15 series and cartoons based on games: much better than movies
In the comments to the previous article, 12 films based on games which are not painful to watch, proposals were made to make a similar selection, but with animated works and TV series. Considering the fact that in these genres the situation with the quality of game adaptations is better than in movies, we decided to return to this topic.
We warn you right away: The Witcher is not on the list, because the series is not based on games, but on a series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. There are also no Pokemon here, simply because then all this article would be about 90% about cartoons and series in this universe.
Series with live actors
Year of release: 2020 | IMDb: 6.3
A slightly unusual “guest” is a Taiwanese TV series based on a Taiwanese game of the same name is a two-dimensional horror film set during martial law in Taiwan in the 1960s. The game has a very high rating on Steam. The series has a much lower rating, but it is also quite good. In total, Detention has one season with eight episodes, you can watch it on Netflix.
Year of release: 2022 | IMDb: 7.0
The series is also known as Halo: The Series (probably to better distinguish it from the game series). American science fiction, which behaves very freely with the original source – its plot belongs to the so-called “silver timeline”, which is outside the canon of the Halo franchise (although it received a very significant influence from it, according to the producer). It doesn’t really have much to do with games, but as a modern space opera it’s pretty good. The series is shown on the Paramount+ service, Xbox Game Pass subscribers can get a free 30-day trial of it.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy
Year of release: 2011 | IMDb: 7.4
American web series based on the popular fighting game. It aired on the Machinima YouTube channel for a total of two seasons of 19 short (approximately 10 minute) episodes. The series can be considered a prequel to the original game – the first season tells about the main characters, the second is about the tournament itself. The series are almost unrelated to each other and mostly have a “realistic” approach to depicting events. The series received mostly positive reviews, although some episodes were heavily criticized. Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is currently unavailable on YouTube — in 2021, the series “moved” to HBO Max, which does not work in Ukraine.
Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist
Year of release: 2014 | IMDb: 7.2
Another web series (this time British) that aired on Machinima’s YouTube channel. Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist tells the story of fighters Ryu and Ken who learn about the past of their master Hawken and learn the secrets of the dark art of Ansatsuken. Unfortunately, like Mortal Kombat: Legacy, this series is no longer available on YouTube – Assassin’s Fist is available on some streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, but it is not available in this service in Ukraine.
Alien: Isolation Digital Series
Year of release: 2019 | IMDb: 6.2
A web series based on the game Alien: Isolation. It takes place 15 years after the original film that launched the entire Alien franchise and tells the story of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda. The series remained almost unnoticed, but fans of the game rated it quite highly – despite the rather primitive 3D graphics, Alien: Isolation Digital Series has a good story and an authentic atmosphere. All episodes can be viewed on IGN’s YouTube channel.
Year of release: 2021 | IMDb: 9.0
Probably the most popular TV series for games, Arcane was watched even by people far from the League of Legends universe. The series was created by the game developer Riot Games together with the French studio Fortiche Production, its announcement took place during the celebration of the tenth anniversary of LoL. Arcane has a great visual style, an interesting dynamic story, and an original universe – and to understand what is happening on the screen, you do not need to know the original. You can watch Arcane on Netflix.
Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV
Year of release: 2016 | IMDb: 7.1
A Japanese web series created by Square Enix in collaboration with the animation studio A-1 Pictures. As you can easily guess, the series is dedicated to the events of the game Final Fantasy XV and tells the background story of the main character and his environment. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV acted as a kind of “promotional campaign” for the game. It was released a few months before its release on the official YouTube channel and on the online service Crunchyroll, and after the release it was included in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition of the game on Blu-ray disc. All episodes of Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV can now be viewed on Final Fantasy XV.
Year of release: 2017 | IMDb: 8.3
An animated series based on the Castlevania series of video games by Japanese publisher Konami – specifically, the first two seasons of four are based on Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989), with further borrowings from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) and Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (2005). The series has very high ratings and is usually mentioned in all lists of “quality game film adaptation”, so it is definitely recommended to watch, especially if you like the “dark fantasy” genre. You can watch Castlvania on Netflix.
