Top 10 Anime-Related Video Games
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins
Apart from being big fans of anime and manga, both Shiggins and I are also big video game fans. And since E3 has just finished, what better time to talk about video games? Here, we’re looking at the best anime-related video games out there, although the usual ‘one entry per series’ rule still applies. We’ve defined an ‘anime-related video game’ as a game that appears on a proper console and is either an adaptation of an anime, or has an anime adaptation. This means that games like Ni no Kuni and Fire Emblem Awakening are not included here, regardless of how good they are.
Thanks to Steve Lark who requested this Top 10 on ask.fm!
As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.
10.) Bleach: Soul Resurrección (Written by ClayDragon)
As one of the more popular Shonen series out there, it was only a matter of time before a Bleach game made its way to the West. Taking place after the Soul Society arc, Soul Resurrección follows Bleach’s plot through the entire Arrancar saga, from Ichigo and co. entering Hueco Mundo all the way to Aizen’s defeat. However, unlike most video game adaptations of popular anime series, Soul Resurrección is not a fighting game – it’s a hack-and-slash.
This…was not really a good idea on the developer’s front. Whilst the gameplay is good and there are boss battles that are similar to those of a typical anime fighting game, the fact that there is no multiplayer mode means that the greatest draw of a Shonen-based game –fighting your friends – doesn’t exist. The worst thing is that the battle system easily lends itself to a multiplayer match, in that there are strong attacks, ranged attacks, blocks, counters, and devastating Limit Break-style moves.
Aside from that major flaw, Soul Resurrección is still pretty good. The gameplay is fast and fluid, and the voice acting is performed by the main cast (in both English and Japanese). Each character has a different play style for you to get accustomed to, and the level-up system is massive, albeit very time-consuming. It’s a decent game, but it is a shame that it doesn’t live up to its full potential.
9.) Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (Written by Shiggins)
When Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle was announced for the PlayStation 3, many of us had the same reaction: “Who?” A series not known to many casual fans during the game’s time of release, there was a vast confusion as to why a series like Jojo got a game released in America and Europe before a series like say, Fairy Tail or Hunter x Hunter. Nevertheless, the series did have a cult following and thanks to this game and the anime that followed shortly afterwards, the series has gotten the recognition many believe it deserves.
Going surprisingly far into the story, All Star Battle features multiple characters and locations that extend all the way into Part 8 of the Jojo series. The gameplay is fairly solid, although please keep in mind that I am not a huge player of 2D fighting games so take my opinion for whatever its worth. Hugely reminiscent of Street Fighter and Tekken, but crossed with what appears to be a comic book style motif, there are many the game will appeal to.
The game is definitely for the fans, with all the members of the Joestar family, the tons of fighting styles, the unique special attacks and the appearance of the amazing villain Dio Brando. This is probably the reason I haven’t ranked the game higher, as I can’t really recommend this game to many people due to it being so obviously targeted at a certain audience. And honestly, if you are a Jojo fan, I can only recommend it if you like 2D fighters. However, if you meet those two criteria, get it. Play it. Never forget it.
8.) J-Stars Victory VS (Written by Shiggins)
Speaking of reactions to video games, when J-Stars was announced people went nuts! “Holy shit, we can play as Goku and fight Luffy and Naruto and Kenshin and Yusuke and the guy from Kuroko no Basuke is in it and OHMAHGADZI!” The original assumption that we’d never get this game caused heartbreak and outrage across the non-Japanese who were not blessed with the gift (we’ll be getting it soon though so yay!). Luckily, a friend of mine got it imported and let me borrow it for a while. My reaction? …Meh.
Don’t get me wrong though. Playing as Yusuke and punching Gon in the face, all the while screaming “Finish your damn series already!” in your head over and over again is an utter delight. The environments look great as you go to Planet Namek and a dojo and more, all while the original Japanese voice cast bless you with unique dialogue interactions. Gintama’s Gintoki is the best for this because he constantly brings out the meta-humour and messes up the awesomeness of the battles he is about to fight in. The little touches like that do make a huge difference, even if it is lacking in game modes and can get somewhat repetitive.
So where does the game fall flat? In all honesty, the very strange choices it makes. For example, Ichigo and Aizen are in this game but Rukia, the series’ main heroine, is nothing more than a support character while Aizen’s abilities are severely lacking. Epic characters like Hisoka, Kagura and Kumagawa are all sent to the support category while this fucking abomination known as Taro Yamada is a playable character. I don’t know what the fuck it is but I hate it so much, I refused to play the game as it. And on a final note, the game is not kind if you don’t love One Piece. From sailing around in a pirate ship to spending so much time with Luffy, the game almost feels like “One Piece and Friends: The Video Game”, while other less-successful characters are almost forgotten. And on a final note, One Piece got 4 characters on the roster…. And they chose Ace and Boa Hancock over Zoro?!
