What is an anime game? Well it can mean one of two things: the most common of course, is a video game that was created as part of a Japanese / eastern Asian franchise, being the core of this franchise a manga or anime show.
The other option is a game that has characteristic anime features (particularly the Japanese animation and details of characters) without being originally associated to any anime production. I have only one example in this hub of this (it is such a good game that it was the basis for several anime movies, instead of being a by-product of anime).
Best Anime Games
- Dragon ball Z
- Bleach’s Blade of Fate for DS
Without a doubt, the best anime franchise that had success in the videogame department was Pokémon! Pikachu and his trainer Oak not only touched the hearts of millions of children all over the world with the TV series, they also reached deep inside the wallets of kid’s parents, at least according to the the mega-sales of all the Pókemon games, particularly the GameBoy ones.
Pokémon Red, Yellow, Blue, Gold, Silver… there were so many games released for Gameboy and Gameboy Advanced that I won’t bother list them all here. What’s incredible is that, apart from some very particular Pokémon Games, most of them follows the same formula. In a RPG environment (role playing-game), the player becomes a Pókemon Trainer that has to collect Pokémon’s all over the world map, fighting other Pokémon’s and trainers as he gets stronger and stronger.
A quite simple mechanic but that proved marvels, not only because of the sucess of the series, but mainly because of the gatherering and trading aspect of it – you really want to Catch Them’all! Of course, to do that you not only have to play a lot, but you have to buy dfferent games (not any single game has all the types of pokémon) and there’s always the random factor of catching the rarer ones, so to speed things up it’s really great if you can trade Pókemons with a friend or two.
Pókemon was a simple formula that worked, becoming a landmark both in VideoGames as in the Anime map. Like it or not, it deserves the recognition as the best anime videogame ever!
2. Dragon ball Z
The Dragon Ball series, being essentially a punch and kicks anime, naturally spawned a number of fighting games overtime. Sadly never a DragonBall game appeared to honor the original manga/anime…
… until Budokai appeared! Released in 2002 for the Playstation 2, Budokai was an awesome 3D anime fighting with an epic story mode, great visuals and that was actually fun to play! Followed by a weaker sequel, Budokai Creators redeemed themselves with a better-than-the-original Budokai 3.
With impressive cel-shaded animation sequences, dozens of fighters, a huge world to explore, a development system and different endings for several characters, Budokai 3 is capable not only to mesmerize DBZ hardcore fans, but it will even appeal to those who never heard of this anime before.
I’ve rarely seen a game with so much energy as Budokai 3. With a simple but fun gameplay, where you can get a bit technical to achieve the best tricks (but don’t need it to end the game), you’ll marvel at how perfectly this games mimics the real anime show – from double teleportations, to dragon rushes to even(!) the possibility of engage on a “beam struggle” (remember Gohan’s fight with Cel?).
With great game mechanics, impressive graphics and the typical addictive DBZ music, this game finnaly achieved the epic status of the original work. Well done Budokai masters!
3. Bleach’s Blade of Fate for DS
Bleach and Naruto are the big names in the anime scene at the moment and (who would have guessed it) they have zillions of video game titles released (and being produced as you read this lines).
As with everything in life, some of these games are utter crap, but you always find a pearl in the middle of all those muddy oysters.
Bleach’s pearl is The Blade of Fate for Nintendo DS. Have you the slightest idea of how difficult it is to find a good single and multi-player fighting game in a portable system? Well, it’s damn hard, I tell you! But Blade of Fate manages to pull it off!
This 2D fighting game styled as Samurai Showdown provides the gamer with 28 selectable hand drawn characters, multiple story lines, a deep combinational system of moves and attacks, allows the use of spirit cards at certain times of the combat (just to add a random element of fun to the battles) and you can play it in almost ten different modes (including a whooping multiplayer 4 action!).
Add it to the charisma of the Bleach characters, their special attacks (bankai’s) and a freaking superb techno sound that just makes you wanna pump the speakers louder, you have in Blade of Fate a hell of a game!
No Naruto game stands out immensely from the rest of them. But I can pinpoint the Ultimate Ninja Series for Sony’s Playstation as the best games of the franchise. From the original Ultimate Ninja to PS2 until the cool Ultimate Ninja Storm to Playstation 3, the Naruto games provide a great fighting experience, with lots of fan service and cut scenes from the original show.
The way most of the Ultimate Ninja games are designed (with ample use of drawing and animation techniques) makes you feel inside the comic – which is great!
Unfortunately these titles usually lack the online experience and tend to use and abuse of poor mini-games, otherwise they would indeed stand out from the crowd of anime games. Even so, they are goof individually and together they are bigger than the sum of it’s parts, as they provide a fine addition to any Naruto Lover.