Games Inbox: What is the best superhero video game?

The Friday Inbox thinks the Xbox Series X should have motion controls, as one reader ranks the Soulsborne games and their clones.

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Limited field
So, with at least two DC games due to be announced at the weekend, and Sony about to hype Spider-Man: Miles Morales to the rafters, I ask the obvious question: what is the best superhero game?

It’s amazing to me that the only two single character games that are even worth talking about are Batman and Spider-Man, and one is basically a clone of the other, just with web-swinging instead of grappling.

Beyond that it’s just team-up stuff like the Lego games, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel Vs. Capcom, which while often good never have much story or characterisation. Or, if you’re Injustice, characterisation that’s completely unidentifiable from how they usually are.

The only other games I can even think to add to the conversation are Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, X-Men Oirgins: Wolverine, and The Punisher on PlayStation 2. But they’re all old as dirt and I imagine don’t hold up now, as they weren’t even classics at the time.

I don’t have much confidence that Marvel’s Avengers will be anything other than a shallow cash-in so I really hope that the DC games are good and that Marvel has the nerve to commission another standalone hero game. Doctor Strange or Ant-Man would be amazing if done well.
PS: For me the current answer is still Batman: Arkham City.

Gyro sense
Assuming that Sony will have bumped up its backwards compatibility plans because Microsoft has made it such a hot topic make sense but I think we’re forgetting just how illogical games companies can act sometimes. I don’t know whether it’s pride or just laziness but they often leave those sort of open goals empty.

The reason I say this is that Sony has made a big deal about the DualSense, which is understandable as it looks like a great improvement, but Microsoft, which is normally known for having the best joypad has said almost nothing about theirs. I mean, I’m sure they have, somewhere, but if you ask me now what’s different about it I couldn’t list a thing.

I had hope that they’d try and be more proactive – adding gryo-sensors would be very welcome as far as I’m concerned – but they haven’t even hinted at something like that. It always seems that just as one company makes an improvement the other completely ignores it.

1% better
I didn’t expect to see such a split between the Battletoads reviews and I am very confused as to how it’s happened. Reading the positive ones they go on about how great the scrolling beat ‘em-up sections are and yet in GC’s review they say how they’re only a small part of the game? How can your praise for a game be based on sections that only make up a small percentage of the game?

Some of the positive reviews barely mention how the game is a mini-game compilation. I’m not one for the usual paid review conspiracies but I really don’t see how this happened. I mean, the beat ‘em-up parts can’t be that good that they make up for the rest of the game can they?

I don’t recall ever seeing a game where it gets either 8s or 9s or 5s and 6s, with almost no middle ground at all. I guess I can just play it myself since it’s on Game Pass but I’m not sure I want the mental agony of such a hard game. Time can be wasted just as much as money you know.

It’s another disappointing first party release for Microsoft though and certainly not something that’s going to be rivalling Sony’s best on Metacritic, or even their worst. (Actually, I just checked and Days Gone is rated 1% lower!)

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Medium to high score
I’ve just watched the first episode of High Score on Netflix (covering the likes of Space Invaders, early Atari, etc.) and it’s very watchable.

Now I don’t foresee it being groun breaking journalism or give us hitherto unknown insights in future episodes, but it’s still cool so far. It reminds me of the toy series (Star Wars, He-Man and the like) that came out on Netflix a while back in terms of presentation style, voiceover, and interviews with the people involved, and I really enjoyed those series.

So yeah, check it out.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)

Wired for failure
I hadn’t played my Switch in about six months until yesterday. I got Astral Chain and began to play. After the opening level I get to wander around the police station and I found it difficult to walk forwards. So I unplug my wired joypad and plug it back in. Now it’s worse and my character is running towards me when no input happens. It also scrolled the Switch interface itself.

This sounds like Joy-Con drift right? But I wasn’t using them. It’s a wired third party joypad that I’ve had for two years. I prefer it as the sticks and buttons are big enough. But I had to use the Joy-Cons to continue, which were fine.

The point is this seems to be a software issue to me. It may be a reason drift is so rampant. I’m not saying Joy-Cons don’t break, just that there could be more than one problem.

The jaded gamer in me thinks that it’s just a ploy to make us buy more Joy-Cons. It’s not like games companies try to screw their customers, eh?

But seriously Nintendo, have a look at your operating software there could be a solution right there to fix this.
Handsome Dan Wolfshead
PS: Rizer, you’ll like Demon’s Souls. Looking back, I’d say its the best one because all its sequels copy it so much.