7.) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (Written by Shiggins)
Before you go mad at me, screaming for bloody revenge, let me clarify one thing: I have not played Persona 4. I want to play Persona 4 so much, but I haven’t and that is the reason why it is not higher on this list. Why is it on the list at all you ask? Well that’s because the game is so huge and so well-known and clearly so great, I can tell at a glance it deserves to be on our list. Damn, I want this game…
Honestly, what can I say about this series you don’t already know? It’s an amazing RPG series by ATLUS, and Persona 4 is widely considered the best in the business. From its extensive combat to its fabulous mystery plot, Persona 4 has won the hearts of many around it. People all over the world widely and wildly defend this game as one of their all-time favourites, and the countless spin-offs and such help to solidify that claim.
All the characters are iconic and interesting, and you want to help them through their struggles as they try to figure out the mystery behind all the events. Fans will argue for hours over who is “the best”, but from dungeon-crawling to social interactions with your pals, there is something for every fan of RPGs and honestly, other than a few supposed pacing problems, I’ve never heard a complaint. If you don’t want your copy, hand it to me because I’m a twat who hasn’t played it yet.
6.) Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (Written by ClayDragon)
To be honest, Ninja Storm 3 is lucky to have made it onto this list, because the way things are looking, Ninja Storm 4 will probably be even better. But for the moment, let’s pretend that the upcoming sequel doesn’t exist. Set after the Invasion of Pain arc, the game follows the Naruto manga through the rebuilding of the Leaf Village, the Five Kage Summit, and the first half of the Fourth Ninja War. With over 80 playable characters, there’s something for everyone in this game.
Of course, if you happened to pick up the Full Burst version, then you get an even better version of the game, with improved graphics, a new mission mode, and – most importantly – Sage Mode Kabuto as an extra playable character. Granted, you only unlock him after an insanely difficult and gruelling boss battle, but still. Oh, and you also get a large amount of alternate costumes for some characters, but no-one really cares about that.
There are one or two issues though. The nature of the game means that a lot of events from the manga are altered in some way or removed altogether, and quite a few notable characters aren’t playable. Aside from that though, Ninja Storm 3 is easily the best game in the Naruto series, and one of the best fighting games I’ve played, full stop.
5.) Dragon Ball Xenoverse (Written by Shiggins)
Dragon Ball Z games don’t have an amazing history. Budokai Tenkaichi 3 had a gut-bursting roster but a lacking single player, while Ultimate Tenkaichi did not live up to the hype of its name. The Raging Blast series were pretty good but just like Budokai Tenkaichi, the single player left too much to be desired. With the release of Xenoverse, we all held our breaths in fear as it almost looked too good to be true. Surprisingly, I put it on record as my favourite game of the DBZ series!
By having a strong focus on the single player, Xenoverse manages to get away from the easy and predictable story we’ve gone through a thousand times and instead introduces new characters to create an entirely new storyline. By having the villains alter history, the game has an overarching story that keeps you invested as you create your very own character and go through the typical DBZ story to put everything back to the way it should be. It’s basically exactly how a story for a DBZ game should be.
The game’s biggest strength is in its massive customisation. Choosing your gender is noticeable but the game lets you choose your species, your clothing, your accessories and all the attacks you want to use throughout. Do you prefer Kamehameha or Galick Gun? Death Beam or Death Ball? Recoome Kick or Recoome Fighting Pose? The combinations are endless for you to decide on. If I had to make a complaint, it’s the cursed Random Number Generator that means you’ll have to grind for quite a while if you want everything available to you.
4.) Mega Man Battle Network Series (Written by ClayDragon)
A spinoff of the original Mega Man series, Battle Network is a ‘what if?’ story that takes place a number of years in the future where everything – cars, schools, even toilets – are online. Instead of the main Mega Man series, where there was a huge breakthrough in robotics, the world of Battle Network had major advances in networking technologies, resulting in the creation of artificial intelligences called Navis that help their human Operators access the internet.
