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Video games based on movies are known for being flops, but a few are actually great games. All too often, movie tie-in video games just port in the movie’s plot and give it underwhelming graphics, making for a disappointing gaming experience. Despite this trend, there have been a few games based on movies over the years that are actually worth playing.
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has long been one of the most beloved Star Wars games ever released. The first game was released in 2003, developed by BioWare and LucasArts with music by Jeremy Soule, the same composer who worked on Skyrim’s legendary soundtrack.
Knights of the Old Republic is set in the golden age of the Jedi, long before the prequel trilogy of Star Wars films. Players create a Jedi student, build their own lightsaber and travel the galaxy to unravel a Sith plot. Decisions in the game have an interesting alignment system that adds some excitement to roleplay.
KOTR got a direct sequel in 2004 and later a free-to-play MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, with a surprisingly good single player campaign. The graphics also got a much-needed upgrade in the MMO, which still has a good player base in 2023.
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Marvel doesn’t have the best track record with game adaptations, but Marvel’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are phenomenal. The only downside is that both games are Playstation exclusives (although you can also play them on PC). Marvel’s Spider-Man came out in 2018 and with the Miles Morales sequel following it in 2020.
Both games have crisp modern graphics and solid gameplay. The webslinging mechanics are especially fun, although they can take a bit of practice to get used to. If you’re on PC, try playing this one with a controller instead of mouse and keyboard.
Both Spider-Man titles are open world games set on the streets of New York City. The storylines are based loosely on various arcs from the Spider-Man comics, so expect to see some of your favorite Spidey villains.
3. Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation is widely considered one of the best games based on movies ever released. The Alien film franchise is a blockbuster, so of course it would get a video game. Alien: Isolation does not disappoint, either. This survival game was released on Playstation and Xbox in 2014, but you can now play it on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS, as well.
Alien: Isolation is a first-person horror game set on a spaceship where, you guessed it, a terrifying alien is hunting down the crew. Unlike some similar titles, this is not a shooter. It leans heavily into the suspense aspect of the Alien films, forcing the player to focus on hiding rather than fighting. If you liked the Alien films, you’ll love this movie tie-in game.
4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Not all Star Wars games are as good as the movies. That’s not the case here, though. Jedi: Fallen Order is arguably better than some of the movies.
It follows former Jedi padawan Cal Kestis, who is in hiding 5 years after the fall of the Jedi in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Cal is called out of hiding for a dangerous mission he has to complete before the Empire’s inquisitors can hunt him down.
Jedi: Fallen Order is easily one of the best games based on movies. It makes a great sequel to Revenge of the Sith. The cutscenes and acting are phenomenal. The gameplay is challenging but rewarding with a good balance of puzzles, parkour and combat. It’s also available on Xbox and Playstation, as well as PC.
A sequel to Fallen Order, Jedi: Survivor, was released in 2023, but received mixed reviews due to poor performance. Luckily, EA announced plans to resolve those issues and release the game on older consoles.
5. Aladdin (1993)
The 1990s were a decade crammed with games based on movies, most of which are not worth revisiting. However, there is one “diamond in the rough”: 1993’s Aladdin. This movie tie-in game was made to release alongside Disney’s animated Aladdin film starring Robin Williams. It was released on a few platforms, including Super Nintendo, SEGA Genesis, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.
The plot of the Aladdin game is exactly what you would expect for a 90s movie tie-in game. It basically follows the exact same plot as the movie. However, the gameplay is a blast. It’s a side scrolling platformer that’s quick and just challenging enough to be really fun.
If you want a game based on a movie that’s a little bit retro, this one is definitely worth revisiting. You can pick up the old Gameboy and GBA cartridges online or play it in the Disney Classic Games Collection on Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox.
6. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Much like Marvel and Star Wars, Lord of the Rings has gotten plenty of video game adaptations over the years, many of which are flops. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of the few games based on movies that’s actually good, though. The gameplay style might not be for everyone, but it does have a few things going for it.
You play as Talion, a ranger on a mission to defeat Sauron. The setting is years before Lord of the Rings takes place, functioning as a prequel to the movies. The “nemesis” system in Shadow of Mordor is its big selling point.
The game creates unique orcs with distinct appearances and personalities who get increasingly stronger as you defeat higher-ranking enemies. If an orc kills Talion, that NPC remembers the interaction and even brags about it. As a result of this system, every playthrough is different since the player faces a different series of orc nemeses each time.
If you like games like Elden Ring or Assassin’s Creed, give Shadow of Mordor a try.
7. Mad Max
The Mad Max game is a lot of fun in its own right, although it also happens to be based on the Mad Max movies. It combines action-packed driving with melee and shooter combat. The setting is the same post-apocalyptic wasteland from the films, so fans of games like Fallout: New Vegas will feel right at home.
Mad Max’s one big weak spot is its mediocre story. However, the gameplay is fast-paced and fun. The graphics and setting are both pretty immersive, particularly given the fact that this game is almost 10 years old. If you enjoyed the wasteland world of the Mad Max movies, you’ll appreciate the way the developers recreated it for the game adaptation.
8. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Many of us played the LEGO games as kids, but LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is worth checking out no matter what age you are. It combines LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga with newer LEGO Star Wars titles and combines them all with completely overhauled graphics and gameplay.
The result is a funny, laid back game that offers a challenge with a dose of nostalgia. In fact, The Skywalker Saga trended on social media for its meme content when it initially came out. It has all the witty charm you could want from a LEGO game, which makes it more fun to relive the plots of the movies.
The Skywalker Saga is definitely one of the best games based on movies, particularly among those that simply copy a film’s plot beat for beat. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a chill game set in the Star Wars universe.
9. Jurassic World Evolution
Jurassic World Evolution (and its sequel, Evolution 2) is not a game where you run from hungry dinos like in the movies. It takes a much more laid back approach, putting players at the helm of their own dinosaur zoo. In this park builder game, you create your own version of Jurassic World, ideally one where the dinosaurs do not escape.
Jurassic World Evolution is unique among games based on movies because it doesn’t really lean on the plot of one of the movies. The focus is on the world itself. It feels like Zoo Tycoon with a Jurassic Park reskin, but that’s not a bad thing. It hits all the right beats for a park builder game. Both Evolution and Evolution 2 have story campaigns, as well, which are surprisingly enjoyable.
10. GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye 007 might not have the best graphics, but it’s a classic in the “games based on movies” category. It was a hit when it came out in 1997. The developer originally released GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64, but you can now play it on Xbox, Nintendo Switch or on PC with Xbox Cloud Gaming.
GoldenEye 007 follows everyone’s favorite British spy as he travels around the world trying to stop the completion of a dangerous weapons satellite. It combines combat, stealth and puzzles to make a fun and engaging gameplay experience, even if the visuals are a bit dated. The Xbox Cloud Gaming version gives GoldenEye 007 some much needed quality of life upgrades, such as modern controller support.
Best Games Based on Movies
Video games based on movies are notoriously disappointing, but a few are actually good. From old 90s gems to modern Star Wars hits, there are a handful of great games out there that were based on films. These top 10 are a great place to start if you want to revisit the world of a favorite movie from your PC or gaming console.