By Kyle Hickey
Well it's that time of year again, when we lock ourselves indoors hoping to avoid a worldwide virus, like we do every year. Lucky for us we live in a time where we have plenty of entertainment to keep our minds off of all of that pesky impending doom, and if you're a gamer like myself then it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in some vidya games. So here is a list of video games that will get you through these insane times we face ahead.
1. Injustice 2
After the success of X-Box 360's Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios followed up with a sequel in 2017 simply titled Injustice 2. Produced by the same studio that makes the Mortal Kombat titles, Injustice 2 is a classic 1v1 fighting game starring some of your favourite DC heroes and villains like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and even Captain Cold.
The story mode picks up where the last one left off; Superman locked away after his tyrannical run - all stemming from the Joker tricking him into murdering Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis. Now in the present Batman and the gang have to think about letting ol Supes out when Brainiac comes to Earth and recruits a group of the nastiest baddies around, calling themselves “The Society.”
The story mode is the best part of the game for me; the cut scenes are beautifully done, meshing seamlessly into fun and fast paced game play. During the story there are moments when you are given a few seconds to choose between two different characters, so there is some replay value in going back and playing both options. The story in Injustice is so good it eventually spawned a comic book series of the same name which was met with positive reviews as well.
Personally I'm not a huge fan of doing the add on stuff, like changing Joker's boots every time I earn an add on, but I appreciate them giving different skins like John Stewart's Green Lantern and Reverse-Flash. If you are better at it than me, then perhaps you will venture online and try your hand at fighting other folks, but if not the game's story mode is worth the decreased price and the different feels to each character will have you trying them all out while avoiding the outside world.
2. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
The third installment to the Ultimate Alliance franchise, The Black Order unfortunately can only be enjoyed by those of us who own a Nintendo Switch. Much like its predecessors, the game gives players their choice of four usable characters from a giant stable of Marvel's most popular heroes. You'll see even more familiar faces along the way as you run into bosses like Ultron and Kingpin, who are challenging enough to keep the hack and slash, action-RPG from getting too repetitive. The story should be one you are familiar with; Thanos and the Black Order trying to gather the Infinity Stones to assemble the mighty Infinity Gauntlet. Interesting that Team Ninja and company would do a story we've watched happen in the MCU for over a decade, but luckily the plethora of different characters like the X-Men and the Spidey gang keep it from stepping all over the movie universe's toes. And if you're into DLC then you can help yourself to even more teams like the Fantastic Four or even more of your favorite mutants.
3. Batman: The Telltale Series
If you want to give your hand a break from smashing on your controller during those last two games, then I suggest Telltale's Batman game. The game is very similar to the episodic, point and click style that made the Telltale's Walking Dead such a popular franchise, giving the player choices throughout the story that will affect how future events play out. You choose whether Bats yells at Alfred, or talks to him like a normal human, so for those of you who have some pent up isolation aggression, take it out on Batman's aging butler instead! I personally enjoy this game, but it is one of those titles that made my fiance say “This is a game? You haven't done anything...”, which, hey, I get, that’s kind of Telltale’s thing, but the story is so good that just choosing how Batman responds to the plot is worth an afternoon or two of your time. The game also includes a version of the Penguin I think will be similar to the Colin Farrell incarnation we will see in The Batman, if life on Earth is ever restored to normal.
4. The Death and Return of Superman
Time to dust off those old emulators and fire up some classics! If you found the last game to be too easy and not challenging enough, then may I introduce you to the Gordian Knot known as The Death and Return of Superman. If you owned a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo and had a Blockbuster membership around 1994, then you probably spent a weekend screaming at your floor mounted TV, wondering why you couldn't make it to the level to play as Superboy and rock that cool ass leather jacket.
Over the Christmas break I brought my modded SNES Classic home with me and my step-brother and I dove head first into this game, thinking maybe with our combined life experience we could fend better this time around.
Boy were we wrong.