Whilst the original series is a platformer, Battle Network is more akin to an RPG. You play as MegaMan.exe (a Navi) and Lan (his Operator), and switch between the two to explore both the Cyberworld and the Real World. There are six games in the series (with every game from 3 onwards having two versions) but the gameplay remains largely the same across versions – build up a folder of weapon-like programs, and fight viruses using these programs.
Despite the numbering system implying that the games have to be played in order, that isn’t really the case, as aside from one or two returning characters, each game is pretty self-contained. Boasting a memorable cast of characters, a plethora of awesome and emotional moments, an incredible soundtrack and a deep and unique combat system, the Battle Network series is not to be missed. Just don’t play Battle Network 4. Trust me. Just…don’t.
3.) Steins;Gate (Written by ClayDragon)
One of two visual novels on our list, Steins;Gate follows the self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe (a.k.a. Hououin Kyouma) as he and his friends accidently build a time machine out a microwave and a mobile phone (as you do). However, this draws the attention of a shadowy organisation who want to monopolise time travel for themselves, forcing Okabe and his friends to use the machine in order to reach the best possible future.
The gameplay is pretty typical of a visual novel, as most of it revolves around following the conversations that characters have, with the occasional choice that allows you to determine how the story plays out. The ‘phone trigger’ system presents the player with the option to answer a phone call or text message, and choose how Okabe responds to these moments. Depending on the choice you make, the storyline will progress in a certain direction, which results in the game having multiple endings – not all of them good.
The one problem with the Steins;Gate game is that there is no English voice acting (although all the text is obviously in English), so those who buy it wanting to hear J. Michael Tatum as Okabe again are out of luck. That aside, it is still a fantastic game, with an incredibly deep storyline, including large sections that didn’t make it into the anime. If you’re a fan of the anime (and if not, what is wrong with you?), then you need this game.
2.) Dangan Ronpa Series (Written by Shiggins)
I love Dangan Ronpa! I’m not sure if I mentioned that yet. Did I? I LOVE DANGAN RONPA! I love it all! I love the characters that are so fucking weird and I love the story that is so fucking weird and I love the plot twists that are so fucking weird and I love that you can optionally peek on the girls while they bath which is so fucking weird! It’s such a fucking weird, wonderful game series!
Set in Hope Peak Academy, you play Makoto Naegi, the only boring character in the series, and you must survive the horrific events that transpire as an evil teddy bear traps you in the school and won’t let anybody free until they kill one of their other classmates and manage to avoid being caught doing so. If the murderer can survive the trial, they go free and you all die. And you know, with a plot like that, you pretty much know what you’re getting. A dark but hilarious visual novel experience as you must go through Phoenix Wright-esque investigations to discover the truth.
It’s hard to decide which Dangan Ronpa I prefer, as both have amazing stories and characters that keep me truly invested throughout. It’s the type of series where you tell yourself you won’t fall in love, but you can’t help yourself and sooner or later, it just happens to be the one you adore that ends up dead for whatever reason. You’ll believe that the others are lying and it’s not got as many twists and turns as they say, or that the characters are stupid stereotypes but… Man, you will be wrong! It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s tragic, it’s interesting… And overall, I just can’t help but adore this series.
1.) Pokémon Yellow (Written by ClayDragon)
If you’re around our age, then chances are that Pokémon Yellow was one of (if not the) first Pokémon game you played. And maybe nostalgia has factored into the decision to place Yellow at the top of the list, but even so, it’s still a damn good game. Based off of the Pokémon anime, the game gives you a Pikachu as your starter Pokémon, whilst your rival gets an Eevee. Whilst it doesn’t follow the anime exactly (Brock and Misty don’t follow you around, for one thing), there are some characters that made the transition from anime to game.
Even though it could be seen as a game made as an afterthought, or an attempt to cash in on the anime’s success, Yellow still introduced a number of mechanics that are used to this day. Your companion Pikachu would follow you around, much like those in Heart Gold & Soul Silver, and if you interacted with him you could get a measure of his happiness – a game mechanic that was then refined in the next game, Gold & Silver.
It also has the honour of being the only game to date in which you can obtain every starter Pokémon of that generation without trading, as NPCs seem only too happy to give you a Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. Your rival’s team also changes depending on how well your previous battles with him went, which adds an extra strategic layer. Whilst there have been many Pokémon games since, and while there will doubtlessly be more in the future, Yellow still holds a special place in our hearts.
Is there a game you feel we missed out? Or do you have any suggestions for another Top 10 list? Let us know in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading!
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. He has an ask.fm account at ask.fm/ClayDragon. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. He has a degree now!
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere. His arrogance is astonishing.