Monday, October 8, 2012

The Future of Superhero Gaming

       From the Spiderman Atari 2600 videogame released in 1982 all the way to Batman: Arkham City and beyond. Superhero games have been around almost as long as Pong itself, evolving into what is an entertainment phenomenon today. Hundreds of millions of people, of all ages, play superhero videogames everyday and the total number will only increase as these games become more dominant and engaging and more reflective of their comic book counterparts. There have been a few misfires in recent years including: Green Lantern Rise of the Manhunters, Captain America, and Thor God of Thunder. Fortunately for hardcore fans, there have been even more games that have truly captured the essence of the characters its representing, making us forget all about those bad ones.
Within the last year we’ve seen the release of Lego Batman 2, a fun, comedic take on classic heroes and villains playable and enjoyable for children and adults. The Amazing Spiderman, a nicely developed “sequel” to the film truly capturing what it means to “do whatever a spider can.” And of course, Batman Arkham City, my personal favorite and the most realistic representation of the caped crusader ever. Never before have you been able to feel this much like the real vigilante. The key to a good superhero game involves staying true to the characters and doing what works. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When the design and gameplay of a game works and sells, don’t alter it for the sake of altering it. We enjoyed it before and we’ll enjoy it again. Having said that, the right change in this business comes around quite rarely. The near future of superhero videogames depends on:

The Avengers: Battle For Earth (October 30th, 2012)
       Being released for the Wii and Xbox 360, Battle For Earth will mark the first anticipated superhero game for the Kinect. I’m not too sure how this game will do in the reviews or whether it will be fun, but I do know that even acting out the powers of superheroes and having them appear on the screen in front of you could be kind of cool. The game does allow you to play as heroes and villains, not just from the Avengers’ universe, but also from the entire Marvel universe.
What to do: If you liked the Avengers and are a fan of fighting games and are interested in how they will apply the powers of the characters, then you should get this game.

Young Justice: Legacy (2013)
       Yes, the game is based on the television series, but takes place between seasons 1 and 2. If you follow the show you’d know that the second season takes place approximately five years after the first. This game will dwell on the events that transpired over those “lost” years. If you like the style and stories of the TV series, you’ll be glad to know that the show’s writers, Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, are writing the script for the game. Not much is revealed about the game yet; whether it will be aimed for teens and up or for young ages is still to be determined, but if about Young Justice, I know it will be good.
What to do: If you’re a fan of the series, this may be the game for you. Stay up to date with the game to find out more about it, as will I.

Injustice: Gods Among Us (April 2013)
       Liked Mortal Combat Vs. DC Universe? No? Well then you may not like this one either. Injustice feels much like MC Vs. DC, but features only heroes and villains from the DC Universe. While the game’s graphics look promising and storyline darker and edgier then most, the gameplay resembles that of the classic Street Fighter and Dragonball Z games, meaning it can get repetitive real fast. I’m interested to see more about it once more information is released, but as of now, I’m not overly impressed.
What to do: If you like those combo button mashing games then you will most likely enjoy Injustice. If you’re turned off by this concept then wait for more released information, but this may not end up being the game for you.

Batman Arkham Asylum/City Prequel!!! (2014)
       Not much is known about the game yet, but from what I’ve heard, the concept sure seems interesting. Apparently set in the Silver Age of the DC Universe, the game will follow Batman’s early years in Gotham City, including his first encounter with the Joker. I’m anxious at the idea of possibly having all of Gotham to operate in, which could allow us access to the Batmobile and Batwing and there have even been talks of guest appearances made by members of the Justice League, seeing as the Silver Age is when the team was first formed. Playable Justice League heroes would make for some great downloadable content in my opinion. Paul Dini, writer of Batman The Animated Series and the first two Arkham games, will sadly not be returning to write the prequel. The good news is that Dini is not the only great writer in the comics industry and I’m sure the creators at Rocksteady will get someone good.
What to do: I trust the creators of the first two Arkham games and my trust will not waver with this one. If you enjoyed the first two games as much as I did, you will get this game. If you think Rocksteady’s given us everything, they haven’t, not everything, not yet.

Thanks for reading.

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