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The Best Franchise Tie-In Games

It’s not uncommon to hear that tie-in products for films and TV shows don’t tend to be very good. There are a plethora of reasons why people feel this way. Generally, it’s because the tie-in products fail to capture the magic of the property they’re based on, or more often because they’re a just cheap cash grab. However, while there is certainly some merit to this idea, I honestly believe that for the most part franchise tie-in games can actually be quite good.

Often when we think of tie-in games our minds typically go to the more lambasted titles. These are often reported as the worst games of their generation, and in some cases, of all time. Case in point: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. However, my issue is that generally when talking about tie-ins we limit ourselves to just movies. That’s part of why I’m writing this article because I not only want to show that some franchise tie-in games can be really good but also broaden horizons by shining a light on tie-ins from mediums such as television and anime.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid

Fighting games have always been something that I have tried but never become completely obsessed with. Don’t get me wrong, I still love playing Super Smash Bros where I choose to play as Young Link, and I even main Eddy Gordo back whenever I play Tekken. However, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is something special.

Not only is it based on the quite frankly fantastic Shattered Grid storyline from the comics, but it is also a fairly accessible fighting game. Despite not having played many fighting games outside of Super Smash Bros in quite some time, I decided to pick this up as I really love the Power Rangers franchise and thought it looked quite fun.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when I started it. I enjoyed the slow but steady rise in difficulty throughout the incredibly fun campaign as well as the number of characters that you can choose from. They recently added a fourth character pack which just further improves the startling amount of content available.

The relatively easy difficulty level for beginners meant that I could still enjoy it despite being a little rusty. And, the better I got, the harder it became ensuring it always evened out in terms of challenge. As a result, I found myself loving every second of it. It is a phenomenal franchise tie-in game that I would definitely say it’s required playing for not just Power Rangers fans but for fans of fighting games too.

Cobra Kai

Growing up some of my favourite movies, and even tv shows, have been focused on martial arts. Among my favourites in the genre were the Karate Kid movies. Watching Mr Miyagi teach Daniel Larusso to become not only a better fighter but person, and then to see that culminate in a compelling and riveting fight against his rival Johnny Lawrence is something I will always treasure. That is why I was excited when it was announced that were we getting a tv show that would not only follow on from the events seen in the films but that it would be told from Johnny’s perspective. Seriously, if you haven’t watched it go and do so now.

When it came to the game being announced I was, unlike the previous entry, rather apprehensive at first. I questioned whether it would be good and feared that it would be just another fighting game. However, I was surprised when it was announced that it would not be a fighting game, but instead a brawler akin to the Streets of Rage series. In my opinion, the choice of genre was honestly a stroke of genius.

Franchise Tie-In - Cobra Kai
In-game Screenshot

Of course, despite the more realistic fighting style of both the show and films, the video game adaptation allows you to use different powers such as fire and ice attacks. Additionally, they offer a huge amount of content by giving you two campaigns to play through. These include playing as of course Miyagi-Do or Cobra Kai.

Not only that but that game can also be played in couch co-op with a friend which I had a great time taking full advantage of. Even William Zabka and Ralph Macchio return to voice their characters, which adds a nice touch for the fans and some compelling voice acting too. I honestly feel that the game is an absolute blast to play. It is an endearing love letter to the brawlers of yesteryear and a perfect franchise tie-in game.

Fairy Tail

I’ve written before on the site about my love of anime and manga. I do think that as mainstream as it is, it’s an underappreciated art form. In my opinion, some of the best stories have come from anime. Many people may see the art styles and tropes of certain shows and discount the whole art form as being for children. However, what they fail to see are the incredible shows that explore important themes such as family, mental health and so much more.

Among my most favourite anime is Fairy Tail. The animation, as well as its narraive pacing, is truly incredible, and the voice acting is absolutely superb. I had always wanted a video game adaptation of the series and assumed due to the sheer size of some of the show’s arcs, such as the Grand Magic Games arc, that it would. Preferably they would make a Fairy Tail game in the style of JRPG’s such as the Tales series.

There has of course been a number of Fairy Tail games made in the past. However, none of them have been made in quite the same way as the most recent – and topic of today’s article – adaptation. It is a deep and engaging RPG that offers a unique take on the traditional systems found in JRPGs of old. It never outstays its welcome which is something that I think the franchise has been sorely missing. What also impressed me was how well it performs on the Nintendo Switch. There are very few noticeable changes between docked and handheld mode which came as a pleasant surprise.

Covering a number of arcs, including Tenrou Island, the aforementioned Grand Magic Games, Tartaros and Avatar arcs, the game takes you on a 30-plus hour journey (of course extended with a number of DLC packs). You play as the different members of the Fairy Tail guild and complete different contracts to raise the rank of the guild. Weaving that around the arcs adapted, the developer Gust has created an engaging RPG that not only will fans of the source material see as a satisfying franchise tie-in product, but that general JRPG fans will love taking a bite out of too.