Dragon Ball FighterZ has just come out and it’s already a contender for the greatest Dragon Ball game ever. This gorgeous looking game manages to combine deep fighting mechanics and enough Dragon Ball nostalgia to stun an Oozaru. While Dragon Ball games have been a mixed bag, here are the five best Dragon Ball games that will keep you in the fighting spirit.
The Xenoverse games are amazing on a conceptual level but are brought down by poor execution. These Dragon Ball RPGs allow players to create personalized characters from the various races and species that appear in the Dragon Ball universe and have them intervene at critical moments from the anime series. These games also provide a bunch of interesting “what if” scenarios, like Captain Ginyu changing bodies with Vegeta, and Goku’s father, Bardock, playing a bigger role in the story.
However, questionable game design gets in the way of these games being as much fun as they deserve to be. Some attacks are so powerful that they break the game, the seemingly random difficulty spikes make some parts of the game a breeze and others a grind, and a good portion of the DLC feels like it should be present in the base game. But, although the Xenoverse games have their flaws, they let players immerse themselves in the Dragon Ball world more than any other title on this list, even if it isn’t the most user-friendly experience.
Dragon Ball Online is an MMORPG that is responsible for a lot of the lore present in the Xenoverse games and some of the Dragon Ball Super anime. The game takes place more than 200 years after the Buu Saga finishes and centres on a race of demons trying to invade Earth. Players can take the role of either a human, Namekian, or Majin character and do battle against these demonic invaders. Well, players could do this if there were any way to play Dragon Ball Online anymore.
Dragon Ball Online became active in 2010, and all the servers were shut down in 2013. To add insult to injury, Western audiences never got access to the game either. There are a few emulation projects currently trying to revive the game and bring it to American fans for the first time, but it’s likely that the groups holding the rights to Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Online will take legal action against the projects if they ever materialize. This truly is a shame as Dragon Ball Online was a unique game that heavily featured the input of series creator Akira Toriyama.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku 2 might be the best portable Dragon Ball game. It offers a pretty substantial RPG experience and allows the player to customize and level up several of the Z fighters. This game also covers the Android and Cell Sagas from Dragon Ball Z, which are arguably the best story arcs from the anime.
The Legacy of Goku 2 is also an amazing game because it builds on the world present in the anime more than perhaps any other video game title. Players can explore this fantastical world and interact with characters ranging from cyborg mercenaries to anthropomorphic dog presidents. This game is a perfect blend of both the fighting and wonderment that made so many people fall in love with the franchise.
Dragon Ball Heroes is another bizarre Dragon Ball game that most people probably haven’t played. As Heroes is an arcade game that is only available in Japan, most western fans of the series only got to hear about some of the crazy stuff present in this title.
Do you wanna see Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta and Nappa? Heroes has it. Would you like to see more of Gogeta being unbelievably cool? This game has Gogeta in spades. Do you want to see Goku and Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece duke it out? Heroes have that too.
Dragon Ball Heroes is an amazing “what if” game that is sure to inspire fan discussion and fan fiction for years.
Budokai 3 is one of the most traditional Dragon Ball games on this list and is the most refined Dragon Ball fighting game to date. It makes up for its smaller roster with characters that have highly specific playing styles.
Budokai 3 also features a very appreciated level of customization and scores of replay value. Being made before online functionality was commonplace, it features a code system that allows players to fight against their friend’s customized characters.
Sure, Dragon Ball FighterZ has an unnecessarily complicated user interface, a controversial Dragon Ball mechanic, and a name that is both divisive and too on the nose; but these criticisms are forgettable in the face of FighterZ nailing every other aspect of its experience. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fighting game first and a Dragon Ball game second. This title would stand on its own as a fighting game, but the thick Dragon Ball icing on this cake is greatly appreciated and will ensure that it garners much-deserved attention.
FighterZ is simply a great fighting game and a welcome addition to the Dragon Ball roster of games. This title is welcoming to fighting game newcomers and rewards those who put in the time and effort to master a handful of characters. Dragon Ball FighterZ is sure to only increase the reinvigorated popularity of the Dragon Ball franchise, and carve its own niche in the rapidly expanding world of eSports.