10 TV shows based on video games, ranked according to critics – Insider

Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change. 
Rotten Tomatoes score: 40%
Synopsis: Released the same month as another Sonic cartoon, “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog,” in 1993, “Sonic the Hedgehog” took the popular video-game character in a darker, more serious direction. In this Saturday-morning show, Sonic is a member of a band of freedom fighters battling to overthrow Dr. Robotnik, an industrialist who has taken control of and polluted the planet. 
Despite developing a loyal viewership, “Sonic the Hedgehog” proved a relatively short-lived series, running for two seasons before ABC canceled it. 
“It’s one of the better ’90s series that still kind of holds up today,” said Collider’s Dave Trumbore in his review. “Good storytelling, really solid animation, voicework by a bunch of veterans. Not that many episodes so that you feel like, ‘oh boy, catching up on 65 of these is going to be a chore.’ Two seasons and 26 episodes. Pretty easily consumed. Go check this one out.” 
Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%
Synopsis: Taking place in 2006, two years after the events in the video game “Resident Evil 4,” “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” follows Leon Kennedy (Nick Apostolides) as he investigates a security breach in the White House, which is under siege by zombies.
Meanwhile, Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello) learns of a T-virus outbreak in Penamstan, a fictional country recovering from civil war. 
Leon and Claire team up to uncover criminal plots among the White House staff and ultimately, work to stop the T-virus from spreading across the planet.  
“It’s not a crucial part of the ongoing storyline, since the games are doing a totally different thing now, and it’s not going to establish any useful context for the future of the movies,” wrote The A.V. Club’s Sam Barsanti, who gave the show a C+ grade. “But freeing itself from those expectations has resulted in a TV show that, while far from a masterpiece, exceeds most expectations of a video game adaptation.”
Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%
Synopsis: This Netflix adaptation jumps back and forth in time, covering the lives of fraternal twins Jade (Tamara Smart, Ella Balinska) and Billie Wesker (Siena Agudong, Adeline Rudolph), the daughters of Umbrella Corporation scientist Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick).
In the past, Jade and Billie have to deal with the trappings of adolescence as they settle into New Raccoon City before a zombie outbreak upends their lives.
In 2036, a grown-up Jade is studying zombies with the goal of trying to tame or cure them. 
“Resident Evil” proved short-lived and flawed, getting the axe after just one season. Critics criticized the show for serving up a confusing hodgepodge of themes and genres because of its time-jumping structure, alternating between mediocre coming-of-age drama and gory action. 
“Consider this another failed Umbrella experiment,” concluded Brian Tallerico for RogerEbert.com. 
Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%
Synopsis: The highly-awaited Paramount+ series was inspired by the Xbox game franchise, chronicling Spartan supersoldier Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) in the year 2552 as humanity battles the Covenant, a coalition of alien races.
After he discovers a mysterious alien artifact, Master Chief’s lost memories begin to resurface, complicating matters for his mad scientist of a boss, Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natasha McElhone). 
“Halo” was a long-gestating project, announced for development in 2013. The series started production in October 2019, but saw production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The end result is a visual show with compelling battles but a messy plot. 
“We’ve never really seen the Master Chief meaningfully tangle with what he is or what he was created to do, and we’ve definitely never seen him as a man with desires,” wrote The Verge’s Ash Parris. “The ‘Halo’ writers tried to give us those new perspectives in a clumsily-executed but earnest fashion. They took big risks playing around with one of the most beloved franchises in video game history, and I appreciated their unsuccessful attempt to do something different more than I would have a successful attempt at something easy.”  
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
Synopsis: “The Witcher” follows Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a brooding monster hunter whose fate is intertwined with Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) and Ciri (Freya Allan), the crown princess of Cintra.
While season one featured bouts of random nudity and a “monster of the week” format, the show’s second season was more focused on its storytelling, emphasizing serialized story arcs. 
And while Cavill’s departure from the show means the forthcoming third season will be his last, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich promised Cavill would receive “the most heroic sendoff” before he is replaced by Liam Hemsworth. 