The Cuphead Show!
Year of release: 2022 | IMDb: 7.4
The series is based on the game Cuphead — its style is inspired by the animation of the 30s of the last century, so it organically “fit” into the animated adaptation. The Cuphead Show! lost most of the shooting of the original platformer, but kept the unusual style – judging by the rating on IMDb, the audience generally likes the series. You can watch The Cuphead Show! on Netflix.
DOTA: Dragon’s Blood
Year of release: 2021 | IMDb: 7.8
Animation based on the main competitor of the original Arcane, another game in the MOBA genre. However, the visual style in DOTA: Dragon’s Blood is much more traditional, and the rating and number of ratings on IMDb are also much more modest. Like Arcane, Dragon’s Blood is more of a loose adaptation of the DOTA 2 lore, although the game’s characters are featured in the series. To a viewer unfamiliar with the original, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood will look like a high-quality, but fairly standard “high fantasy”. The series is available on Netflix.
The Angry Birds Movie
Year of release: 2016 | IMDb: 6.2
The American-Finnish adaptation of the series of mobile games, as you can easily guess, tells about the confrontation between birds and pigs that have arrived on their island. Three years later, a sequel was released, which received an even slightly higher audience rating on IMDb — 6.4. Both parts can now be purchased on YouTube or viewed on Netflix.
Batman: Assault on Arkham
Year of release: 2014 | IMDb: 7.4
The events of the film take place in the Batman: Arkham video game universe, namely after Arkham Origins.The plot mainly tells about the members of the “suicide squad”, including Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Unfortunately, Batman: Assault on Arkham is only available on HBO Max streaming (does not work in Ukraine) and Amazon Prime Video, (but it is not available in the Ukrainian catalog).
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Year of release: 2005 | IMDb: 7.2
The film based on one of the most famous parts of Final Fantasy is its sequel and takes place 2 years after the defeat of Sephiroth – so if you are still new to FF7 but are planning to play Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS4/PS5 or PC, then it is better to wait with the movie. By the way, its visual style is quite similar to the remake, although they are separated by 15 years. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is currently available for purchase on various streaming services, links to which can be found at official site of the movie. Advent Children isn’t the only film based on this classic jRPG series, but it’s probably the best of them all. Fans of the last for today, the fifteenth part, can be recommended to pay attention to Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. It was also good, although inferior to Advent Children.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge
Year of release: 2020 | IMDb: 7.4
Another Mortal Kombat, this time animated. Scorpion’s Revenge was the first adaptation of Warner Bros. Animation following the acquisition of the franchise and the first Mortal Kombat animation since Defenders of the Realm (1996). The plot of the film, as you might guess from the title, is devoted to one of the main characters of the franchise and his revenge for the murder of his family and clan. Scorpion’s Revenge offers quality battle scenes and good music and has received favorable reviews from fans of the series. The following year, on the wave of success, the sequel Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms was released, but its ratings were noticeably more modest. Unfortunately, like Batman: Assault on Arkham, Scorpion’s Revenge is only available on HBO Max and Prime Video (but not in the Ukrainian catalog).
Resident Evil: Degeneration
Year of release: 2008 | IMDb: 6.4
In the Resident Evil franchise, in addition to numerous films with Milla Jovovich, there were also animated works. Resident Evil: Degeneration is the first film in a conditional “trilogy” with well-known protagonists from the games – Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, and its plot is related to the game series and is not an “alternative vision” of the universe. Degeneration was followed by Resident Evil: Damnation (2012) and Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017), and all three have about the same ratings – slightly worse than first motion pictures, but better than the rest (and definitely better than the Resident Evil series that recently came out on Netflix). Movies are available on several streaming services — YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies.