As far as I could remember, licensed games have been given a horrible rap, but 98 percent of them deserved the critical panning. However, prior to Batman: Arkham Asylum, which seems to be the starting point for great licensed games, there were a few gems out there that have been overshadowed by previous games. These are 5 licensed games that lost in the stigma, and that are actually enjoyable should you play them.
5) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I remember finding this at a used game store and decided to pick it up. I almost left it on the shelf, but I just had a hankering for some slicing and dicing. I’m glad that I sided with my hankering because I would have missed out on a pretty great hack and slash game starring everyone’s favorite Mutant. This game is basically a God of War clone, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means. The action is fun and fast paced, the platforming fits the character, and the unlockables and collectables will make any Marvel fanboy happy. The only drag from this game is the fact that some of the mainstay characters in it wear the horrible designs from the movie. The Blob looks weird, and the final fight with mute Wade Wilson can irk one’s spirits. If you can just imagine that it is normal Deadpool and normal Blob you won’t be as saddened. However, with Marvel buying back these rights we may get some really good Wolverine games and the like; let’s just hope not through EA.
4) Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
This game was a huge surprise for me when it came out; not only did it go through pivotal scenes from the movie prior to its release, but it also had cut scenes from the movie. If you wanted to experience George Lucas’ last Star Wars movie before it was released, this was the game to have. I enjoyed this game immensely. I remember playing through all the levels within the Star Wars canon and then replaying one as Anakin to see what would happen if he defeated Obi-Wan on Mustafar. That was the coolest thing back then, straying away from canon and showing everyone what may have been. I know that the prequels are usually panned and made fun of now, but I enjoyed them when I was younger and have some great memories seeing them and experiencing all things Star Wars back then. Revenge of the Sith was a nice endcap to all of those memories and I’m pretty sure I’ll be replaying it very soon, since I’m definitely not buying Battlefront II.
3) Batman: Vengeance
There was a time when comic book fans could not play as the Caped Crusader and enjoy it. Some of the early Batman games are pure and utter trash. Dark Tomorrow, I am staring squarely at you. Then there was one that didn’t fully trash my faith in the video game developers and that was Vengeance. Ubisoft’s Animated Series opus was released a full two years before Kemco’s trash heap of Dark Tomorrow, and you would think that the games would get better as years progressed. Now, I’m not saying that Vengeance is Arkham Asylum good, but for 2001, it was an epic licensed game. I remember loving the fact that the original voice cast was involved; you got to hear Shirley Walker and Danny Elfman’s theme and you were Batman! What could be greater than that!? The controls were a bit rough; not as bad as this game’s successor but they took some time to get use to. Think Metroid Prime if you didn’t play as often as you should. But that didn’t take away from the fact that you got to play an Animated Series episode, and I’ll love Ubisoft forever for giving me that opportunity .
2) Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green
George Romero’s zombie movies are some of my favorite movies ever made, and it saddens me even now knowing that there will never be another one. He did however gift us a game set in his world that gave some pointers to the developers of Dead Island and Dying Light. You play as a farmer trying to survive and find your way to Fiddler’s Green. Along the way you encounter lots of zombies and some humans, a majority of which would like to see you dead. This is a first-person romp and I really enjoyed my play through with it. The guns feel great, the melee combat is rough and visceral, and the challenge is there. This is not an easy game, due to the difficulty the developers placed in it for you and because of some bugs that I encountered. Every now and then, I would lose progress in the game on my OG Xbox which would set me back about half an hour, but I carried on and I don’t regret a minute of it.
1) The Thing
This game takes place immediately after the Kurt Russell movie ends, which makes it the most unique title on this list. However, that isn’t the only unique portion of this game; what really makes it stand out is the “trust” system. If you’ve seen The Thing you know that these aliens can copy a person and you’d never know the difference until it was too late. So in this game, you have to keep the trust of your crew to get through this destroyed Antarctic base. These crew members have certain tasks. Engineers can repair fuses, which allows you access to doors and possible save points. Soldiers are pretty self explanatory; they can kill and kill well with better accuracy and more health then other crewmen. And finally Medics; they heal you and other crew members with their unlimited supply of health packs. You must work together to save yourself and get away from this frozen tundra. The question is: are you smart enough?
Well, those are my five licensed games that deserve another look because they weren’t as terrible as expected. Did I miss any out there or do you disagree with any of my choices? Let me know in the comments.