5 Reasons Spider-Man PS4 Is The Best Superhero Game (& 5 Why It's Batman: Arkham City)

Truly great, top-notch superhero games are a real rarity in the industry. The issue is, they’re licensed games, and all gamers know how those sorts of things tend to work out. All too often over the years, they’ve been lazy cash-ins, released safe in the knowledge that they’ll sell well because they’ve got a big name on the front of the box. It’s a real shame.

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Superhero games in particular have a lot of stigma to overcome. Let’s not forget how many of us were burned by Superman 64, in which players flew the almighty Son of Krypton through a series of colored rings like it was Baby’s First Flight Sim. Still, things have improved in that regard, with excellent games like Batman: Arkham City and Marvel’s Spider-Man raising the bar forever. Which of the two games is the best, though?

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10 SPIDER-MAN PS4: It’s A Big Console Exclusive

Early in the lifespan of the current-gen consoles, killer apps were super hard to come by. Nintendo Switch launched without a true must-have exclusive (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was already available on Wii U), while one of the PS4’s first true major exclusives was Bloodborne.

Several years later, though, the situation had improved drastically. With the likes of God of War, PS4 firmly established itself in its twilight years, and Marvel’s Spider-Man went a long way towards gaining that momentum. It was a late selling point for its console, while Batman: Arkham City went multi-platform.

9 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: Was A Trend Setter

As a counterpoint to that last, however, we’ve got to remember that Arkham City launched seven years before Insomniac Games’ spidery effort arrived on the scene. The landscape of gaming was very different back then, and Arkham City (and 2009’s Arkham Asylum before it) pioneered a lot of the elements that we’d later see in the Webhead’s own effort.

The combination of open-world exploration and stealth hadn’t really been seen on this scale up to this time. Batman had already featured in countless video games of varying quality by this point, of course, but Arkham City expanded on the template its predecessor laid down, defining exactly what could be achieved with an iconic character in their own iconic world on a scale never seen before.

8 SPIDER-MAN PS4: Free Roaming In A Real City

Now, don’t get us wrong here. This is in no way meant as a slight on the scale of the world presented in Arkham City, because it was truly jaw-dropping for its time. For comic book fans in particular, it was a marvel to behold (and to broodily swoop around with our cape, naturally).

RELATED: 10 Spider-Man PS4 Spin-Offs We Need Right Now

All we’re saying is that Spider-Man PS4’s representation of New York City is a whole new dazzling high. Of course, it was scaled way, way, way down from the real thing, but residents recognised certain landmarks and locations and could (somewhat) navigate their beloved home city within the game based on their real-world knowledge of it. We’ve seen bigger open worlds, of course, but none that felt quite so real.

7 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: It Was A Difficult Sequel Done Very, Very Well

Regardless of medium, be it video games, novels, movies or the like, few things are more difficult than a successful sequel. Yes, you have the advantage that fans of the original will probably be back for more, but that comes with a huge risk too. As we know, fans tend to be super protective of the franchises they love, and will absolutely slate a sequel into the ground if it isn’t deemed worthy.

With Batman: Arkham Asylum being the video game equivalent of the much-ballyhooed The Dark Knight (in terms of its glowing reception), there was an immense amount of pressure on the sequel to live up to it. Needless to say, it absolutely achieved that. A lot was expected of Spider-Man PS4 as well, but not on quite this level.

6 SPIDER-MAN PS4: More Fluid, Varied, Acrobatic Combat

Now, granted, this one could be a little controversial. In terms of the combat in the Arkham series versus the combat of Marvel’s Spider-Man, there are a lot of parallels to be drawn. After all, both feature very similar mechanics, in that fights tend to revolve around crowd control through the use of fancy gadgets and fluid movement.

For our money, though, Spidey’s combat feels that bit more enjoyable, more creative. When you’re seamlessly balancing your own moves, the timing and placement of your gadgets and stringing combos together with acrobatic evasive moves, you just feel unstoppable, like a master of the game.

5 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: Even More Fanservice To Lap Up (Arguably)

There’s no denying that crafting a superhero game that’s also a fantastic action adventure is a tremendous achievement. Not many titles ever manage that. However, it’s also crucial to stress that, at heart, these titles are about appealing to the fans of the characters concerned first.

Spider-Man PS4 is certainly packed to the gills with fanservice, in the form of character cameos, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references and the great variety of Spider-suits the player can unlock. Even so, we feel that Arkham City has the edge in this regard, with its many villainous (and non-villainous) cameos, playable appearances from the likes of Batwoman and Nightwing, returning voice-actors like Mark Hamill as the Joker and a whole lot more besides. At the time, it was the ultimate playground for Batman fans.

4 SPIDER-MAN PS4: Arkham City Was Perhaps A Little Less Impactful

As we’ve already discussed, Arkham City is a prime example of how to create a successor to an outstanding game. It made tweaks and changes where necessary, expanded on certain areas and generally advanced a successful formula without resting on its laurels. We’ve given the game major kudos for that already, but we’ve also got to consider the flipside of that.

RELATED: 10 DC Characters Who Need Their Own Video Game (Like Batman Has)

As a sequel, Arkham City more than lived up to its predecessor. At the same time, though, it was expected to. Arkham Asylum set the bar so high that fans knew what to expect going into the second game: more of the same, but bigger and better. This was what they got, true enough, but the initial wow factor was muted a bit as a result.

3 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: There’s A Lot Of Busywork In Spider-Man PS4

To an extent, of course, all open-world titles are a little guilty of this. After all, what use is a vast and impressive-looking game world if there’s nothing to do there? Developers always seek to fill these worlds with sidequests, collectibles, useful NPCs and such to keep players engaged.

Sometimes, though, these features are a little by-the-numbers. The many Research Stations, for instance, offer a variety of different missions, but they aren’t particularly engaging. Lots of them are collectathons, perhaps the sort of distraction that players engage in for completion’s sake rather than because they’re fun to do. Arkham City’s side content isn’t perfect in that regard either, but the opportunity to play as a different character offers a little more variety to proceedings.

2 SPIDER-MAN PS4: Being Spider-Man Just (Again, Arguably) Feels More Satisfying

When it comes to subjects for games, Spider-Man is perhaps among the best superheroes out there. His particular superpowers just lend themselves so well to an open-world environment. The Webhead’s best games have really –clichéd as it is—made us feel like Spider-Man, offering intuitive and satisfying web-swinging controls and allowing us to zip through New York City to our heart’s content.

Batman: Arkham City also offers freedom like this, but for some, Batman just doesn’t feel as liberating to control.

1 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: It Was Better Reviewed By Critics Overall

What’s the true mark of a game being ‘better’ than another? For lots of us, critical consensus is where it’s at. In those terms, as reported by Metacritic, there’s a clear winner here.

As the site clearly shows, Marvel’s Spider-Man has a Metascore of 87. While that’s very positive, it’s beaten out by Batman: Arkham City, with an astonishing Metascore of 96 on PS3. Every system’s version of the main game scored higher than Spider-Man PS4, in fact, other than the Wii U’s Batman: Arkham City- Armored Edition (85 Metascore).

NEXT: 10 Forgotten Superhero Games You Need To Play

Source: gamerant

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