The anime industry is huge in Japan, and is closely tied to both the manga and game industries there. Lots of popular anime are adapted from manga series, and eventually, those series get some video game counterparts as well. While not as big over here, the market for these kinds of games is still absolutely huge, and fans have seen plenty of different titles over the years – some of them good, and some not all that great.
It’s easy to see when an anime game is a cash grab. Technically they all are, sure, but some are especially poorly made, feeling rushed and void of any notable content. On the flip side, there are some very good titles that exemplify the best qualities of their given series. Taking the good with the bad, here are five of each.
10 Best: Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan has become a phenomenon in the anime world. It’s an unforgiving show that constantly manages to throw the viewer for a loop with its narrative, character interactions and character deaths.
The Attack on Titan game mixes in standard musou game elements along with Vertical Maneuvering Equipment that will not only please fans of the series, but players looking for something a little unorthodox as well. Taking down Titans feels like an achievement and there’s some strategizing that has to go on in order to get that done.
9 Disappointed: One Piece: Pirates' Carnival
While incredibly popular and iconic, the One Piece series doesn’t have that many great games based on it. Many of the earlier game titles especially, seemed weak when compared to what other popular series like Dragon Ball and Naruto were getting.
Released for the GameCube and the PS2 in 2005, Pirates’ Carnival is a mess of a game that even the most hardcore, content-deprived fan would have trouble enjoying. Done in the style of a Mario Party game, Pirates’ Carnival is a frustrating title, because there are some interesting concepts in there but they were just executed very poorly.
8 Best: Yu-Gi-Oh Forbidden Memories
There have been plenty of Yu-Gi-Oh games released over the years, and while the real-life game is the superior experience in most cases, Forbidden Memories is something that all fans can enjoy. Released in 2002 for the PS1, Forbidden Memories packs in all the fun of the card game with an engaging narrative.
The game offers up a pretty decent challenge. It makes the task of putting your deck together all the more important, and something you can feel proud of once you’re able to advance through the story because of it.
7 Disappointed: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time
Little Witch Academia is one of the more noteworthy anime produced by Studio Trigger. The coming of age series is notable for its artwork and coloring, something that Chamber of Time gets down. If it was solely based on the artwork and atmosphere, this game would have been a perfect 10.
Sadly, that’s not all people look at when playing a game. Though it looks amazing, Chamber of Time just isn’t all that fun to play. Gameplay is boring and generic. It offers none of the whimsical elements that made the show so popular, and just feels like a generic action RPG with Little Witch Academia skins.
6 Best: Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3
There have been plenty of Dragon Ball fighting games to come out over the years. Only a few though have left strong impressions on fans. When it comes to Dragon Ball games, Budokai 3 is considered by many as the Holy Grail.
Budokai 3 has it all. A great roster, fluid combat, and a good amount of customization as well. It lets you revisit your favorite moments from the show and there’s plenty to find in the overworld. While not offering the most in-depth exploration, it’s a nice touch.
5 Disappointed: Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
The Gundam franchise is so old, you’d expect there to be a few blemishes here and there. That applies with both the anime series as well as the games based off of it. The PS3 launch title Crossfire, comes to mind when talking about mediocre Gundam games.
The game should’ve been good, at least based off of its description. But despite employing the right concepts, the game failed to deliver. That’s because technical issues made it hard for even the most devout fans to consistently enjoy.
4 Best: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
When it comes to Naruto games, one thing that should be prioritized is fluid, fast-paced combat. While some have struggled to deliver this experience to fans, others have made their name off of it.
Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is constantly brought up among the best Naruto games ever made. With a heavy focus on combat, the game cut out the unnecessary bits found in its predecessors. With both the narrative and combat being so top notch, this is not only one of the best Naruto games you can pick up, but a truly exceptional anime game as well.
3 Disappointed: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
You’d think that a franchise that’s main backdrop is – more often than not – some sort of gaming world, would have better video game adaptations. But that hasn’t been the case for the majority of SAO games. Among them, Hollow Fragment has to be the worst offender.
The game is actually pretty fun. The gameplay isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s solid. The story and character interactions are something that fans of the series would absolutely love. What makes this so bad is its localization. It feels as though the team behind the English version put the original script through an online translator. That or English wasn’t their first language. Either way, it’s too bad to ignore.
2 Best: Dragon Ball FighterZ
You’d be hard pressed to find a Dragon Ball game as hyped up as FighterZ was in the time leading up to its release. The manga inspired cel shaded art was just the tip of the iceberg. As soon as Arc System Works’ name was tied to the project, fans got hyped up. Over a year later, the game has proven itself as one of the best fighting games on the market.
The game is something that fans can easily pick-up and enjoy, but it will take some practice to get acquainted with various characters and play styles. It’s an incredibly deep fighter that overshadows nearly every Dragon Ball predecessor.
1 Disappointed: J-Stars Victory Vs
With Jump Force struggling following a pretty hyped up development cycle, it may seem like the easy choice for most disappointing anime video game. But there’s a title that predated it that works on a similar concept, and actually manages to be even worse.
J-Stars is essentially Jump Force with an older coat of paint. The game featured a ton of Shounen Jump characters but ultimately failed to live up to expectations, thanks to bland and underwhelming gameplay. With so many characters, you’d expect each to have their own unique style. Instead, fans were given a glorified button masher where every character felt more or less the same.