Be the Batman. Be Greater.
These are the taglines of the Batman Arkham games and the new Spiderman game respectively. While the ladder is more of a stretch, the first one makes the point of the game very clear. And that point is the same for both games.
To make you feel like the superhero starring in the game.
The point of the the Batman Arkham games is to make you feel like an unstoppable bad ass. Whether it be in combat, solving puzzles, or sneaking around and scaring the hell out of the bad guys, everything in the game is built from the ground up to make you feel like the Batman. And each game pulls this off flawlessly.
Except for Arkham Knight. But that’s for another day.
Spiderman also does this really well. From Yuri Lowenthall’s (I really hope I spelled that right) incredible performance as Spidey himself to the excellent web slinging and combat, no other game has made you feel as much like him than this one. Sure, the combat is mostly a clone of Batman with a few small but fun changes, but the effect is the same.
Here’s my question: how come it took game developers so long to figure this out?
Technological limits aside, it took forever for us to get a truly good Batman or Spiderman game. Sure, we had plenty of beat ’em ups starring both characters, but neither really made you feel like the characters.
They were also really bad. Just saying.
If anything, they reduced from that feeling. Part of why Batman and Spiderman are so cool is that they seem unstoppable. Basic goons without special tech or superpowers are no match against them. Watching Batman clear away armed thugs with nothing but a grappling hook, some Batarangs and his bare hands is thrilling.
But these older games don’t do that. In fact, they do the opposite. The sheer number of goons feels overwhelming, and they quickly chip away at your health. You don’t feel like a bad ass; you feel like the opposite.
Especially so in Spiderman: Maximum Carnage. That game does not hold up.
Still, the past is gone. The old days of comic book games are over, and now we’re living in a far better age. Batman may be gone, but Spiderman has risen to fill the void he left in our hearts. Both games are great, and they capture the spirit of their heroes with flying colors.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play Spiderman for another fifty hours…