With Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 set to launch tomorrow, and glowing review rolling in for Insomniac Games’ anticipated superhero sequel, the gaming world has received yet another outstanding comic book video game to look forward to. However, superhero games have been making big leaps in the gaming industry for the good part of two decades now, with the Batman: Arkham trilogy also paving the way. In anticipation of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2‘s release, we’re taking a look at the best superhero video games of all time.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that this list is entirely subjective and our personal opinions. The list is also arranged in ranking order, starting from 10 to 1. There are several superhero games that we might’ve missed or couldn’t be included below, so some honourable mentions include The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Spider-Man 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Infamous: Second Son and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
The Best Superhero Video Games of All Time
10. The Punisher
Developed by Volition and published by THQ, The Punisher game from 2005 is a slightly controversial pick to kick things off. Known for its unflinching levels of violence that got it heavily censored or banned in some countries, The Punisher gave players several creative ways to dismember and kill foes – often in grizzly fashion. While critics weren’t too kind to the game at launch, it’s regarded as a cult classic in the gaming community today and a prime example of a solid comic book game that was ahead of its time.
9. Infamous 2
Sucker Punch’s Infamous series may have been left behind but it hasn’t been forgotten. The second title, Infamous 2, ramps up everything great about its predecessor and delivers a fantastic sequel as all sequels should be: ambitious, bigger and better in every way. With an assortment of new powers and a large sandbox to mess around in, Infamous 2 gave players unparalleled freedom at the time when superhero games were still trying to nail down the formula.
8. Injustice 2
There are a number of great superhero fighting games on the market and one could argue that Injustice 2 doesn’t nearly deserve as much recognition as something like Marvel vs. Capcom 2, but NetherRealm’s DC fighter experiments with just enough great features to give it an advantage. The story is arguably its strongest quality but Injustice 2 also boasts some incredibly stylish, easy to learn but hard to master combat that keeps you coming back for more. Add the best gear system we’ve ever seen in a superhero game and you’ve got a winning recipe.
7. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Nobody expected Eidos Montreal to come out swinging with 2021’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy but the Deus Ex developers made a great impression. This highly entertaining, narrative-driven adventure explored the Guardians on personal levels not even seen in the popular MCU movies, giving fans a closer look at the core team while also greatly expanding and fleshing out its universe. Not every action game needs to be an open world extravaganza; all you need is a little bit of imagination and a lot of heart to make a superhero game work this well.
6. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
The half-sequel to 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac developed Miles Morales as a standalone chapter in its ongoing superhero saga that placed all the attention on the young and rusty Miles, who has to fend for himself against new threats without Peter Parker’s guidance. It’s much shorter in length than the first game but it doesn’t short-change players on the amount of content and fun on display. Miles Morales is a wonderful detour that hits those big emotional beats just as effectively as its mainline counterparts.
5. Marvel’s Spider-Man
After a string of middling Spider-Man games from the PS2 and PS3 era, Ratchet & Clank studio Insomniac decided to take a crack at the web-slinger in a game. Saying the results were amazing is putting it lightly. Marvel’s Spider-Man is everything comic book fans hoped for and much more. Fluid, addictive web-swinging, a terrific combat system and a surprisingly detailed recreation of Manhattan gave it an edge above the competition at the time and set its own trends in the process.
4. Batman: Arkham City
It’s hard not to talk about great superhero games without bringing up Rocksteady’s groundbreaking Batman: Arkham saga. For many, Arkham City was the entry that hit that sweet spot, giving a players a massive Gotham playground to explore, fight crime and unravel a gripping mystery in its core story. For us, Arkham City is undeniably a classic in the superhero gaming landscape but it was another stepping stone for Rocksteady to really sharpen its talent in the next game (which we’ll soon discuss).
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
The newest entry on this list, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is not only Insomniac’s best game yet but a sequel that evolves everything great about the first game (or games) into something greater. The open world is bigger, the villains are more intimidating, the personal stories and conflicts have higher stakes and the set pieces are blockbuster-worthy. PlayStation continues its reign of delivering strong single-player games and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is another firm reminder that Sony’s platform is home to some of the best exclusives in the industry.
Read our full review for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 right here.
2. Batman: Arkham Asylum
You can’t describe Batman: Arkham Asylum without throwing “groundbreaking” into the mix. Rocksteady’s take on DC’s dark detective was a revelation when it launched back in 2009. Mature, visually stunning and often as disturbingly grim as its source material, Arkham Asylum changed the landscape of superhero games forever and the industry finally took comic book games a bit more seriously; instead of being mere cash-cows for movie tie-ins, they had a lot of potential and we owe it to this first Arkham adventure.
1. Batman: Arkham Knight
Yes, you read that right. Let us explain… Batman: Arkham Knight may have a predictable story and a few frustrating tank sections but when taken as a package, it simply does everything else leagues better than any other superhero game we’ve played to date. Rocksteady’s signature combat system is refined here to perfection, Gotham is staggeringly dense and magnificent, Batman’s extensive rogues gallery is given its proper dues, and the graphics are unreal for what was possible on PS4/Xbox One back in 2015 – it still holds up to this day.
Love it or hate it, Arkham Knight was a shining spectacle of a video game that pushed the boundaries and gave us not only the best Batman game, but the best superhero game of all time.