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Hits and Misses in Video Game Adaptations

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 05, 2023

Movies and TV shows based on video games are a mixed bag. The best of them are entertaining even to non-video game players. Others may only be fun for fans of the game. And then there are those that not even the biggest gamers can enjoy. Here are some of the hits and misses in video game adaptations.

The hits

The Last of Us, a hot new series airing on HBO, is getting major buzz from both critics and viewers. Like the Sony video game it's based on, the dystopian tale features a hardened survivor shepherding a teenage girl who may be humanity's last hope in the wake of a devastating pandemic.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is another brilliant new show with broad appeal for a variety of audiences. With anime-style and short 20-minute episodes, it's explosively good. It's based on the 2020 action role-playing game, Cyberpunk 2077.

Detective Pikachu benefits from entertaining voicework by none other than Ryan Reynolds as the title character who is helping a young boy (the son of a detective) look for his missing father. Of course Pokémon has lots of other successful media, like the books, TV series, and animated films. The Switch games include:

The Witcher adaptation may not be universally loved by the fans of the game, but the show, which is actually based on a series of novels, has gained a dedicated audience. And the show probably wouldn't have happened without the success of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Available for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox.

The Halo series is another adaptation that has some detractors among game purists, but we found the first season of the sci-fi action series pretty entertaining. And season two is on the way! Here's the Xbox Halo Infinite.

Sonic the Hedgehog is another family-friendly film benefitting from some major star power, including Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Ben Schwartz (as the voice of the cutely animated Sonic). The Sega video games include:

The anime-style Castlevania series is actually far more successful than its video game predecessor, which may explain why we don't have any of the games in stock.

Werewolves Within is a hilarious horror whodunnit based on a video game that is actually based on a board game before that.

Audiences are somewhat split on whether they prefer Angelina Jolie's campy, sexy take in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or Alicia Vikander's darker, more realistic approach in this 2018 film. Similarly, for the Xbox games you can choose between Tomb Raider Definitive Edition and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Croft Edition.

The science fantasy martial arts-themed Mortal Kombat is another franchise that has spawned several different movies. The 2021 film is the best one in our opinion. But there are those who prefer the hilariously silly 1995 version. The games:

The misses

On Rotten Tomatoes the film version of Alone in the Dark is described as "inept on almost every level." On the upside, it might be good for some laughs. A new version of the game is available for preorder on Xbox and Playstation.

Timothy Olyphant has said that starring in the woeful Hitman made him completely rethink his career. Maybe he would have rather just played the Xbox game.

One reviewer of 2005's Doom wrote "I kept expecting the 'Game Over' message to flash up, but it never did."

The Assassin's Creed video game series is packed with intrigue and excitement. It seems like it should make a good movie, but even with a star-studded cast including Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the film was a total bomb.

Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul and Dakota Johnson may have some slick car chases, but the plot is a nonstarter.

Let's hope the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie is better than this 1993 film. Star Bob Hoskins has categorized it as a low point in his career. Switch games include:

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