Friday, 18 May 2012

Super Hero Games

I sat today reading the rather fantastic 'Earth 2, Issue 1' its a new run from DC set in an alternate universe where things have turned out a little differently. Alternate universes and indeed alternate earths are a well excepted part of the DC cannon. This is the premise of the DC Universe online game. I have played a little of this game on the PS3 but today for the first time experienced it on on my PC.

I love the DC universe, all the characters, the setting and the over the top black and while morality. You could say that I'm a dedicated fan-boy (I buy comics every week, yes, every week) but DCUO disappointed me. It started bad and went down hill fast. Sure, I love the setting and the premise of the game but the actual game play mechanics are flawed and difficult. 

Champions Online however has a comparatively poor setting but a slightly less 'dodgy' control system. the end result is still a game that I just can't take to for any length of time. 

City of Heroes did succeed in grabbing my attention a few years ago, briefly. In the end the total lack of any real community in Europe made me move on. So, MMO's are out. what about single player super hero games? - let me list the good ones....


Okay, that's unfair. For reasons I just can't fathom there have been some great Spider Man games over the years (the Dreamcast had a great one) and the old strategy game Freedom force was awesome. The more recent Batman games have also rocked my world but as much as I hate to admit it a Batman game is not what I'm looking for in my Super Hero entertainment, sure I like him but from a game play point of view he is  interchangeable with Sam Fisher. A Batman game just a Splinter cell game with more capes and better dialogue. 

Batman stories are psychological detective masterworks with some kick ass fight scenes. The games are great but they are missing everything except the ass kicking 

I want to play a super hero RPG and I want it to be good. 

Why hasn't there been any good super hero based games? I think its a combination of problems firstly if your making a general interest super hero game where players can build a character from the ground up you have to incorporate a great many powers and abilities meaning few get the polish they require. 

With all these powers its hard to find a control system that will let you use all of them effectively. Then there's the issue of movement abilities, super speed always feels slow, flying always feels like a cheat code and super jumping, well its all great until the landing. 

Another problem developers face is making your character feel powerful but not overpowered. If your playing a 'Hulk' for instance then literally none of the 'trash mobs' would pose a threat but that would be a boring play through, but if they challenge you in any way then your 'Hulk' is under powered.  
I hope with the interest generated by the Avengers movie we may see some quality Super Hero games in the near future but its far more likely that we will get a shite movie tie-in title. 

Well I suppose I'll always have Freedom Force.

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