortly after launch to the bitter, bitter end.

    • My only addition would be the first Ultimate Alliance. Loved loved loved that game. (The second one not so much.)

    • City of Heroes looked seriously addictive.

      It was too much exactly for me and I’d already sacrificed years in the chair to FPS mods.

      A missed opportunity on my part and intentional avoidance of an immense time-soak, to be sure.

      By the way I’ve experienced the “shortly after launch to the bitter. bitter end” thing quite a few times with some personal favorite shooter mod communities.

  2. These games are great, but I also loved the Captain America game based on the movie. Captain America and the Avengers in the arcades was really good too!!

  3. The Punisher on XBox and PS2 was an excellent game too. A lot of fun and really referenced the Eniis run.

  4. I mostly agree with the top 5 list, but I’d scratch Infamous 2 and replace it with Marvel Ultimate Alliance, it was one heck of a Hack’n Slash RPG with lots of stuff to do, an interesting story and a shit load of characters to play with, kudoos for forming classic teams to have some bonuses! 😉 But narrowing the list to just 5 is hard…

  5. While I agree with the list for the most part, I hesitate to include any fighting game, simply because the play mechanics and balancing causes most of the characters to have the same basic controls and fight only each other. Don’t get me wrong, the fan service and competitiveness is a huge draw, but you’re not really taking on the roles of these characters like the other games on the list.

  6. Pretty weak to not include Freedom Force, which of course, was awesome, original and really paid homage to the golden age.

    X-Men Legends was more fun for me than its follow-ups.

  7. Kudos for posting Ultimate Spider-Man, rather than Spider-Man 2. USM was SM2’s better in every way.

    • Whoa Whoa Whoa, slow down there bud. Both are great, but to say USM was better in EVERY way? I have a different recollection friend. But it was cool switching back and forth from Venom and the dialogue was pretty funny too.

  8. I loved City of Heroes. No other superhero MMO has been as fun for me as that game was, and I think a huge part of it was the awesome community that had formed.

    And I echo the call to include Freedom Force on this list…. Honorable mention, perhaps? 😀

    • Totally agree on both parts. Only online game I ever played was City of Heroes. Miss it but it was too addicting and had to quit.
      Freedoom Force was a fun time too.

  9. No DC’s Injustice you gotta be cra cra, plus the Wolverine and Deadpool game could easily have made it as well.

  10. LEGO Batman, too.

  11. Why not “Arkham City”? I thought it was much improved over AA, though it didn’t have the same atmosphere and the story was tighter in AA admittedly. Still, AC improved on the fighting and had Robin and Nightwing and… everything else!

  12. I still play ultimate spiderman. It took me forever to collect all those tokens. I wish they made a second one. Great list

  13. I’ve never disconnected my PS2 and just picked Spider-Man 2 back up, believe it or not. (At my son’s behest.) I always wanted to play Ultimate Spider-Man, but I could never get past the f***ing time trial level at the beginning where you race Johnny Storm. One of my greatest personal failures.

    I have a favorite that doesn’t get much ink: “Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.” Paul Jenkins wrote it, but the story is not why I like it. It’s a GTA-style sandbox game, but with the Hulk. I rarely played the levels; I’d just drop into downtown and start throwing buses. Catharsis!

    • Ha.

      There was a Half-Life training level or something that I messed up on.

      I was playing like eleventy-five other shooter games and mods of those games at that time.

      I ejected it, and took it back the next time I was at the store, which was probably the next day.

      I must’ve looked at the Gold Pack when it came out like a billion times.

      “I should really get this…”

      I even played Team Fortress when it was just an online-only beta mod.

      Never circled back around to HL, though.


  14. Marvel vs Capcom is great because ANYONE who picks it up can at least be good at it. It’s fast paced and exciting, and all you have to tell those who are unfamiliar with fighting games is “Press down, forward, then an attack button to do a cool move!”

    • The entire Marvel vs. Capcom series will always hold a special place in my heart.

      The first five arcade games were some of the best coin-op I’d ever seen, and I’d been waiting since Androids came out for something to really kick me in the face for my quarter.

      I consider Children of the Atom to have some of the best sprites I’d ever seen up until that point.

      Check out the Psylocke gifs.

      Someone was very enthused to do that job, and did it quite well.

  15. I’ve only played 2 of the 5, and I hate all the Capcom fighters with a passion, so my list would be a little different.

    For sure I would add Injustice and the Ultimate Alliance/X-Men Legends series. There have been a lot of okay superhero games but those ones stand out to me as great ones, along with Arkham City.

  16. Why is one Infamous chosen over the other, and yet the entire Arkham and Marvel Vs. Capcom series are included?

  17. Great idea for an article, I am not much of a gamer but I did play the Arkham games and really liked them. I also really liked Lego Batman 2 but that is because I was able to play it with my son, who had a blast playing it, and it introduced and got him interested in so many DC characters. That being said, I don’t think I would recommend it for someone without young kids.

  18. Great list. Agreed on every front, but number 5. I know, both are REALLY great, but I PERSONALLY would have placed SM2 there. But that’s just me! 🙂

  19. My all time personal favorite is Marvel vs Capcom 2. Played that in the arcade for YEARS. My Ryu/Spider-Man/Wolverine combo has got everyone beat! So happy when it finally crossed over to consoles and I got it for XBOX Live Arcade.

    In general though the Arkham series have been the gold standard for comic book video games. I still find myself playing them every one in a while even though I got 100% completion for them.

    • That IS the gold standard: replayability.

      Lo, the many times and ways I played Deus Ex.

      I even played it though more than once using the Batman Ethos.

      The game forces you to kill just one character, iirc.

      Of course I also played it through after that using the Quake2/GTA Ethos.

      I killed everything and everyone on sight, no matter who they were.

      Really sharpened my skills for the Massive Multi-Monster Melee at the end.

  20. Honorable Mentions: Hulk Ultimate Destruction and all of the Capcom Marvel sidescrollers of yesteryear’s.

  21. The great thing about the Marvel vs. Capcom games was that all of my buddies who were into fighter games would play the Capcom characters, so I always got to play as the superhero characters.

    It even got a few of them to admit that they actually read and liked superhero comic books.

    Before they were cool dudes who only liked ninjas and anime.

    I torture those guys by buying their kids superhero action figures and DVDs.

    And asking them how much they liked that comic book summer blockbuster movie they took the family to see.

  22. Great to see the batman arkham games at number 1 !! I must finish city before the new one comes out in october

  23. The only problem I have with the Arkham series is all the freaking cut scenes. When I buy a game, I want to play a game not watch a movie. A large majority of “big” games, rely too much on cut scenes. I know some people think this enhances the gaming experience, but to me it just brings it down.