Best Marvel Games To Play In 2021
From bankruptcy in the mid-1990s to global brand powerhouse, Marvel’s journey to the top of the intellectual property food chain has been a saga for the ages. Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s dominance of pop culture, the house of ideas’ greatest heroes are once again household names, as well as the perfect material for video game adaptations. Marvel’s return to video game superstardom hasn’t been entirely smooth, but these have been road bumps on an otherwise exciting journey into mystery.
With several games such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine, and Midnight Suns on the horizon, here’s a look at the best Marvel games that you can play right now, listed in no particular order.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR
This might come as a shock, but if you don’t have a few billion dollars in your bank account, a genius mind, and a company that regularly produces technology on the bleeding edge of science, then it’s highly likely that you’ll never be Iron Man. The good news is that there is a cheaper, safer, and more digital alternative in the form of Iron Man VR on PlayStation VR. Giving you full access to the playboy philanthropist billionaire’s signature power-suit, Iron Man VR is a brilliant slice of high-flying and repulsor-blasting action from a first-person viewpoint.
Flying is a thrill, battles are dominated by the telltale start-up sound of repulsor tech, and Tony Stark’s trademark snark makes you feel like a genuine superhero fighting impossible odds in this PSVR showcase.
Read our Iron Man VR review.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
You always know exactly what you’re getting with a Lego game, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 wasn’t ready to completely rock boat when it came to reuniting the comic book band for another dip into blockbuster action, but there was at least one interesting gameplay mechanic on offer. Traveller’s Tales once again provided a solid exploration of the Marvel Universe that was filled with all manner of slapstick gags, destructible environments, and a cast that was obscene in size.
The big draw here was the ability to manipulate time and a four-player competitive battle mode, as well as plenty of fan service that pulled from multiple comic book eras and dimensions. Pure uncomplicated comfort food starring the ever-popular Danish brand, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is still a satisfying dive into familiar and fun territory. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is available on all modern consoles and PC.
Read our Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 review.
For a large chunk of the 2010s, Spider-Man had been absent from consoles. After the tie-in game to the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film felt more like Peter Parkham City than an actual celebration of web-slinging that had been a big draw in previous Spidey games, a drastic change was needed to bring the wall-crawler back to the video game leagues. Enter Sunset Overdrive and Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games, a studio that simply understood who Spider-Man is at his core and used that understanding of the character to create what is arguably the definitive take on the character.
Swinging across Manhattan felt better than ever, there was a rogues gallery that pushed you to your limit, and the entire experience was wrapped up in a story that was exciting, serious, and heartbreaking in equal measure. That alone would have made for game of the year material when Spider-Man came out in 2018, but Insomniac went a step further by fleshing out New York City with dozens of extra web-slinging activities, dozens of collectible costumes, and post-launch DLC that had hard-hitting repercussions for everyone’s favorite webhead. Marvel’s Spider-Man is available on PS4, and a PS5 remaster launched alongside the console last year (Heads up: Peter Parker’s character model is completely different in the remaster).
Read our Marvel’s Spider-Man review.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Insomniac set a high bar for itself with its first Spider-Man game, and tasked with following up on that success with a PS5 launch game in late 2020, the studio had its work cut out for it. Miles Morales didn’t take many risks in terms of gameplay, but the change in heroes did shake things up, as Miles’ approach to New York crime-fighting was an electrically charged celebration of power and growth.
Armed with an arsenal of shocking abilities, juggling his own personal problems, and surviving the most perilous of odds helped make the debut of Miles in the leading role a memorable one. It also made for one of the best PS5 launch games. While Miles Morales is a shorter experience than the original Marvel’s Spider-Man (think Uncharted: Lost Legacy compared to Uncharted 4), it is a thrilling adventure from start to finish.
Read our Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales review.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Easily the most ambitious crossover of the video game era, Raven Software’s resurrection of the Ultimate Alliance of superheroes more than lived up to its promise of an over-the-top action experience. Taking the signature perspective of previous games and amplifying the hunt for loot to keep players engaged, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order had plenty of memorable moments, team-ups, and cataclysmic showdowns in a game that left almost no corner of the Marvel Universe untouched. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, and it’s particularly great as a couch co-op experience. It’s easy to jump into, and the wide variety of heroes to choose from–each with their own distinct moves–makes it a highly replayable adventure.
Read our Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order review.
There’s no denying that Marvel’s Avengers had a rocky road after launch, but 2021 has proven to be a turning point for the ambitious game starring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Constant patching has fine-tuned the gameplay, developer Crystal Dynamics has regularly rolled out time-limited events, and this year saw the latest expansion, War for Wakanda, add a substantial slice of new content to the game that included the Black Panther himself, all for free.
With a larger roster, confirmation that Spider-Man will be swinging into the PS4 and PS5 version of the game this year, and its recent debut on Xbox Game Pass, there’s never been a better time to assemble some Avengers and help save the day. Marvel’s Avengers is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Read our Marvel’s Avengers review.
Marvel Puzzle Quest
The only thing more powerful than the Marvel Universe is arguably the legacy of Puzzle Quest, a beloved series of match-three games that is both easy to pick up and challenging to master. Combining both properties though? That was a genius pulled off at the height of Marvel mania, as each game would see a trio of heroes square off against iconic villains while working their way through infinite gem stacks. What made this particular incarnation stand out was how it felt like a superhero game with combo attacks, color-based power-ups, and a tactical focus built around a roster of hundreds of characters.
Constantly challenging with its addictive strategic gameplay, Marvel Puzzle Quest is a titanic team-up for the ages. Marvel Puzzle Quest is available on consoles, PC, and mobile devices.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
A decade after it was first released, and it’s still hard to see exactly what was going on in any Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 match from the perspective of an outsider…but there’s no denying that the visual chaos was a slobber-knocker for the ages. Tossing Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains at the seasoned brawlers of the Capcom universe, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a game of high-risk and high-reward combos that will sear themselves into your retinas with every flashy attack.
Every character felt distinct, the shift to more modern rendering techniques still retained the superb animation of previous games, and the number of substantial gameplay tweaks made this the definitive Marvel fighting game of the 2010s.
Read our Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 review.
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