The Marvel franchise has swelled in popularity over the past decade or so, leading to a slew of films, TV shows, comics, and video games. Though, even before the MCU took the film industry by storm, Marvel games were popular — dating back to the PlayStation 2 days in the early- to mid-2000s and also even earlier. Here are the 7 Best Marvel Games.
Today there’s even a Marvel pinball series out there!
Due to its accessibility, it’s easy to jump in, swing around, do a few missions, and hop out — without ever feeling like it’s too much to manage. Many open-world games struggle in this regard, but not Marvel’s Spider-Man. After all, this game is full of heart and will be remembered for years to come.
7 Best Marvel Games
1. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: A New Age of Heroes
This game does require much more skill — Marvel vs. Capcom 2: A New Age of Heroes. It’s not the newest one, but it’s certainly one of the most beloved. Even though it’s over 20 years old at this point, it still has a timeless art style and some of the best gameplay out there of a crossover fighting game to date. In this team fighting game, players collect a team of three characters across the Marvel and Capcom universes with the goal of being the last squad standing. There’s a reason Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is regarded as one of the best 2D fighting games of all time. Unfortunately, finding a physical copy has become increasingly more difficult, and it’s not available on digital storefronts anymore, making this one hard to track down.
2. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
On the other side, Marvel games are also known for helping you to play with others. And that’s exactly what you can do in Lego Marvel Super Heroes. It is a game having 180 heroes from the beloved comic book universe. The most compelling thing about this game is that it’s easy to drop in and play with friends and family, regardless of skill level. With so many characters to select from, it’s easy to spend lots of time trying out everyone’s move set and abilities. Although video games are sometimes very skill-dependent, the barrier to entry with Lego Marvel Superheroes is quite low. This means even inexperienced gamers can find enjoyment in this one.
3. The Punisher (PS2, Xbox, PC)
While several Marvel games are popular for being family-friendly, some — like 2004’s The Punisher — are not for children. Even if you are an adult, you’ll probably find a lot to love with this game. Before Volition became popular for the Saints Row series, it made a name for itself with The Punisher, a game loosely based on the 2004 Thomas Jane film of the same name, and also with elements from the comics and original ideas.
It’s a hilariously violent third-person shooter, with all types of weapons to choose from, along with various open levels to find. One of its most noticeable mechanics is that it gives you the ability to investigate your enemies with your surroundings. It’s not one of Marvel’s most popular games, but it is a hidden gem that shooter fans should check out.
4. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
The next year after we got Spider-Man 2, Radical Entertainment and Vivendi Universal Games released The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. In several ways, Spider-Man 2 laid down the framework for what would become Ultimate Destruction, giving us an open-world Hulk game with fully destructible buildings and atmosphere.
It’s quite amazing what this game was able to accomplish on the PS2 and Xbox, offering a compelling story with voice acting and some of the best level traversal we’ve seen from a superhero game. Ultimate Destruction is a game that did Hulk justice, and since then we haven’t gotten another game of equal quality since then.
5. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Nintendo Switch)
While the Lego Marvel games are built more for a casual market, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise offers a bit more depth. Specifically, the third instalment, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, is the best of the pack — combining and refining all the mechanics and features from the earlier ones. You can gather a team of heroes (or villains) to explore levels, gather experience to level up characters, and unlock a slew of new moves and abilities.
While it’s playable solo, it’s much more fun with friends, and since there is no shortage of characters to choose from, there are several variations when playing alone or with a group. The wild thing is that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 is a Nintendo Switch and is created by Team Ninja, the studio behind the Ninja Gaiden and Nioh series. Because of this, it never reached the wider audience of the first two games, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
6. Marvel’s Iron Man VR (PS4)
This game offers one of the most unique experiences on this list. It is a game built specifically for virtual reality (VR). In it, you play Tony Stark from a first-person perspective, with stages that send you soaring through the sky to take out enemies and reach your objectives. Aside from the immersive action, there’s also an intriguing story to enjoy, with well-acted characters and engaging writing.
Of course, the main star of the show is the gameplay. With shooter elements as well as a satisfying upgrade system, the VR is still in its infancy, so it’s not perfect, but Iron Man VR definitely accomplishes its objectives of making you feel like you’re a superhero. Since you can’t go out and fly around in an Iron Man suit in real life (yet), this is the next best thing, and it works surprisingly well.
7. Spider-Man 2
Before we had Marvel’s Spider-Man, there was the movie tie-in series known simply as Spider-Man (and its sequels). Spider-Man 2 is based on the 2004 film of the same name and sends players to an open-world version of New York with tons to do. Nowadays, open worlds are abundant, but in 2004, being able to explore such a large city as Spider-Man’s was a dream come true. In it, you got to take on missions inspired by the film, along with new scenarios explicitly designed for this game.
Typically, movie tie-ins are tolerable at best, but in this case, developer Treyarch made a huge effort to develop one of the best superhero games of its time. It might not hold up as well in 2021, but if not for this game, we wouldn’t have some of the great open-world superhero games of today.