The game is still so hard and it really makes you wonder how any kid beat games in the 90's in the allotted rental time they were given. Fire this game up to remind yourself that things are tough, but if you can persevere, you will be able to play as the Superman version that Shaq once portrayed in a God awful movie (not Kazaam).
5. Spider-Man (2018)
If you are a Sony Playstation 4 owner, then you can enjoy possibly the most well received superhero video game since Batman: Arkham Asylum. Ever since Spider-Man 2, based on the Sam Rami movie, was released for the Playstation 2, Spidey fans have been clamouring for another open world, action game, where the Web Head can scale giant buildings and web-sling around New York boroughs and boy did they get it.
The graphics are amazing; you'll find yourself just swinging around aimlessly and swan diving from the tallest buildings you can sniff out. If you own a PS4 and haven't played this yet, then you’re missing out on one of the best and most definitive PS4 experiences of all time so now might be the time to dedicate a couple days playing Insomniac Game's Spider-Man.
6. Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Alright, after all these solo games it's time to put your headset on and get some form of human interaction back in your life. I know Star Wars may not be considered “super-hero” to some people, but let's be honest; Jedi and Sith are pretty similar to meta-humans at the end of the day. Plus this is an excuse to talk to someone who isn't your cat.
The campaign mode occurs in canon between The Return of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, with an original character named Iden Versio who is an Imperial Special Forces agent. The story is a unique look behind enemy lines in the fallout of the Empire crumbling.
EA took a lot of flack on release day after BF2's loot box scandal and it has since attempted to restore relations with users by making all heroes and villains playable and only having their cosmetics purchasable. Some of you may have turned your backs completely on the franchise over the micro-transactions, and with the new Doom and Call of Duty out you may be deep into another shooting game, but if you are looking for something cheaper that still has a solid story and online mode, Battlefront 2 might be what you're looking for. The recent updates are also a reason for old players to hop back on and see some of the original trilogy additions.
7. Batman: Arkham Knight
The latest installment in Rocksteady's incredibly successful Arkham games, Arkham Knight was released in 2015 with the first ever playable Batmobile in the franchise's history. The most iconic Batman voice of all time, Kevin Conroy reprises his role as the Dark Knight as he deals with life after Joker's death and a Gotham that has been evacuated after a Scarecrow fear toxin attack.
The story is top notch, especially if you are a fan of some of the DC lore and the hand to hand combat mechanics are still some of the best in video games in my opinion. The multitude of different animations and upgradable moves keep the fighting from getting stagnant - you'll froth at the mouth to find a group of knife wielding thugs to bash up good on a rooftop.
My one complaint with the game is the frequent Batmobile tank fighting. Driving from place to place in the classic Bat-Car is fun and all, but it seems like every time you get behind the wheel you have to deal with an assortment of the Arkham Knight's roaming tanks. Fortunately the story and cinematography are so well done it will get you through all the monotonous tank fights. Also, keep an ear out for our ol pal Mark Hamill in some delicious flashback scenes!
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
You didn't think you were done with that emulator did you? Heck no! I've been saving possibly the greatest game of my suburban childhood for you to gorge in isolation, TMNT: Turtles in Time.
It’s always great to see those jolly green brothers and it also helps that Turtles in Time is a perfect game for those who don't consider themselves much of a gamer, it’s especially fun to play with your significant other or your roommates if you’re bunkered down with people. Its easy controls and classic side scrolling levels will allow both new and old gamers to enjoy the 1992 classic from Konami. If you are finding the game way too challenging and want to cheat your way to the top, then I suggest at the title screen pressing; up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B and then A, and then adjust the amount of lives you have in the options menu. Now go kick Shredder's tin butt! Cowabunga!
9. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Pandemics are serious business, so I think it's about time you have a laugh and for that you should get into South Park's RPG, turn-style based game, The Fractured But Whole. If you're a fan of Comedy Central's long running animated satire, then there is no doubt you will love what the game brings to the table. The aesthetics themselves are identical to that of the show and the game pokes fun at the whole superhero genre, which may be the levity you're looking for at this point. If you grew up playing games like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger then this game will be right in your wheelhouse.