With The Last of Us blowing up the internet and bringing grown men to tears before even the end of the first episode, we’ve been thinking about the best examples of video game adaptations.
Of course, it’s a phenomenon that goes both ways, with films based on games, games based on films and even a game inside another shame based on a film that’s based on a theme park ride – that be Pirates of the Caribbean in Sea of Thieves for those of you keeping up with this tortured explanation.
So, what’s the translation, transmutation or transfiguration which hits the spot for you in the video game world? Perhaps Pedro Pascal’s Joel has blocked all other examples from your mind, or you’re dead set on convincing us all that Bob Hoskins’ Mario is, in fact, the ultimate version of the character. Sound off in the Discord with your ideas.
Detective Pikachu | Liam Andrews
I loved the original series of the Pokémon anime. As a huge fan of the original games, it was cool seeing characters I’d battled with turning up as fully formed characters in another medium, and Pokémon had proper personalities instead of merely being members of your squad.
However, I’m going to spurn Ash and co. and instead opt for Detective Pikachu for my pick this week. Game adaptations have conditioned me to have very low expectations when it comes to silver screen productions, but I was pleasantly surprised by Detective Pikachu.
I thought Ryan Reynolds did a good job in his role as what is essentially a giant mouse, and the 3D models themselves were very impressive and easily the best part of the film. I also enjoyed seeing classic Pokémon city locations being referenced on tickets and posters. The plot was a bit bonkers, but you’re not really turning up to these sorts of films for a coherent story.
As far as video game adaptations go, I think this is one of the best, which isn’t saying a lot given what’s come before it. It might not be a classic or even well remembered years from now, but I enjoyed watching it and didn’t leave the theatre feeling disappointed, which counts as a win in my book.
Die Hard Trilogy | Chris Brand
Way back before the likes of Batman and Spider-Man changed the world for the better, licensed game adaptations were often seen as a cheap, easy, cash grab – because they were.
Die Hard Trilogy, was loosely based on the film series which chronicles the early life of Bruce Willis, bucked that trend by offering up three action-packed, and very different, games in one. Though each could have felt a little light in isolation, together they were great value for money and (surprisingly, for the time) rather fun.
Die Hard was a third-person shooter in which the player ascends Nakatomi Plaza, slaying terrorists and rescuing hostages. Die Hard 2: Die Harder changed things up, giving us an on-rails shooter, similar to light gun games that were (are?) a highlight of arcades. Die Hard with a Vengeance swapped guns for vehicles, as we raced around an over-crowded New York City defusing explosives.
Some of my fondest memories of the trilogy come from Die Hard 2, specifically the cheat code which unlocks the map editor. With it, you could modify the path the player takes, the various paths of the enemies and NPCs and the locations of weapon pickups. It was cumbersome and unintuitive but with a little tinkering you could dramatically alter the flow of the game, even reducing or increasing the difficulty as a result.
Die Hard Trilogy really did feel like three separate titles, not just three chapters of the same game. In the modern gaming world of today, it wouldn't have the appeal, as Grand Theft Auto, and many games of that ilk, seamlessly merge third-person shooting with driving, in a much more attractive package. However, it's possibly a forerunner of the open-world crime sim and one of the first decent licensed games.
A new year is upon us, and after a festive break we are back brimming with enthusiasm for the exciting games lineup due this year. Thanks to a slew of COVID-related delays, there are an awful lot of titles coming out in 2023.
From new entries in established titles like Zelda, Like a Dragon: Inshin and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, remakes like Dead Space and Resident Evil 4, and new IPs like Atomic Heart, the definitely controversial Hogwarts Legacy and the potentially exciting Forspoken.
What’s your pick? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor | Chris Brand
After weighing up my top five options (Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Hogwarts Legacy, The Wolf Among Us 2, a rather ambitious Fable 4, and finally Crisco Simulator: Cake for Breakfast, because there was really only a top three), I had to give Star Wars Jedi the top spot, though it was very close...
I'm not into the Harry Potter franchise, it just isn't for me, so Hogwarts Legacy was already on the back foot and needed to leave a real impression on me to be in with a shout. But it did. Its biggest weakness became a strength. Everything in this universe is new to me and that's a unique kind of excitement. I can discover everything for the first time, maybe even gaining a deeper appreciation for Harry Potter.
Ultimately, my time with the, genuinely excellent, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order tipped the scales. I know that everyone involved in the development of Hog Leg (please, can we call it that?) will be absolutely devastated by my decision and I hope they can recover from this crushing blow.
Many Star Wars titles have the demanding task of making you feel like a powerful Jedi whilst still providing a significant combat challenge, and Fallen Order got closer to that goal than most. I did find there were a couple of difficulty spikes, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with a little bit of patience. Do or do not, there is no try.
The only complaint I could throw at Fallen Order is the length of the story. I wasn't ready for this tale to end, I sensed more worlds to explore and more secrets to uncover. In retrospect, I'm glad it left me wanting more and kept me primed for the sequel.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 | James Parry
Approaching making my final pick I encountered a problem. A few games I found myself interested in last year have since given us glimpses which were disappointing, particularly Forspoken and Skull and Bones, and so I don’t want to touch any other games with some sort of curse.
However, tradition demands I must name names, so here goes…
At first I thought of going for the Dead Space remake, as I’m excited to finally dive into that series, but I feel like something which pulls us forward to something new is more worthy of excitement and anticipation.
And so I settled on Spider-Man 2. Firstly, I love Spider-Man as a character, always have, and there’s something very relatable about him as a hero – really any iteration, particularly given how many different ones there are, plus you can expect there’ll be at least some Across The SpiderVerse tie-in, as there was between the first game and film.
Secondly, Insomniac Games consistently bring out games I’m excited to play, from the likes of Sunset Overdrive when the Xbox One debuted, even as far back as trying out the very underrated Resistance series back in the mid 2000s. More recently, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, was my game of the year in 2021, so the teams are on a hot streak as far as I’m concerned.
However it turns out, I think we’re in for a really good year in gaming.
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