Top 20 Best Superhero Video Games



Top 20 Best Superhero Video Games

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
These are the superhero video games you need to play. For this list, we'll be looking at the best games that make us feel super, whether they're based on existing IPs or not. Our countdown includes “X-Men: Origins: Wolverine”, "Deadpool", “inFamous 2”, “Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes”, “Batman: Arkham City”, and more!

Top 20 Best Superhero Video Games

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Best Superhero Video Games.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best games that make us feel super, whether they’re based on existing IPs or not.

What’s your favorite superhero game? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” (2010)

We’re currently in the middle of Spider-Man’s peak in video games thanks to Insomniac. But the wall crawler has still had some stellar games along the way, such as the Venom-heavy “Web of Shadows”. “Shattered Dimensions” gave us a Spidey game with a new twist, though. It brought together four different versions of the hero, each with their own unique mechanics, like Spider-Man Noir’s stealth-heavy takedowns. It was awesome seeing these versions collide, especially considering how the comics and movies went on to replicate it thanks to writer Dan Slott. Although, fun combat and voicework from the likes of Neil Patrick Harris and Spider-Man mainstay Josh Keaton also helped.

#19: “Prototype” (2009)

It seems every year brings us an open-world superhero game. But for the time it was released, “Prototype” was pretty unique. Players control the amnesiac Alex Mercer who discovers he has incredible shapeshifting abilities and the power to consume others, gaining their memories in the process. Turning into your foes to infiltrate their forces was a neat way to uncover the mystery. But the shapeshifting mechanic could turn Alex’s limbs into a variety of weapons, making it incredibly fun to rampage through Manhattan. Its sequel disappointed and the series fizzled out, but the original is still more than worth checking out.

#18: “X-Men: Origins: Wolverine” (2009)

Few games have taken the genre “hack and slash” so literally. While the movie is a notable low point in the “X-Men” film franchise, its video game adaptation let Logan tear through enemies with all the violence fans wanted. Sure, many games had included Wolverine as a playable character before. But they all felt a bit too family friendly considering Wolverine’s brutal nature. It naturally followed a similar plot to the movie, though setting us loose against unfortunate enemies made it not matter as much. The short campaign and lack of replayability made for a brief experience. But there’s no denying how fun that experience was.

#17: “The Wonderful 101” (2013)

Why have one superhero power set when you can have many? That’s the question this PlatinumGames action game asked and answered with delightful results. Players control an ever-growing group of superheroes during an alien invasion, morphing their bodies into various weapons. While not every member of the group gets their own power (that would be a nightmare to develop), each addition makes the ones you can use that much stronger. Morphing into a giant fist, hammer, bomb, whip, and several others made it a joy to smash enemies and environments alike. The over-the-top abilities paired wonderfully with its zany characters and bonkers story.

#16: “Lego DC Super-Villains” (2018)

There are plenty of Lego games that celebrate their respective brands, such as “Lego Marvel Super Heroes”. But what sets “Lego DC Super-Villains” apart is the ability to create your own character and bring them into the story. Known as The Rookie, the player joins a team of villains to stop an invading force that has made the Justice League disappear and are masquerading as their replacements. The Rookie can obtain new powers throughout the story, giving the game an overall more personal touch through customization. Of course, you’ll still gain access to a packed roster of beloved characters should you want to switch things up.

#15: “Deadpool” (2013)

As is befitting of the character, “Deadpool” begins with a meta reference to the antihero starring in his own game and only gets more insane. The developers at High Moon Studios nailed the characterization, proving him as a viable star long before Ryan Reynolds brought him to the mainstream. Combat consisted of standard hack and slash, shoot ‘em up gameplay. But what really makes it worth picking up is the great writing, buckets of blood, and Nolan North’s work as the merc with a mouth. Just like how Ryan Reynolds is the definitive on-screen version, North flawlessly captures him in-game, which is why he’s played across multiple releases.

#14: “Saints Row IV” (2013)

As a franchise that started out bombastic, one might have expected “Saints Row” to run out of steam by the fourth entry. But that’s far from the case. After an alien invasion, the player-created president finds himself trapped in a simulation. But once your allies hack it, you gain some pretty awesome super powers. High durability and speed means you can destructively dash through any obstacle and energy blasts from your hands makes it so you can take on any foe. But you’ve still got the ludicrous weapons the franchise is known for. It’s absolutely insane, and for this franchise, that’s the highest compliment we can pay it.

#13: “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2” (2009)

The “Civil War” storyline is one of Marvel’s best in recent memory on the page and on-screen. This 2009 action title let us play through it with some fantastic characters and mechanics. Gameplay blended the beat ‘em up genre with dungeon crawling, as well as some light RPG elements. With a team of four, it offered a great co-op experience and variety in how you wanted to vanquish foes. Not only did each hero and villain play relatively differently, but the sequel also brought special fusion attacks that were different depending on which two heroes pulled them off. The Human Torch could set fire to a massive boulder thrown by the Hulk while Iron Man and Deadpool could unleash a bombardment of grenades and lasers.

#12: “South Park: The Fractured but Whole” (2017)

Who knew that a “South Park” game could be so superpowered? “The Fractured but Whole” has players control the New Kid as he’s caught between two groups of children, competing as superhero roleplayers. However, their shenanigans uncover a dark criminal conspiracy in their town, which includes monsters and crime families. As you progress through the RPG, you gain access to a variety of abilities across 10 classes of which you can mix and match. The customization is definitely appreciated, and so too is how well the game adapts the show. Thanks to “South Park’s” minimalist animation, it legitimately looks like you’re playing through an episode, with all the risque humor intact.

#11: “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction” (2005)

Any game that has you play as The Hulk is basically required to let you smash as much as you want. Thankfully, Radical Entertainment nailed it. “Ultimate Destruction” follows Bruce Banner as he attempts to build a device that will cure him of his transformation. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the plot, which also pits Hulk against the newly created Abomination, that’s not what the game is remembered for. Destructible environments, using items like lampposts and cars as weapons, a variety of unlockable attacks, and a free-roaming open world make it the best solo game the Hulk has ever appeared in. It’s one big awesome playground for you to rage in.

#10: “X-Men” (1992)

There are few arcade beat ‘em ups that can stand alongside Konami’s “X-Men” as bonafide classics. The plot, like many others in the genre, is simple: Magneto is warring against humanity and the mutant team must stop him. Players could choose between six team members: Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Dazzler. Going up against hordes of minions or conquering a tough boss with your friends was tons of fun. And it definitely kept players popping in quarters. Some versions actually allowed for up to six players, an impressive feat in arcade cabinets. Its art style is also fantastic, whether you played it back in the day or the HD console remake in 2010.

#9: “Viewtiful Joe” (2003)

Capcom has released some wonderfully weird games over the years and one of its strangest is “Viewtiful Joe.” It begins with the unexpected hero’s girlfriend being kidnapped into a movie world, where he follows to be transformed into the titular alter ego. Joe gains a handful of powers that play into its film setting, such as slow-mo, which makes dodging easier and increases his attack power, and a close up that gives him new attacks. It’s exceptionally fun using these to pummel rooms of enemies. Additionally, its cel shaded art style gives it a gorgeous, distinctly comic book look. It’s just a shame this franchise didn’t take off like others.

#8: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time” (1991)

As you can see, Konami was once the uncontested king of arcade beat ‘em ups. One of its best, and our pick for the best featuring superheroes, is “Turtles in Time.” After the opening level in New York, the Turtles’ archenemy Shredder sends them through several points across time, including the Stone Age and the Wild West. It’s a great way to include more varied level design outside of the streets of NYC. Each Turtle has slightly different stats: Donatello’s weapon gives him the greatest range while Raphael has the highest speed. It also has an incredible art style and music that pays homage to the animated series. And the SNES version was pretty great as well.

