Mar 13, 2014

Superhero games... Yay or Nay?

I'm not the gamer I used to be in my teenage years. Beating a certain PS1 JRPG on a weekend  with 3 hours of sleep from Saturday to Sunday (and breaks for food, shower and toilet use...) Sneaking one to three hours on weekdays to play Street Fighter II... Or spending afternoons at the mall playing arcade games.That's all in the past. I'm older now and He-Man is mostly in charge of the "miscellaneous budget". I got to play the first two Arkham games. No, I'll not review them. They're awesome... and they got me thinking...

Not all Superheroes can work properly in games.
I mean, we've had cool superhero games like the Arkham series for Batman or Spider-Man 2 for Spider-Man, but we've never had a good Superman game...
There have been some decent games for our Spandex clad Heroic Champions of Justice... Others are... well,

Which brings my main point: Not All Superheroes CAN be adapted properly to videogames.
Vigilante styled Heroes like DC's Batman or Marvel's Spider-Man have proven that they are versatile enough to show up in different genres. With the 3D Open World Styled games, we've seen these two flourish. (While the Arkham Series is more of a 3D Metroidvania styled game series, Arkham City is a bit of an Open World Game than its predecesor.)

I'd guess that a Metroidvania/Open World Hybrid Game could work well for Green Arrow or Daredevil.

On the other side of the coin we have guys like Superman or Thor, who seem a bit harder to Translate into games. Superman is extra Difficult since he's virtually invulnerable. Health bars would be almost insulting. An Open World game would NOT work for Superman since we'd need the ENTIRE World just to get a glimpse of what being Superman would be like. We'd also need to up the stakes because Random Criminals SHOULD BE NO MATCH FOR SUPERMAN... We can't have every Tom and Dick running around with Kryptonite Ammo. We'd need something bigger than Luthor in order to make a Decent Superman game. That would bring us back to the older concept of "stages" where we have Supes doing his heroic deeds and stopping whatever evil is afflicting Metropolis and everywhere else the games takes you to.

The issue is that if the Developers do not care enough to make a great game and the Bean Counters do not invest enough capital to allow the Developers to make a great game, we get crap! Especially when dealing with an already hard to make a game out of character like Superman.

Same thing would happen with Thor, though keeping him mostly in Asgard solves a LOT of the problems... Or having Cosmic Level threats on Midgar that don't make Thor feel like he's running around with a Game Genie.

Now we could take the easy route and make a Side Scrolling Brawler and call it a day.

While the game may be likely to be fun, it won't allow you to feel the character... There have been some decent attempts to make games fit the character like Spider-Man 2, the Arkham Series. Other attempts might have had some good ideas but something else screwed up the execution a little bit... Like Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, then we have the crappy games (anything with Superman in the title)

Until we don't reach the Gaming level of Holodecks and controlling the game with our thoughts, Super hero games would be limited... Thinking of Green Lantern here... Beating bad guys with a (Insert ridiculous thing to use as a construct here) would be awesome. Hell even the TMNT are stuck on Beat-em ups.

The problem I'm seeing with man of these games is that they try to shove the characters into the genre instead of making a game that feels more in tune with the characters. We need Superhero games, but we need GOOD superhero games even more. While there is a lot of crap, it's awesome to find the gems!!

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