If you really want to, you can now watch the teaser trailer for the upcoming grimdark snoozefest, Batman v Superman. Watching it made me weep for humanity, so I wouldn’t recommend subjecting yourself to it. But you might be easier to please than I am. Who knows. I stopped caring halfway through this paragraph.
I sure don’t like Zack Snyder movies, especially when he’s butchering cool comic book characters, but I do like comics. I also like video games based on these characters. Well, the good ones. Luckily, there’s a bunch of good superhero and comics games. You should totally play them instead of wasting your time on bad movies. Here are a few suggestions!
Batman: Arkham Origins
Fans of Batman who don’t read comics might not be familiar with good, or halfway-decent, or even passably mediocre writing featuring the character, but that’s why I’m here. For some reason, a lot of people were down on this game. And, I get it. It had glitches and stuff. But those aren’t an issue anymore; get this sucker on Steam during a sale for like 7 bucks and play it. It’s a tuned-up version of Arkham City, but it’s snowing! It also doesn’t have an ugly style, banal sexism and tryhard ultraviolence, ham-fisted writing or the worst version of Robin ever! But seriously, Origins is a very well-told tale for a superhero video game, featuring one of the most nuanced Joker stories in a long time. Also, the voice-acting is actually good.
The Death and Return of Superman
You’d think more of the superhero beat-‘em-ups would have gone down in history alongside classics such as Turtles in Time and Alien vs. Predator, but that didn’t happen so often. But, a few cape brawlers that went unnoticed by history were actually pretty solid. Enter this bad boy on the SNES. It kinda stumbled through the Death of Superman storyline from the 90’s (to be fair, the storyline itself stumbled a lot), but it was full of cool, arcade-style-Superman-punching-fools action. A decent Superman game hasn’t been made since, sadly, but pop Death and Return in your Retron 5 and you’ll have a good time.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Just because I’m using Batman v Superman as a jumping-off point doesn’t mean we can’t talk about some Marvel, yo. This game rules. When given the right resources, and it seems to have only happened once so far, Beenox can show it gets Spider-Man. Not just Spider-Man, but multiple versions of the character. These dudes were educated. Beenox handled the source material with respect and enthusiasm, and not just in the writing and visual styles. It was also a blast to play, which was arguably not the case for most Spider-Man games in that era (and afterward).
The Wolf Among Us
Gotta give a nod to Telltale in here somewhere. The Wolf Among Us is based on Fables from Vertigo, but it doesn’t require any knowledge or continuity. It’s a cool murder mystery and candy-colored pulpfest that uses goofy, dark versions of classic fairy tale characters. It’s a bit over the top at times, but the writers do a good job making their characters feel believable and intricate. It also marks the start of Telltale exploring new ground and trying to make more exciting action scenes. They generally work, even.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
I’m more or less over Scott Pilgrim at this point in my life, but this game still holds up. It looks great, plays great, sounds amazing. Anamanaguchi nails the soundtrack. I saw the band play Another Winter live not long after the game came out, and it was an experience I won’t soon forget. I might be a nerd. Like Castle Crashers being a sort of modern Golden Axe, Scott Pilgrim is very much a modern River City Ransom. Grinding stats may not be the ideal way to spend time in a brawler for some, but that old school memory-jiggering makes me smile sometimes. This is one of those times.