The Heroes We Need

Superhero games have always been around. Who doesn’t want to play as their favorite comic hero/heroin, brawling with their enemies and saving the world? But like any other game genre, the hero saga has had its ups and downs. Superman 64 was terrible, plain and simple, and if you think otherwise you may want to reevaluate your life (seriously, I’m not kidding). PlayStation’s Spider-man games, on the other hand, have been fairly good. So greatness is possible. It has just been at the tips of our fingers for the past decade.

In 2009, just a short three years ago, Rocksteady released Batman: Arkham Asylum and from that day, the superhero genre has never been the same. Arkham Asylum revived the open-world style for hero games. Allowing players to traverse Arkham Island freely, all while pursuing the ever illusive Joker, Asylum was a huge triumph. It only made sense then, that two years later we would see a sequel to Asylum. Enter Arkham City. City did everything that its predecessor did, times two, this time giving players an even larger playground and dozens of genuinely entertaining side quests.

The Arkham series showed developers how to make hero titles and it all came down to two words: open-world. Beenox’s Amazing Spider-Man followed their example and was a great game. I want to see more games do this same thing. Superman needs a reboot (a good one) that gives players the freedom to fly around Metropolis. Fantastic 4, Iron Man, Captain America, Aquaman, Ghost Rider, Spawn, the Punisher; the possibilities are endless.

Then there’s the Co-op argument (of course). The only thing that could possibly make these games better would be the ability to play them with friends, and most, if not all, of these games could support multiplayer campaigns. Batman has Robin and Nightwing, Iron Man and Captain American have the Avengers, Ghost Rider has worked with several heroes, and the Fantastic 4…I’m not going to explain that.

Open-world is the way to go for our heroes. Linear games are great, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to our costumed favorites I truly believe there is no other way. I can’t remember the last time I played a hero game, that wasn’t free roam, and really couldn’t get enough of it. Heroes, at their foundation, are meant to rid their city of evil. Why doesn’t every single title let us do that?

What do you think? Should all hero games be open-world or do you think that another genre is possible? How necessary is co-op to you? You know my opinion on both of these now. Let me hear yours!