“‘The Witcher’ is not particularly trying to plumb the darkest corners of the human experience,” wrote Angie Han of The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s having too much fun whipping out cool video game-y action or unveiling new species of expensive VFX monsters to take itself quite that seriously. But there is something movingly human in Geralt’s protectiveness of a kid who looks up to him, Yennefer’s existential crisis after a serious blow to her self-identity, or the elves’ struggle to carve out a future in a world that feels hostile to them.” 
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Synopsis: Based on the video game of the same name, “Dragon’s Dogma” centers on Ethan (Greg Chun), who lives a peaceful life in the village of Cassardis with his family. 
But when a dragon (David Lodge) destroys Cassardis, slaughters everyone in the town, and rips out his heart, Ethan is resurrected by a mystical pawn he names Hannah (Erica Mendez).
Ethan and Hannah set out together to defeat the dragon that shattered Ethan’s world. 
“Netflix’s beautifully animated Dragon’s Dogma anime manages to capture the thrill of the game’s epic battles and the dark fantasy of its setting with added character development, but misses out on the scope of the world with a meandering and predictable metaphor that addresses each of the seven deadly sins in a way that feels obligatory by the end,” wrote David Jagneaux of IGN.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Synopsis: Based on the video game franchise of the same name, “Castlevania” follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), Alucard (James Callis), and Sypha Belnades (Alejandro Reynoso), as they save the country of Wallachia from an army of demons controlled by Dracula, who is terribly bitter after his human wife is burned at the stake.
Lauded for a horror-filled plot and top-notch animation inspired by Japanese anime like “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell,” critics lamented the show’s conclusion. 
“Through a stellar balance of action and feeling, ‘Castlevania’ became something special among video game adaptations, and Season 4 is absolutely no different,” wrote CBR’s Liam Nolan of the show’s final season. “The series manages to stick the landing and provide a satisfying conclusion to an unlikely hit for Netflix.” 
Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Synopsis: HBO’s faithful adaptation of the bestselling video game is a relatively faithful one, chronicling Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) cross-country mission across the US, which has been ravaged by the cordyceps fungus, transforming humans into deadly, infectious mutants.
Joel must deliver Ellie, who is immune from cordyceps, to a militia group so they can ultimately find a cure. 
The series has been largely well-received by critics, although notably, Insider’s Kirsten Acuna found the first season “heavily lacking in the dead, thrills, and scares that made the game memorable.”
“Other than the first half of the pilot and the series’ third episode, most of ‘The Last of Us’ slogs along with a few great moments here or there,” Acuna wrote. “Nothing else. Much of the series is pretty dull for an apocalyptic thriller, which shouldn’t be the case for a show involving a pair traversing a country full of the undead.”
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Synopsis: This homage to the world of “Cyberpunk 2077” follows David Martinez (Kenichiro Ohashi), a street kid in Night City who discovers a cybernetic implant known as a Sandevistan among his dead mother’s belongings and becomes a black market mercenary known as an “edgerunner.” 
Critics universally praised “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” for its engaging plot, fully realized world, and visual style.  
“Its narrative is even more engaging than the original game in certain respects, with a protagonist it’s easy to get behind and root for,” wrote Brittany Vincent of Decider. It’s rife with stylistic decisions that keep it 1:1 with its source material, from the language to the in-game call system, colors and fonts included. The animation is gorgeous, dynamic, and colorful, just as in-your-face as Night City should be.”
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Synopsis: Based on the game “League of Legends,” “Arcane: League of Legends”  revolves around two sets of characters.
On the streets of Zaun, Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) and Powder (Ella Purnell) grow up together as sisters orphaned by war who find themselves caught up in a heist gone awry and eventually, a gang war.
In the prosperous city of Piltover, meanwhile, Jayce (Kevin Alejandro) and Victor (Harry Lloyd) are scientists who develop Hextech, an invention that harnesses magic through science and becomes a weapon of war. 
As the show’s first season progresses, magic and science collide to terrifying results, thanks to some impressive animation that combines 3D elements with 2D shading. 
“So beautiful and intricately detailed are these visuals that they’re liable to distract you from the movements of the plot,” wrote Time’s Judy Berman. “But is that such a bad thing?”
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