"Video Game Conventions Let Down The Super-Hero Genre"

Illustration for article titled Video Game Conventions Let Down The Super-Hero Genre

Batman notwithstanding, most super-heroes are too powerful to fit well in standard video games, so say some veteran gaming reporters, following a discussion hatched at nearby urinals.

During the latest installment of the Listen Up podcast, host Garnett Lee tore into a design decision made in the recent Wolverine game that strips the hero of some of his powers, forcing players to earn them back, Metroid-style.

This anger apparently fomented during a mid-podcast bathroom break during which Lee and show regular John Davison, founder of What They Play, discussed the problem with super-hero games that involve heroes more powerful than mortal men.


Back from the restroom, they shared the following with the masses, at 1 hour, 24 minutes into their show:

Garnett Lee: If you're playing a Hulk or a Wolverine or a Captain America, you know who those characters are.

John Davison: This is where video game conventions let down the super-hero genre.

Lee: Absolutely.

Davison: There are expectations of video games that super-heroes aren't compatible with.

Lee: Like building the character. And having rewards based on how you develop the character. Maybe there's another reward system somebody could come up with. I don't' know what it is.

Davison: In that situation you should be able to die. There are certain things in video games that you take for granted that a super-hero automatically table-swipes. That' why the city-health thing [in EA's Superman Returns] I don't think it worked but..

G4TV.com reporter Patrick Klepek: It's clever. It was an attempt to do something different.

05-15-2009 Listen Up

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I really enjoyed the X-Men: Legends & Ultimate Alliance titles but I really wished they had expanded their roster a bit for Ultimate Alliance 2. One of the issues I have is I get sick of playing the same characters. There are so many Avengers who have never been playable characters as well as lower-tiered X-Men who would be great for any game.

One of the issues of hero games are playing as the ones who are supposed to be invulnerable (i.e. Superman, Wolverine) but I feel the most glaring issue is that most studios stay away from the genre entirely unless they can base the game upon a movie. More often that not that leads to an entirely too linear storyline and usually a lackluster one at that.

If developers would spend a little more time evaluating their story material and having their heroes face foes who are more equipped at exploiting said hero's weakness I think it could limit the feel of not having enough power or the whole issue of "Wolverine is not supposed to be hurt by some soldier punching him!" as well.

I am hoping that after Ultimate Alliance 2 the studio will focus a bit more on one team of heroes. Something along the lines of Ultimate Alliance: Avengers Assemble! or Ultimate Alliance: X-Men Generations would be fantastic! Odds are though, it is only in my dreams!