The Best Anime-Based Video Games of All-Time

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Anime games have been a solid staple in the gaming world, especially when it comes to RPG and fighting games. From mobile games like Genshin Impact to fighting games like DNF Duel, these games have helped define the genre. The definition of an anime game was even debated here at CGMagazine. Prefacing what this article will be going forward, this will be a list of the best anime-based video games of all-time that got fans more excited about the anime community.

Many anime-based video games were considered, including ones that withstood the test of time. You’ll also find games that have either innovated new concepts for the genre or even tread their own paths to undiscovered concepts in anime-based games. We believe these anime-based video games have been notable enough, and fans continue to revisit them to this day.

Here are the Best Anime-Based Video Games of All-Time:

Fate/Grand Order & Fate/EXTELLA

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The Fate/stay night anime series has had an ever-growing fan base with many sequels and spin-off series. If that alone doesn’t make it one of the best anime-based video games, the series has told magical stories of historical heroes and demigods across time—duking it out in magical wars in different time periods.

Fans have regarded Fate/EXTELLA to have S-tier waifus, along with daddy Gilgamesh, offering really fun gameplay—on top of solid visuals. The hack-and-slash mechanics were very Dynasty Warriors-like, but the challenge to execute the most satisfying attacks was well-rewarded. The main story chapters were broken up into about half an hour chunks, making it a great single-player to easily pick up and come back to later. And let us not forget, the wonderful Sailor Moon-style transformations for each Servant felt very fulfilling—as they got new costumes and more extravagant attacks.

Fate/Grand Order was regarded as the best mobile game for the anime-based video game series with its excellent storytelling and addictive, yet challenging, gacha system—it was one of the games that defined the gacha system in mobile games. I know many criticized the system for having poor rates to snag SSR Servants, but the grind had its anticipatory moments. The story writing became better over time, particularly when the Camelot singularity was introduced. This game was a real treat for Fate fans as it had a long list of characters from the anime series, all with their original voice actors.

Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

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Sword Art Online had separated itself from the pack of anime fantasies that came before with its concept of building the most immersive VR world within its story and taking it to the extreme circumstances and consequences of “you die in the game; you die in real life.”

Fatal Bullet was heralded as one of the best for the series due to the fact that it featured original character creation and introduced the use of firearms. The expansive story mode was great as players customized their characters and interacted with many of the SAO characters they know from the Gun Gale Online arc.

What made the game better was that they could join your party later, and there was an unlockable Kirito Mode under the special campaign unlocks. Being a third-person shooter with the SAO IP was a blast, wielding various pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and even a light sword. Sounds like any other Halo-style game, but it was not. As much as Master Chief could use some ultimate special weapon attacks, this game offered an excellent scaling skill progression system that allowed players to chain specific attacks to activate their Weapon Arts move.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has been one of the most popular manga and anime series of all-time for its incredible fashion sense and ridiculous voice lines—both dubbed and subbed. This game only made sense on this list because it has been known for its simple attack system many gamers would know from CyberConnect2’s games, but it also contained all the best parts of the series. Dio Brando ain’t got nothing on All Star Battle, but he is in it—along with 39 other playable characters from the show, spanning from the Phantom Blood arc to Diamond Is Unbreakable, all the way up to JoJolion.

I will admit the online play was not great at the time, in comparison to other fighting games like Street Fighter or BlazBlue, but it was still enjoyable to 1 v 1 friends in couch matches. The standout moments of this game were all the references to the JoJo series and its quirks. Players could unlock taunts that make characters do iconic JoJo poses and also being able to use the attacks from the manga and anime were oh so fun. Use “ZA-WARUDOOOOO!” and get to playing this classic JoJo game that quenched fans’ thirst for years.

Scarlet Nexus

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Scarlet Nexus made the list of the best anime-based video games of all time, both as a great game and as an exception. The exception of this game was that Scarlet Nexus was made at the same time as the anime was released, so they were kind of made off of each other. Regardless, both were well received, with the video game being recognized for its solid “hack-and-slash combat” and its ability to push artistry by blending “cel-shaded characters with hyper-realistic imagery.”

From the beginning, Scarlet Nexus forces players to make some tough decisions, such as choosing a protagonist between Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall. Other games like Dead Island offer preset characters to start with but do not necessarily change the overall plot. In Scarlet Nexus, each protagonist had more distinct story points.

While the action was at the center of the game, I thought the attention to having emotional and bonding moments with each protagonist’s crew was a great touch, as opposed to stale, irrelevant NPC teammates. The Battle Arms system was like the icing on the cake, where players could borrow the powers of their team members to enhance their own, and they also dealt decent damage – unlike Kingdom Hearts or the older Resident Evil games. While the action and visuals were amazing, you should definitely check Scarlet Nexus out for its world building and storyline.

Dragon Ball Games

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There have been countless great games made based on the hit series Dragon Ball—one could say over 9000. So much so that many have to be recognized on this list: Dragon Ball FighterZ, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and Dragon Ball: The Breakers. These were just five of the best few. These games had to be celebrated on the best anime-based video games of all time because they have been making dozen of these games since 1987! 

I mentioned these five specific games not only because they were the ones I played most by myself or with friends, but also because of the Super Saiyan evolutions they went through to advance the franchise. A lot of the older titles like Xenoverse 2 and Budokai 3 were great at the time for their multiplayer value, based on what was available at the time. Whereas Kakarot really found its footing in making the single-player campaign great, due to its depiction of the main DBZ storyline from the series.

Though Breakers strayed from the recent path of greatness of its predecessor, FighterZ, it was still something for fans. Arc System Works’ FighterZ was easily the pinnacle of the franchise’s games for its fairly competent story (shout out to the adorable Ginyu Force) and its ability to become a competitive multiplayer game in fighting game tournaments for the first time ever. This would be my recommendation if you want the best overall DBZ experience.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm

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This had to be on this list because not only is it one of the most recognized anime of the modern era of anime, but it also paved the way for the best series of CyberConnect2 games. It started the Ultimate Ninja series by moving from 2D to three-dimensional battle planes. It gave players 25 playable characters to start with, and really pushed the cel-shading style of graphics that future games would use – you could say it was a pioneer of its time.

Looking back on it now, I really think it was one of the best games to implement stage changes within a map – the transitions were flawless. DC’s Injustice games would be a great non-anime fighting game contender that also used this effectively.

These games were also couch-competitive staples for me. I did not even watch the show or read the manga, but I found the fighting mechanics fluid and the sick ninja combat ensnaring me. The skillful part of the game was in managing your Chakra meter and building it up to use each character’s Ultimate Jutsu. Oh man, seeing Madara’s Susano’o ultimate was so satisfying to practically pummel your opponent with a kaiju-level attack. The Ultimate Ninja games were probably some of my most played games, and if anyone asks, I am an Iruka main. Fans know why!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Hinokami Chronicles

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This was a great start for the Demon Slayer series, as it provided a very tight experience for those unfamiliar with the series or the manga. But it also provided enough new content for fans to want to keep playing, along with the ability to fight as their favourite characters – both from the Demon Slayer Corps and the demons. As a fan, replaying the first season of the series may feel like a slog at first, but once you get into the fights, it becomes more fun.

I really liked the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Hinokami Chronicles’ distinct animation style for the game, offering a cleaner look to the environment and characters versus the show’s roughly-shaded edges. Whether you are using Tanjiro’s water style or Rengoku’s flame style attacks, the game is filled with vibrant, almost psychedelic colours galore. For me, the best part was learning the attacks of characters who had little to no fighting in the series. It allowed players to see how powerful they were and what their specialties were, such as Urokudaki, Sabito, and Mokomo-or even Giyu.

This was another testament to CyberConnect2’s ability to adapt an anime well with enough content to entertain its players. The purchasable extra content was well worth it for those who love the series because who does not love putting on different skins for characters!

Attack on Titan 2

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While the famous Attack on Titan anime series is coming to a close this September, the games have also been keeping up. Attack on Titan 2 was noted for its ability to wrap up the first two seasons fairly well in its storytelling. But the best part that critics and players enjoyed was how satisfying it felt to kill Titans in the game, both with the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear and with the blades. With each slash, you almost feel like you are Zoro from One Piece, omnislashing and dismembering one titan at a time.

