Capcom’s courtroom visual novel series Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has a small but devoted fanbase, and its precisely this fanbase that the 2012 live-action movie adaptation aimed to please with its cartoonish melodrama.
Just like the games, the film is set in a near-future Japan where high crime has led to an overhaul of the justice system, resulting in three day long speed trials. Phoenix Wright is our well dressed, spikey-haired star, and must battle his arch rival and former classmate in the courtroom to defend a girl falsely accused of murder.
The film mixes the surreal with the everyday, featuring flying hologram screens in court, zany sound effects whenever some key evidence is dropped, and many, many objections.
Tomb Raider (2018)
Lara Croft first came to the big screen back in 2001 – and again in 2003 – famously played by Angelina Jolie. While both films are packed with fun action, they’re let down by an overall cheesiness they can’t escape.
2018’s Tomb Raider was based on the franchise’s gritty 2013 reboot and is an homage to the game rather than a direct adaptation, although some of the film’s more nerve-wracking scenes are taken straight from the game.
Alicia Vikander makes a great fit for the role of a more vulnerable Lara Croft, and remains just as full of character in the big city as in the jungles. The film did well enough that there’s even a sequel on the way.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Advent Children is unlike a lot of other video game adaptations in that its story is a direct continuation of where the game left off, rather than being the “movie version” of that game.
The titular children are symbolic of the movie’s overall message of there being hope for the next generation, and many of the characters have guilt they must let go of after the events of Final Fantasy VII.
If you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII you won’t have much idea of what’s going on, but unlike many game adaptations, Advent Children isn’t casting a wide net in terms of the target audience – it’s a companion film to the game specifically for the fans.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
While casting the incredibly white Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton as the Persian leads may have been a questionable choice, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was the most high-profile video game blockbuster when it first hit the big screen in 2010.
The film keeps the bulk of its attention on stellar action sequences and impressive parkour-like stunts, most of which are perfect replications of the same moves you can pull off in the game.
As well as making excellent fan service, these more than makes up for the slightly thin plot.
The movie’s star-studded cast and hefty budget helped re-open the door for video games to be considered worthy filmmaking material again.
The adaptation of the world’s most famous MMO is one of those interesting cases where it’s considered a US box office flop and yet performed incredibly well in China.
We can probably pin this on the fact that China makes up around half of WoW’s player base, but the film still remains under-appreciated in the West.
The plot narrows down the game’s expansive content to the events of the original game, telling a tale of a clash between orc and human civilizations.
Far from feeling like a Lord of the Rings ripoff, Warcraft is eager to show off its own lore, and the epic battles make a great fantasy romp for your average viewer as well as any long-time WoW fan.
Ever since Detective Pikachu came to cinemas in May it’s been heralded by many (including us) as the best video game movie of all time, and is often used as proof that movies based on games can actually be good.
Based on the Detective Pikachu 3DS game of 2016, the film merges live action with realistic CGI pokemon. Ryan Reynolds is basically Deadpool-lite as a talking Pikachu who teams up with Justice Smith’s Tim Goodman in an exciting mystery romp to find Tim’s missing father.
It’s been praised extensively for its faithful portrayal of the Pokemon universe. Many fans loved how much the filmmakers clearly cared about representing the pokemon themselves – a sad rarity in a lot of movie adaptations.
Rampage has no right being as enjoyable as it is. It’s the disaster movie adaptation of a 1980s arcade game that no-one asked for, starring The Rock. Boiled down to the basics it doesn’t sound great, but here we are.
Its strength lies in that it delivers exactly what it promises: three giant monsters ravaging a city. It’s shlock at its best and the perfect opportunity to turn your brain off and grab the popcorn.
Like the arcade game, Rampage pokes fun at the kaiju movie genre simply by adding more of the same, as we get three times as many beasties as usual. Unlike the game, however, the movie offers something more in the way of plot to wrap all the action around.
A lot of Silent Hill fans take umbrage with the considerable changes made to the adaptation of the original game, particularly the characters, but you can’t deny that it absolutely nails the visuals.
The production design, set-pieces, and overall atmosphere are creepy as hell and the game’s famous monsters are wonderfully disturbing, with effects that still hold up well today. It also has the added touch of including music from the actual game, making it all the more immersive.
The story, while already familiar territory to Silent Hill fans, still makes for a great slow-paced psychological horror, with gradually mounting tension that builds up to some truly chilling scares.
Resident Evil: Damnation
The infamously bad Resident Evil movies starring Milla Jovovich have been eternally roasted as some of the worst video game movies ever made, but some might not know that there are animated films in the franchise that make considerably better Resi movies.
Resident Evil: Damnation is the third of the CGI animated films and arguably the best of the lot in terms of story, as well as being a set up for the events of Resi 6.
The movie also has some familiar faces, like Leon and Ada Wong, as well as some fan-favorite monsters. But more than that, the characters are actually well written and feel like the same people we got to know in the games.
Yo-kai Watch: The Movie
Since the first game released on the 3DS, the Yo-kai Watch franchise has spread to include anime, toys, and even movies.
The first movie, while popular in Japan, had an incredibly limited release in the US, making it a pretty niche movie and not something you’d just stumble upon until it came to Netflix in 2016.
However, for dedicated Yo-kai Watch fans, the movie’s well-loved for its true representation of the games and for keeping the same humor of both the games and anime.
It remains one of the most highly rated video game movies on Rotten Tomatoes at 80% and the sequel even managed to outrank Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Japanese box office on its opening weekend.