games / Columns

The Top 8 Video Games Based on Anime

May 3, 2023 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle Image Credit: Koei Tecmo Games

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about video games, specifically ones that are based on anime. While a lot of games might be anime inspired or have an anime look, most of them are wholly original properties. This list is to detail games that are strictly based on anime, but I haven’t played every anime game ever. So while I’m sure Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise or the Fairy Tale game are good, I just haven’t played them. Programming note: Also, I’ll be taking a small break I the next few weeks, I’m getting some surgery done so I’ll be a bit MIA. Let’s begin:

#8: Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

As a core concept, having an action/fighting game going through all the various DBZ storylines from the series and playing all the big moments. In practice though, it’s pretty lacking. The core fighting system is “alright”, but because they make you fight endless amounts of peons to level up your characters, it just grows to be monotonous after a while. Or doing side quests is neat for other people but they all just kind of break down into a few categories. Also, while the game does introduce a pretty intriguing new character with Bonyu, it does literally NOTHING with her, since you’re basically just fighting her data ghosts on occasion. Compared to another game on this list, Kakarot is serviceable enough but just not that much fun to play.

#7: Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle

I did reasonably enjoy my time with Titan 2: Final Battle but there is a “but” here. I played/reviewed it on the Switch which is not exactly the ideal platform for this type of game. The game itself is kind of an action game but an almost inverse of Spider-Man since you’re not swinging in the air but you are using the ground to push off and gain momentum. The Switch just could not handle this well, so the sense of speed and maneuverability was a bit hampered. Still, the combat was decent and even though I know nothing about the actual property, I could still follow along well enough.

#6: Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation

Ultimate Muscle is one of the last of the “traditional” Aki wrestling games, alongside the first few Def Jam wrestling games. While Ultimate Muscle is generally a wrestling games, it’s still an anime one, so characters can jump in the air, do crazy moves and it has a lot of screaming voices that happen during the matches. The ultimate attacks are on the level of the insta-kill moves from Guilty Gear, sicne it becomes an almost full-on anime sequence when the move happens. The GameCube version is the superior one to have, even with the high price. It was ported to the PS2 and lost some of the cel-shaded charm the game had.

#5: One Piece Unlimited World Red

I know there’s a newer, and likely better, One Piece game out there with Odyssey but I haven’t played that one. I guess I just dig Unlimited World Red because it feels fun to play. The actual combat stages are decent because each member of the crew that you unlock has their own drastically different play style. But even just the “adventure” stuff is fun, since you can zip around the town with Luffy’s stretching arms, and trying to fulfill the various townspeople’s requests and such. The game might not have aged that well in the decade that it has been out but I still have a lot of fond memories of playing the game.

#4: Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth

I really did enjoy this game, despite the stupid title. Lodoss is a Metroidvania game but with shades of Ikaruga gameplay. You have a fire and air elemental side and can switch between them at any time. Fire attacks work well against air enemies and vice versa, while fire enemy attacks will restore your mana if you have fire equipped. I honestly couldn’t follow along that closely with this, from an anime/story perspective, but the gameplay was what interested me the most. While it doesn’t have SOTN’s expansive gear system, there was still plenty of stuff to find in the game world to customize my character.

#3: Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage

I have no idea how/why I rented this game, back in the day. It was probably due to me reading a positive review of it and my local Mammoth Video having a copy. Guts’ Rage was an action platform game, in the same vein as Ninja Gaiden or God of War. Like with Lodoss, the story kind of went over my head in spots but basically Guts and his menagerie come across a town being attacked by monsters and they are tasked with stopping it. The really nice thing about the game is that Guts has real weight to him. When you have your sword out and are swinging it around, it just feels right and hefty and most of the small monsters just die in one or two slashes.

#2: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja

I have a very vivid memory of playing this game in 2004, on a friend’s modded PS2. Considering it was all in Japanese I knew nothing about the story but the core fighting system was/and still is simple but effective. You basically have one attack button, a jump, an evade button and a button to charge up your Jutsu/enter a Jutsu state. When in the state, when you attack the enemy, then you break out into a mini-game where you have to enter in a button combination for more damage, while they can enter their own to reduce damage. It’s not really a traditional fighting game with tons of combos/special attacks to memorize, it’s more like a more balanced version of Smash Bros, but man is it a ton of fun. Once the game came out in America, I eagerly snagged a copy and have enjoyed it ever since.

#1: Dragon Ball FighterZ

This is a game with another stupid title but it is the king of the anime games. Nothing else even comes close. There are other good anime games sure, many of them are on this list, but no anime game has this much crossover appeal or to make as big an impact as FighterZ. What’s great, in addition to it being a fantastic fighting game, is that it is a real love letter to DBZ/DBS in general. You wouldn’t think a character like Yamcha or Nappa would be in a fighting game but here you are. Everyone has their signature moves also, like Krillin’s Destructo Disk or Ginyu’s bodyswap ability. The game has also been well supported, it originally launched with about 20 characters but that has shot up to about 40 with DLC. It really is the best use and venue for Dragon Ball Z to take place.

For comments, list your favorite video games based on anime and why.

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Tekken 8, Marc Morrison