#7: “Spider-Man 2” (2004)

Before Insomniac came along, the “Spider-Man 2” tie-in game was usually decreed as the hero’s best game. And it’s easy to see why. No game before it had truly given us the freedom of Spidey’s traversal the way it was explored here. It helped pioneer the open-world action-adventure genre, paving the way for future games on this list. It distracted us from the main story, which we already knew was great in the movie, through fun side quests and Spider-Man’s tremendous web-swinging mechanics. Never before had a superhero game made us care about rescuing a city in need. Also, it came with some great boss fights not seen in the movie, such as Rhino and Mysterio.

#6: “inFamous 2” (2011)

Technically, you can play the hero or the villain thanks to this game’s morality system. But that’s only part of why it’s so well-liked. Another big part is letting us loose in an open-world with electric powers that can both decimate enemies as well as make us float and grind across cables and train rails. Like “Spider-Man 2,” Cole’s traversal made adventuring through New Marais a joy. But Sucker Punch also improved on every other element in the first game, from its more lived-in setting to better visuals to Cole’s new abilities. Your choices not only affect the story’s outcome, but also what new passive and active abilities you can unlock, warranting a second playthrough.

#5: “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” (2021)

Once we got over the fact that we could only play as Star-Lord, we experienced one of the best narratives in any superhero game. We weren’t the only ones impressed; it’s earned a handful of story-based award nominations. And only playing as the team’s leader actually makes sense. During combat, players can command each member, all of whom have a variety of attacks that can be unlocked. But this plays into the story as well, since Peter must learn responsibility on a number of levels. The writing team completely captured the characterization of each teammate, matching and at some points even surpassing James Gunn’s work within the MCU.

#4: “Injustice 2” (2017)

NetherRealm has proven itself a talented development studio when it comes to blending incredible fighting mechanics with a strong narrative. Building off the impressive foundation of the first “Injustice,” the sequel follows Batman and his team battling a villainous group led by Gorilla Grodd and Brainiac. As gameplay was already pretty fantastic, “Injustice 2” makes subtle changes to returning characters. However, there are a ton of new and welcome inclusions. Beloved DC heroes and villains like Black Canary, Supergirl, and Poison Ivy helped round out DC’s roster. But there were also awesome guest fighters like Hellboy and the Ninja Turtles, making it a stellar fighter with tons of fan service.

#3: “Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes” (2000)

“Marvel vs. Capcom 2” is on a level that most fighting games simply can’t touch. With a baffling 56 playabale fighters, it more than tripled the roster of its predecessor. Fighters range from the endlessly beloved, like Wolverine and Mega Man, to the obscure, like Shuma-Gorath and Captain Commando. But this isn’t a case of quantity over quality. With a couple of exceptions, most fighters control entirely differently. And since each player gets a team of three, there’s no telling how each match will play out. Gameplay is incredibly quick-paced and, as basically any input results in a superpowered attack, is easy to pick up but hard to master.

#2: “Marvel’s Spider-Man” (2018)

Insomniac seemingly saw how well traversal worked in “Spider-Man 2” and decided to transfer it to the modern era. And it did so tremendously. Web-swinging around NYC made for one of the most joyous ways to navigate an open-world. Focusing on a lesser known villain like Mister Negative may have been a gamble, but it allowed the team to tell their own story. Plus, Spidey’s rogues gallery still showed up to provide awesome boss fights that heightened the game’s incredible combat. Nifty gadgets made tackling groups of goons immense fun and the various unlockable suits each came with their own perks. It’s one of Insomniac’s crowning achievements, as was the expansion of its gaming universe with the Miles-centric follow-up.

#1: “Batman: Arkham City” (2011)

Rocksteady hit the ground running with “Arkham Asylum”, but what came next was unlike any other superhero game. By transitioning to an open-world, the team allowed us to truly become Batman through extremely satisfying navigation and traversal. Launching from a roof via the grapple gun to glide gracefully forward is never not fun. Not only that, but we had a variety of moves and gadgets to utilize when pummeling goons and supervillains with extreme prejudice. Batman’s famous villains, from Joker to Mr. Freeze, were in full force and all supremely voice acted. It was the next step in the evolution of the superhero game and one that, in our opinion, has yet to be topped.