Marvel Will Always Be Better Than DC In One Area: Video Games
Marvel's video games, from X-Men the Arcade Game to Spider-Man 2, are better than DC's versions that, with one exception, fail to capture the characters properly.
Marvel and DC have been opposing forces in comics for over 50 years; the debate over which one is better can never be definitively settled, except for the largest part of popular culture, bigger even than movies: video games. Over and over again, games based on Marvel characters are better in every aspect and across multiple genres, from Sony’s Spider-Man to X-Men Legends, compared to their disappointing and lackluster DC counterparts. When it comes to video games, Marvel will always be superior.
If you’re a DC fan, then right now, the names Arkham Asylum (Metacritic score of 91)and Injustice (Metacritic score of 88) are about to leave your lips, and while those are amazing games that helped redefine their genres, that’s only four games in total. The Rocksteady Arkham series redefined character action games with the revolutionary combat system that, yes, was blatantly ripped off to make Insomniac’s Spider-Man, but two good games (Origins and Arkham Knight are not good games) do not outweigh a legacy of success that includes Spider-Man 2, Marvel vs. Capcom, X-Men: The Arcade Game, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is much better than the tie-in movie.
That’s not to say Marvel hasn’t had some duds; for example, the infamous LJN X-Men game for the NES ruined many kids’ Christmases, and the 16-bit era Spider-Man/X-Men games actively put players in unfair situations. Even today, Midnight Suns collapsed under the weight of its ambitions, but that’s preferable to Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League being representative of the worst parts of modern gaming. It’s a verifiable fact that Marvel’s character designs lend themselves to video games more than DC does, whether it’s a mobile card game, a fighting game, or a third-person open-world game (even The Hulk has a good one).
X-Men: The Arcade Game was a success because of the unique cabinet structure letting six people play at once, but also because each character looked, felt, and sounded different. The X-Men were always designed as an ensemble, whereas DC’s top teams were individuals coming together. Creating a cohesive co-op experience around Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman at the same time has proven to be impossible.
Part of that is because of the powers, thanks to the age-old question, “How do you put Superman in danger?” It’s easier to structure a game around Marvel’s less-than-invulnerable characters with more clearly defined powers. Imagine how Captain America or Nightcrawler would function in a game, then try and picture capturing Green Lantern and how it is much more difficult to work around the ability to make solid constructs based on emotion.
Even the Batfamily, who have no powers and are ideal video game protagonists, suffered in Gotham Knights, which took the failed design from SqaureEnix’s Marvel’s Avengers and tried to copy it. It’s bad enough that Marvel’s MCU is currently being copied by DC like a freshman that didn’t study for the exam, but to even take a disappointment like The Avengers and come out with their own co-op live-service game, is doing an extreme disservice to the amazing characters DC has access to.
It’s bad enough that DC is doing it again with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, proving that the only way to put Superman in a video game is to make him evil when instead, there’s potential for an open-world Aquaman game or a turn-based strategy game based on Dark Knights: Metal. DC is constantly playing catch-up to Marvel, from video games to movies, and while, thanks to James Gunn, there’s hope for the feature films to improve, gaming is a lost cause.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have a great game, and Marvel Snap is the most addictive mobile game in years; even Marvel Puzzle Quest is so good that it gave the world Captain Carter. At least one of DC’s forays into gaming will always be remembered, and that’s Superman 64, the worst video game ever made. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari has more redeeming features than the last time DC’s second-most popular character starred in a solo game.
When Spider-Man 2 is about to be released in a few months, Marvel fans must understand that their DC-supporting counterparts will never have it that good.