10 licensed games that are really good


With infamous titles such as AND the extra-terrestrial (Atari 2600), Superman 64, Batman: Dark Tomorrow, and Aliens: Colonial Marines, it’s no surprise that the term “licensed game” generally carries a negative connotation in the gaming industry. Considering that many corporate executives have viewed games as just another “toy” to generate revenue for a brand, developers often don’t have the time and money to create a decent product.

But, there are also plenty of amazing licensed games that prove that these titles can be more than just money ties. As the industry continues to grow, some games, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, even increase the popularity of certain brands.

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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4


Hermione, Ron and Harry in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Since the early 2000s, the LEGO building toy brand has had many games blending their own brand with other licensed media. One of these games is the 2010 action-adventure title LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, which follows the plot of the first four Harry Potter books and movies. Similar to other LEGO games, players control LEGO Harry Potter action figures as they explore a wizarding world inspired by LEGO pieces, solve puzzles and find various collectibles.

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Unlike other LEGO games, players can learn multiple spells and potions, which can be used to solve puzzles and gain access to new areas. With other titles like LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO games are loved for their unique aesthetics and creative gameplay elements.


Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


A screenshot from the game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Created by Monolith Productions, who are best known for the Blood, no one lives forever, and FEAR franchise, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an award-winning 2014 action-adventure game set in a non-canonical alternate continuity within the setting of JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth. After his wife and son are ritually sacrificed by Sauron’s Dark Hand, the main character, a Godorian Ranger named Talion, is revived by merging with an amnesiac specter.

This specter is ultimately revealed to be the elven lord Celebrimbor, whose wife and child were also slain by Sauron. To avenge their families, the two embarked on a journey to defeat the Dark Hand. The game is best known for the Nemesis system, which allows NPCs to remember and react to player actions.


The Pro Skater from Tony Hawk 2


A screenshot from the game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

While most licensed games have a bad reputation, the one area that has always done well is licensed sports games. A major example is the by Tony Hawk skateboard series, which was one of the best-selling game franchises of the early 2000s. Even all these years later, however, the 2000 PS1 installment Tony Hawkit is Professional Skating 2 is considered not only one of the best in the series, but one of the best games of all time.

In 3D urban environments, players control skateboarders as they attempt tricks, complete objectives and collect items. With titles like FIFA Soccer 10, Madden NFL 2003, and WWE SmackDown! Here comes the pain, Sports games have long been among the best licensed titles.


Telltale’s The Walking Dead Series


Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1 Art

Based on The Walking Dead comic book series, Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an episodic graphic adventure series that ran for four main seasons between 2012 and 2019. Set in an apocalyptic version of a pandemic-ridden America that turns people into zombie-like creatures called “walkers”, the game follows a young girl named Clementine as she encounters various characters and tries to survive.

After the tragic death of her guardian in season one, Lee Everett, she is left on her own and adopts a young boy named AJ, which fuels the plot for later seasons. With other Telltale franchises such as The wolf among us the company is largely responsible for the resurgence in popularity of adventure games.


Marvel’s Spiderman


Marvel's Spider-Man Every Villain Peter Fought Before The Spider-Man Shooting Web Game

Created by Insomniac Games, also known for creating the Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank franchise, Marvel’s Spiderman is a 2018 award-winning PS4 action-adventure game based on the Spider Man multimedia franchise. Taking elements from the comics and its various adaptations, the game’s main plot follows the titular superhero Spider-Man as he attempts to stop Mister Negative and other villains from using a bio-weapon called Devil’s breath.

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Due to the game’s interesting plot, excellent characterization, satisfying combat, and smooth web, Marvel’s Spiderman is considered one of the best superhero games ever made. Of all the others Spider Man titles, it’s the first game to surpass the beloved 2000 PS1 Spider Man, which was created by Neversoft who also created the by Tony Hawk series.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt New DLC 2022 Next Gen Upgrade Netflix Show Henry Cavill Items

Although CD Projekt Red didn’t quite live up to expectations with the licensed title Cyberpunk 2077their previous major title, 2015’s action RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is often considered one of the greatest games ever made. Based on the fantasy novel series the witcher Written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the game follows the titular witcher, Geralt of Rivia, as he searches for his adopted daughter, Ciri, who flees the Wild Hunt.

Along with having gorgeous graphics that still hold up years later, the game has an incredibly deep world filled with characters that feel alive and choices that matter. Depending on the player’s actions, subplots can end in many ways, and the main plot has multiple endings.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


A group of Jedi enter battle in Knights of the Old Republic

Created by Canadian game developer BioWare, which is also known for other WRPG/CRPG franchises such as Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a 2003 RPG set 4,000 years before the star wars movies. The game follows a custom amnesiac protagonist who must explore the galaxy, gather allies, and defeat Darth Malak.

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Considered one of the greatest games ever made, the game is known for its detailed world, excellent soundtrack, and shocking twist. Additionally, depending on the player’s actions and choices, they will either end up on the side of the Jedi or the Sith, which affects the ending.

Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn


A screenshot from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Speaking of BioWare, another critically acclaimed and award-winning licensed WRPG is PC game 2000 Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Located within the official J&D campaign setting called the Forgotten Realms and directly after the events of the 1998 original Baldur’s Gatethis episode continues the quest for the custom protagonist, the ward of the mage Gorion, as they attempt to defeat an evil wizard named Irenicus.

As the player explores the land of Amn and fights enemies in real time from an isometric view, he can also recruit multiple party members, but only five can be in the party at a time. the Baldur’s Gate the series is just one of many excellent licenses J&D titles, which includes Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.

Batman: Arkham City


Batman perched on a roof in black and white promotional art for Arkham City

Although there have been many excellent licensed comic book superhero games such as the Injustice, X-Men Legends, and Marvel vs. Capcom franchisees, the Batman: Arkham is probably one of the most influential franchises in gaming history, and the action-adventure title of 2011 Batman: Arkham City is arguably the leading example. Based on Batman comics mythos, this second opus follows Batman after his incarceration in the super-prison of Arkham City.

Written by Paul Dini, who also created the beloved Batman: The Animated Series, the impactful story centers on Batman traversing the Great Prison in order to save himself and the rest of Gotham from Joker’s infected blood. This game’s revolutionary combat system has since been used in many other superhero and non-superhero games.


GoldenEye 007


James Bond about to jump from the dam at the end of the first level of the game N64 GoldenEye 007

Another licensed game that is also historically significant is the 1997 award-winning N64 first-person shooter. GoldenEye 007, which is based on 1995 james bond film Golden eye. Developed by Rare, also known for franchises such as Donkey Kong, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and battle toads, the game follows Bond as he attempts to stop an armed satellite known as the GoldenEye.

Besides the single-player mode which largely follows the plot of the movie, the game is known to have a killer multiplayer mode. Furthermore, the game pioneered the modern first-person shooter and showed that the genre could thrive on consoles.

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