Why are comic book games so bad?

avalonx

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Let's take the Batman games out of the equation. With the huge boom in super hero movies you would think the gaming community would catch up but that's not what had happened. Super Hero based games continue to stink. Spider-man games have gotten worse and worse and we didn't even get an Avengers game. How is that possible? We did get 2 Iron Man games which were pretty bad and a not so bad but not great Hulk game. What do you think it would take for game devs to really invest in a quality game instead of a license cash in?
 

kittyworker

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Theres actually a pretty simple answer to this and it has very little to do with them being 'comic book games'. The simple matter of fact is that most of these 'comic book games' are only every released when they are accompanied by a movie. This makes them less about being a comic book adaption and more about being a cheap game that they can sell to make a few bucks off the movie. Its the same reason that most movie games suck.

The comic book games that are NOT accompanied by a movie tend to be a bit better, games like Freedom Force, The Darkness, Ragnarok Online... are a bit better than your standard fare. Most of the time though its not that they are BAD, just that they are plain average and don't stand out. People expect better things from them because they already expect good things from the heroes of their childhood.
 
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avalonx

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True, but Batman showed you could have a mainline release of a comic book character game and it be a AAA title. With the popularity of the Avengers, it wouldn't really have to be in that universe, it could just be the Avengers. A few years ago there was Marvel Ultimate Alliance and they were pretty good.
 

Goldie

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I think some titles just don't have enthused of a following so studios don't expect them to have as much of a promise when it comes to sales, which is probably why they choose not to put in too much money and effort into them. The problem is that the mediocrity just feeds the cycle as no new fans are brought in as long as the games are mediocre, but I don't blame them since it's risky to put your money on the line like that.
 

Squigly

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It's an easy way to cash out on a series' popularity. Just wait until the game is released and reviews come out and you'll be fine. A rare few games like Batman and Injustice: Gods Among Us were pretty good games.
 

joshposh

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Theres actually a pretty simple answer to this and it has very little to do with them being 'comic book games'. The simple matter of fact is that most of these 'comic book games' are only every released when they are accompanied by a movie. This makes them less about being a comic book adaption and more about being a cheap game that they can sell to make a few bucks off the movie. Its the same reason that most movie games suck.

The comic book games that are NOT accompanied by a movie tend to be a bit better, games like Freedom Force, The Darkness, Ragnarok Online... are a bit better than your standard fare. Most of the time though its not that they are BAD, just that they are plain average and don't stand out. People expect better things from them because they already expect good things from the heroes of their childhood.

I agree. There is no originality when it comes to most recent adaptations. It's just the companies involved are trying to cash in on the recent popularity of the movies. Big fans of the movies will buy anything, but hardcore players won't appreciate the crap design.
 

valiantx

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Most comic book games are bad, but there are good or even excellent games created off comic book characters and stories. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a very well done game and it matched very closely to what most people believe being Batman would be like. The DC Online game was elaborately made and was a lot of fun to play with or against other human players or NPCs. Marvel VS Capcom fighting games are fun to play. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was a darn good game and you weren't limited to Spidey's traditional powers web abilities, you could also change to Venom's black symbiote suit. Spawn: The Video Game that was made in 1995 is a classic game I still play from time to time, it was very innovative in regards to earlier comic book games.
 

atlantasports

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All of the Batman games have been absolutely stellar and that is just one example of what a good comic book based game should look like. Does Injustice technically count as a Batman game? And also, I really enjoyed all of the X-Men games, even though they weren't necessarily the best games.
 

Ridge

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It's not just a comic book thing, it is a licensing thing. When a developer/publisher is making a game about an IP they don't care about the product will often suffer.

That is why the Arkham games are so good, WB owns the character and publishes the games, so there is some quality control there. The Marvel playsets in Disney Infinity are pretty okay for the same reason.
 

Rowe992

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Well the generalization of comic book games as bad is just your view. I don't think all comic book games are bad even though I don't usually play them. I love the Spiderman game series and it is a comic book game. It just all depends on individual preference I guess.
 

Vegito12

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I reckon some games are made to match a movie and sometimes they do well or they don't like the Batman 2005 game it had some good concepts but fighting and dodging bullets was hard and annoying. Batman arkham asylum and Arkham city were enjoyable and felt like a movie and you could experience batman and fight the baddies and solve puzzles. I think some games do well and, some you can see when the game is not doing well due to the developers just making some quick cash.
 

Goldie

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It's an easy way to cash out on a series' popularity. Just wait until the game is released and reviews come out and you'll be fine. A rare few games like Batman and Injustice: Gods Among Us were pretty good games.
I agree that was a pretty good game, although I personally wouldn't rank it near the other fighting games that I like a lot more. It was fine but it was missing something for me. The mobile version wasn't too bad either. I got addicted to it too for a time because I liked collecting all the heroes.
 

kaizen

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There's been a few gems over the years: Arkham Asylym, Spiderman 2, x-men legends (I think that's the name.. the action rpg ones), and possibly others.

I think the real issue is what others have been saying, most superhero games are actually just adaptions for the movies. Generally these are produced quickly to align with the movie release and make cash on the hype.

I also feel like a lot of the old superhero games back in the SNES/sega era were pretty good too, simple arcade like games that were a lot of fun. Could be nostalgia though.
 
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tmsjr1

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Man, I don't know. As a lover of comic books, in my mind, making a comic into a video game just makes a lot of logical sense and literally writes itself with all the continuity out there, but for some reason nobody can get it right (with the exception of the Arkham series). The only other game that I can remember remotely liking that was based off of a comic was Wolverine: Origins and I think that's just because I was young, and it was violent. I vaguely remember it having good gameplay.
 

aboleth_lich

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I think that kittyworker delivered a near perfect, deft analysis of the state of such games in the very first response.

Most of these games are sub-par for the vary same reasons that most licensed games in general aren't very good: the motivation behind making such games are much more so to snag a piece of a lucrative property's very large pie more so than to make a quality product (in addition to comic book tie-ins, look at all of the terrible movie based games, Simpsons games, etc), and in the case of movie tie-ins in particular they are often rushed so that they're released within a very tight window of time to hit the Zeitgeist/hype full-on (e.g. the Atari 2600's infamous E.T. is a perfect example of that). This isn't always the case for licensed games (just as it isn't always the case for licensed comic books, etc), but it does more often than not seem to be the norm. I would even go so far as to extend this to adaptations in general.

It seems to me that the key to making a good adaptation, like Batman's Arkham series in the case of video games or Dredd in the case of movies, is the motive of those making it: the good adaptations (be it a video game, a movie, or otherwise) are made by true fans of the material being adapted who want to take the proper time and put the proper effort into making a product that truly honours that material and would be something that they themselves enjoy, as opposed to rushing to make a quick buck off of brand recognition.