Games based on movie properties have long since fallen out of favor. While they were nothing short of abundant in the late ’90s and early-to-mid 2000s, the rise of mobile gaming and the ever-shifting attention of gamers caused video game adaptations of movies to plummet in popularity in the 2010s.
That’s not to say that the practice was completely killed off; toys to life titles like Disney Infinity saw plenty of characters from popular films cross over to digital spaces, and, though few and far between, some movie-licensed games managed to attain mainstream interest in recent years.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded (2010)
Local multiplayer had all but died out during the seventh console generation, but Activision’s 2010 remake of the beloved N64 shooter, GoldenEye 007, based on the James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan, sought to return competitive action to the living room couch once again. Unfortunately, the rehashing was trashed as a simplified Call of Duty wannabe, and its Xbox 360 conversion, which debuted later that year, didn’t fare much better with critics.
Still, it remains one of the most successful Bond games of the 2010s. Far more competent than the middling Blood Stone and vastly superior to the universally-panned 007 Legends, those looking for a modern James Bond game can’t do much better than this.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3 doesn’t seem like it would make for a great video game adaptation; game-ified Pixar experiences have a pretty hit-or-miss reputation, and something as abstract as the third Toy Story movie just isn’t solid grounds for a video game.
Surprisingly enough, Toy Story 3 on the Xbox 360 was a well-designed and wonderfully captivating action-adventure title. It foregoes much of the drama of the movie, instead telling an imaginative tale of its own while blending all sorts of gameplay mechanics together to form something that’s delightfully worthwhile.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
Beginning as a series of graphic novels, the Scott Pilgrim franchise was adapted for the silver screen in 2010, with a video game tie-in debuting the same year. A memorable beat-em-up featuring some amazing pixel art, it was delisted from all platforms in 2014 due to licensing issues and was only recently resurrected in early 2021.
Fans of the Scott Pilgrim franchise are bound to love it, but an interest in the series isn’t a prerequisite to play. It’s a major player in the indie pixel art renaissance of the 2010s, and gamers can finally pick it up for modern consoles.
Captain America: Super Soldier (2011)
2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum revolutionized melee combat mechanics in video games and made mauling a band of marauders both effortless and undeniably suave. Unfortunately, though the Christopher Nolan trilogy was on everyone’s minds at the time, Rocksteady Studio’s effort wasn’t connected to the films in any way.
Captain America: Super Soldier, however, was released just ahead of the 2011 movie and is part of an exciting period for the then-burgeoning MCU. It rips off Akrham’s combat system wholesale and couldn’t escape from being construed as a cheap copy, but those who enjoyed Batman’s outings on the PS3 and PS4 will likely get a kick out of this, as well.
Alien: Isolation (2014)
Easily one of the best survival horror games of the 2010s, Alien: Isolation was an atmospheric and terribly tense ride that felt like a dream come true for fans of the franchise, especially after the disaster that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, which debuted a year earlier.
Alien: Isolation isn’t a tie-in with 2012’s Prometheus, but it does fit into the franchise’s universe as a pseudo-sequel to the 1979 original. Players assume the role of Ripley’s daughter Amanda and board the mysterious Savastapol space station in search of closure regarding Ripley’s fate in the original movie. Borrowing elements from Outlast, System Shock, and everything in between, Alien: Isolation is one of the best survival horror video games out there and has gone down as an eighth-generation classic.
LEGO Jurassic World (2015)
Gaining popularity in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the LEGO franchise has become the Ditto of the video game world; able to morph to fit the shape of almost anything. The LEGO games are nothing if not versatile, though a closer inspection will reveal striking similarities.
In 2015, LEGO moved to cash in on the resurgence of the Jurassic Park franchise with LEGO Jurassic World. It wasn’t one of the most notable LEGO video game adventures, but those who adore platforming collect-a-thons can’t do much better than this in the modern era.
Mad Max (2015)
While it’s not technically a tie-in with the mid-2010s action epic, Mad Max: Fury Road, the release of Avalanche Studio’s Mad Max game in 2015 can’t be a coincidence. It may have lacked the intrigue and depth of the film, but it certainly captured the gritty environments and visceral combat encounters.
2015’s Mad Max is an open-world title that mixes elements of vehicular combat with Arkham-style melee brawls to great effect. It’s perhaps a bit too sprawling and barren, but it does an excellent job of depicting the tattered and broken world seen in the movie series on which it is based.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016)
By 2016, the unchanging formula of the LEGO games had begun to wear thin for many, but LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an adaptation of the first Disney-produced Star Wars film, worked to reinvent the wheel by reimagining its co-op mechanics and doubling down on the iconic humor of the series.
Levels are varied and interesting, and the multitude of characters ensures that there’s rarely ever a dull moment. The LEGO games are still going strong in 2022, and that’s partially because of the success of this 2016 outing.
Cars 3: Driven To Win (2017)
While Cars was just one of Pixar’s many hits in the 2000s, it wasn’t destined to succeed as a franchise. Cars 2 was panned as one of the studio’s worst releases, and Cars 3 didn’t fare much better.
Strangely enough, the games on which they were based were surprisingly competent. Cart racers with decidedly deep and multifaceted mechanics, they’re second only to Mario Kart 8 in terms of playability. Cars 2 and Cars 3: Driven to Win are essentially the same game, and either could easily fill fans’ itch for an arcade racing title not published by Nintendo.
Friday The 13th: The Game (2017)
Barring the NES adaptation from the mid-80s, the Friday the 13th franchise has never received a proper video game adaptation despite its incredible legacy. That changed in 2017 when Gun Media published Friday the 13th: The Game.
Though it clearly meant to pay homage to one of the greatest slasher series of all time, the title launched in a horrifically unoptimized state and was panned by critics and gamers alike. Fortunately, over the past four years, the developers have worked to fix the game and cultivate something worthwhile in spite of the issues.
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