GC: Not to excuse Nintendo’s response to Joy-Con drift, which has been poor, but we’d never advise buying a third party joypad for any console. And suggesting Nintendo purposefully designed Joy-Cons to fail, which resulted, eventually, in a free repair policy and worldwide headlines about how badly made the Switch hardware was… that makes no sense to us. As the saying goes: ‘Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.’

Hats entertainment
At the moment, I have nearly beat A Hat In Time (yeah, I really have my finger on the pulse, baby!) and have hugely enjoyed it. Mafia Town is a little ho-hum but is nice enough to explore in a Super Mario Sunshine, Delfino Plaza kind of way.

The movie studio was really clever, particularly the Conductor’s levels. By the way, that guy seriously needs professional help – you were going to blow up your own train?! What?!

You may deem me a bit weak, but I am finding the bosses very tough. Probably because I am expecting Nintendo rules where it takes three hits. I have found the Snatcher (a name which carries with it a very many horrible associations) to be especially brutal. Particularly when he summons what he calls ‘a thousand flasks’. I have yet to avoid damage from that one. I was tired, though, so after about four or five tries I went and did another level. You know, he’s very likeable for an ancient ghost-demon of inky blackness. Very welcoming. Unlike Queen Vanessa.

Also, for some reason, I keep calling the heroine Maddie. Which I think is the girl from Celeste? Hmm, don’t know why I thought that. Maybe it’s the hats. She’s mad about hats! Even with this video, only four people tops will get that reference! I hope you appreciate it!

Next gen indie
Has GC seen the Black Myth: Wukong trailer? It looks like a Chinese indie studio creating a Sekiro style game with the Journey to the West mythology, far better than imaginable from such a small and unknown studio.

GC: It’s very impressive. Apparently the team is made up of only 30 people, which reminds us of the work Ninja Theory did on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The days of all indie titles looking like NES games is well and truly over.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

From From with love
RE: Rizer. I’d agree with you that in my opinion Bloodborne is the best of the FromSoftware Soulsborne games… though I love all of them (even 2!).

I do find it strange that everyone (not just GC) are so quick to ordain Mortal Shell as the next best of the souls-likes though. For me The Surge and Nioh games would take some beating in the non-From regard. Maybe its because Mortal Shell is ‘so’ similar (in all respects) to the Souls games, whereas the other games I mentioned are only mechanically similar but with different ‘skins’ (an over-simplification but I’m sure you understand). Using that reasoning would have Lords Of The Fallen receive more praise though… and it doesn’t.

All Souls and Souks-likes ranked: 1. Bloodborne, 2. Demon’s Souls, 3. Nioh 2, 4. Dark Souls 3, 5. The Surge 2, 6. Dark Souls, 7. Nioh, 8. Dark Souks 2, 9. The Surge, 10. Code Vein, 11. Immortal: Unchained, 12. Lords Of The Fallen

I haven’t included Sekiro as it is just that bit too different from the Souls-like fundamentals for me personally to include it (but if I had to, it would probably fit in around 4 or 5). I’ve just bought Remnant From The Ashes also, which if it lives up to the praise I have heard will probably crack my top 10. I’ll probably wait to play Mortal Shell on PlayStation 5.

GC: We’ve never been big fans of The Surge, so we’d definitely put Mortal Shell above that. Nioh 1 and 2 are better games, but for some reason we never really think of them as Dark Souls clones, probably because the combat is so much more involved. We accept that they are though, so in that sense your top 12 wouldn’t be far off ours.

Inbox also-rans
I can’t remember the last time we had an actual announcement that wasn’t teased, leaked or simply a delay.
NongWen (PSN ID)

GC: It does spoil the fun, we agree, but sometimes things slip through. Although the name was leaked months ago, we know practically nothing about the new Call Of Duty and there were quite a few surprises in the PlayStation 5 reveal. The Xbox Series X too, if you count indie games.

I’m thinking of getting a PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR. Could anyone advise me? I’m not sure of next gen right now so it has to be this which is a big step up to the next gen plate for me.
D Dubya

GC: Having left things so late we’d at least wait and see the price and final info on the PlayStation 5. There’s also likely to be a new VR headset too, although that may take a year or two to arrive.

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what is your favourite role-playing game ever?

You can name any game, from any time period, but which one is your favourite and why? How much experience have you had with role-playing games and what is your preferred style, including Japanese vs. Western and action vs. turn-based?

Do you generally like role-playing games or was this one relatively unusual for you to enjoy? What general things would you like to see change about the genre and what are you hopes for the next gen?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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