In addition to the single campaign, there were other game modes to enjoy: Online Story Co-Op, Scout Missions Co-Op, and Annihilation Mode (also known as Arcade Mode). Scout Missions was cool because it allowed up to four players to co-op and complete various missions while killing a bunch of Titans along the way. Annihilation Mode was just as fun as you tried to set a high record for killing Titans within a time limit. Overall, the multiplayer factor for a game like this was why I found it to be one of the best anime-based video games of all time.

While there remains to be a lot of glitchy, annoying moments, Attack on Titan 2 was regarded to be a little comical as well. In a sense, this one was great for being the best of the worse or worst of the best on this list—something like that. But still, it was a more enjoyable attempt to adapt the manga and anime. Better than some of the knockoff games I tried when I was younger.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON

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The Gundam games, characters, and anime content were another classic staple in the anime world. This particular game was one of the best anime-based games of all time for its awesome gameplay for Gundam fans. It gave players a lot of single-player content before trying their luck against online multiplayer enemies. It also had an online and offline co-op with over 183 playable mobile suits! If that sounds overwhelming, you should see what the mech trees look like.

While I personally did not enjoy this Gundam game the most because thinking about 183 mobile suits hurt my brain, I could understand how the complexity and diversity of it was a treat to the fandom. Maxboost ON had a simple combat system, but the strategy was like 80% of it. The “extreme” in the title of the game was no joke as it made players think about their boost gauge, their suit health bar and the team health bar, amongst other factors.

As complicated as this all sounds, the game was said to be more beginner-friendly than the previous Gundam Vs. Maxboost ON also lacked a proper tutorial, but there are plenty of guides and people who know how to play the game, and its 2 vs. 2 battle format allows for easy coaching opportunities. And again, the single-player campaign helps newcomers get used to the general controls and metagaming.

One Piece: Odyssey

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Bandai Namco’s One Piece: Odyssey was initially met with mixed reviews from critics, but fans came to appreciate it as more players got their hands on it. Many critics and fans noted that this game offered a sort of “greatest hits” of the Straw Hats, based on the One Piece manga and anime. They also pointed out that the story was fairly easy to play through but made for a great RPG experience that allowed fans to simply enjoy and relive some of the best arcs of the series in an all-new one, from Alabasta to Dressrosa.

This was a mixed bag of a game for the most part – offering a straightforward story, nothing too deep. The exploration and combat system was probably its most unique feature. Traversing the island of Waford took some time, as each straw hat had a different specialty for exploring the area. Zoro could cut through any iron door or crate, Chopper could squeeze into tight spaces, and Nami could find caches of gold scattered around the world. They were a bit cheeky for their character types, but it made some sense.

The combat system was easy to learn because it was very similar to Fire Emblem’s triangle system (aka rock-paper-scissors). In Odyssey, each character had a combat type: power, speed, or technique. Power beats speed, speed beats technique, and so on. While there was not much evolution in this concept, I really enjoyed the game on the story progression level. The creatures you get to beat up as Luffy were kind of cool, but it could get a little repetitive in all aspects. Nostalgia was the most significant factor in putting this game on this list.

Honourable Mention: 

Persona Games and NieR:Automata

While these two were video games first, they have had excellent anime adaptations as well! They have been adapted so well that many have wondered which came first if you have not played any of the games before. 

The Persona games have been one of the best JRPG game series to hold up from its origins back in 1996, marketed initially as Shin Megami Tensei. The series has been critically acclaimed for its constant innovation of adding more quality content in gameplay and storytelling in its more recent games—Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5/Royal/StrikersBalancing high school life and otherworld duties can be challanging! But it could also be really fun and mysterious.

NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition (Switch) Review 5

Again, NieR:Automata fell under the same boat of it having branched into an anime. But it can be a highly regarded anime game for its ability to push the genre forward with its striking art style and dynamic gameplay – not the normal dynamic gameplay. The combat allows players to chain attacks in a satisfying way, while also being enraptured by its zen-like moments. The massive scale of the environments is enough to make players feel like they are actually touching the grass IRL.

Let us know your favourite anime-based video games of all-time! 

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