The Best Video Game Adaptations You Can Stream Right Now

The Best Video Game Adaptations You Can Stream Right Now

Characters from the Arcane series jump through the air.

Picture: Riot Games/Netflix

Have you ever turned off your PC, or your PS5, or whatever, after hours of rainbow lights and eyebrow sweat and thinking, “Ugh, I really wish I could do this some more , except a little differently and on the streaming service of my choice”? You do? As it is a coincidence. I’ve put together a list of all the great video game adaptations – the good ones, the bad ones, and the only OK ones – currently streaming for free.

I wish this list had been weighted toward “good,” but the state of video game adaptations is a sad and sick puppy. Newer, shrewder, and emotive shows like Castlevania and Arcane (both of which make the “best” part of this list) seem to be slowly adding games to the prestige-adjacent mixing bowl, but the vintage duds and flaccid presence of Tom Holland cannot be ignored. Here is a bit of everything. Popcorn not included.

The best of the best


In a nutshell: Netflix’s adaptation of Konami’s gothic action-adventure series Castlevania brought Count Vlad Dracula Țepeș to pain in the Romanian region of Wallachia after he wronged his wife. Square-jawed hero Trevor Belmont has a problem with that.

What it scored: 94% on Rotten Tomatoes

Release date: July 7, 2017

Streaming on: Netflix

Dota: Dragon’s Blood

In a nutshell: Another anime adaptation from Netflix, this time of Valve’s multiplayer online battle arena Dota 2. War-worn Dragon Knight Davion shares soul and power with the slightly evil dragon Slyrak. whom he found dying. It may be to his detriment.

What he scored: 75% on Rotten Tomatoes

Release date: March 25, 2021

Streaming on: Netflix


In a nutshell: Riot Games’ collaboration with French animation studio Fortiche (of which it also has a non-majority stake) is inspired by its MOBA League of Legends. Violet protects her trigger-loving sister Powder as much as she can while navigating a class conflict between the seedy town of Zaun and the glittering Piltover. It is also distributed by Netflix. This post is not sponsored by Netflix.

What he scored: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

Release date: November 6, 2021

Streaming on: Netflix


In a nutshell: this live-action television series based on Halo, Bungie’s first-person shooter franchise, is produced by Steven Spielberg and made for Paramount+. Commitment, a devoted alien alliance, wants to end humanity. Wrapped in green armor and born to fight back, super soldier Master Chief won’t let him.

What he scored: 70% on Rotten Tomatoes

Release date: March 24, 2022

Broadcast on: Paramount+

The Cuphead Show!

In a nutshell: The aptly titled The Cuphead Show! is Netflix’s animated version of the run-and-gun game Cuphead. Cuphead and Mugman – their heads are a cup and mug respectively – have fun in Inkwell Isles while the devil tries and fails to take Cuphead’s soul. There are musical numbers.

What he scored: 69% on Rotten Tomatoes

Release date: February 18, 2022

Streaming on: Netflix

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a

In a nutshell: PlatinumGames’ upcoming Nier: Automata action role-playing anime will feature android battle 2b fight the invading aliens on behalf of humanity.

What he scored: 4.8 out of 5 on Crunchyroll.

Release date: January 7, 2023

Aired on: Crunchyroll

The last of us

In a nutshell: The soon-to-be-released HBO drama brought to you by Naughty Dog’s zombie-infested survival horror franchise, The Last of Us, has already caused quite the buzz. Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, smuggles 14-year-old Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, through the destroyed United States.

What he scored: TBD

Release date: January 15, 2023

Broadcast on: HBO Max

success or failure

Mega Man: Fully Charged

In a nutshell: This brightly colored take on Capcom’s Mega Man sci-fi franchise is an adaptation aimed at kids. Robot boy Aki Light defends Silicon City from evil robots. He also has a robot sidekick named Mega Mini and a robot dog. And it’s a robot.

What it scored: 3.5 out of 5 on Google Reviews

Release date: August 5, 2018

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Legends of Mortal Kombat: Revenge of the Scorpion

In a word: Warner Bros.’ The animated film based on the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise is perhaps a straight-to-DVD sleeper hit. Ninja Hanzo Hasashi, or Scorpion, kills a group of people in the intergalactic Mortal Kombat tournament, hoping to avenge his family.

What it scored: 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, 3.4 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: April 14, 2020

Broadcast on: HBO Max

The Legend of Zelda

In a nutshell: An early entry, the 1989 animated series follows Link and Princess Zelda, the cherubic protagonists of the fantastic The Legend of Zelda franchise. They must protect Hyrule from Ganon, a warthog-like wizard who wears a pretty purple cap.

What it scored: six out of ten on IMDB

Release date: September 8, 1989

Streaming on: Amazon Freevee, The Roku Channel, Tubi


In a nutshell: Naughty Dog’s action-adventure game gets the Tom Holland treatment in this Sony blockbuster. Nathan Drake (Holland), with the help of Sully (Mark Wahlberg,) finds his missing brother and the supposed treasure of Ferdinand Magellan.

What it scored: 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, 2.8 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: February 18, 2022

Streaming on: Netflix

For more background noise, check out Sonic Prime (Netflix), Injustice (HBO Max, Amazon Prime), or Rabbids Invasion (Netflix).

…and the worst

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

In a nutshell: Angelina Jolie plays Lara Croft, the tank top, mud-splattered archaeologist who defines (initially) Square Enix’s Tomb Raider franchise. Croft must stop the Illuminati from using an ancient artifact to ruin the world. There are time travel and puzzles.

What it scored: 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, 2.6 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: June 11, 2001

Broadcast on: HBO Max

resident Evil

In a nutshell: Director Paul WS Anderson, who is also behind the lukewarm adaptations Mortal Kombat (1995) and Monster Hunter (2020), is taking over the survival horror franchise Resident Evil. Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up with amnesia. She must take down the Umbrella Corporation while her nefarious biological experiments turn people into zombies.

What it scored: 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, 2.9 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: March 12, 2002

Streaming on: Netflix

Hitman: Agent 47

In a nutshell: Genetically altered (he’s still bald, though), Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is an uncompromising assassin. He helps Katia van Dees (Hannah Ware) find her father, who coincidentally made him a super killer.

What it scored: 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, 2.1 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: August 21, 2015

Streaming on: Hulu

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

In a nutshell: a Street Fighter spin-off, produced in part by publisher Capcom, features Chun-Li (Kristen Kreuk) as she tries to defeat evil crime boss M. Bison (Neal McDonough) after he kidnapped his father. An ancient Chinese scroll helps him enter Street Fighter mode.

What it scored: 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, 1.4 out of 5 on Letterboxd

Release date: February 27, 2009

Streaming on: HBO Max, Hulu with HBO Max add-on

To encourage your brain to pop out of your ears, also consider watching Warcraft (fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV), Max Payne (HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime with HBO add-on), Silent Hill (Hulu), or Silent Hill: Revelation (HBO Max)

What’s your favorite video game adaptation? Does the perfect fit exist?


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