Goku has had a long history in the video game industry with the first Dragon Ball game released on the Famicom in 1988. Throughout that time, the series has charged its ki with grander visuals, new fighting game mechanics, and glorious worlds to explore. The best Dragon Ball games are listed here, ranked from worst to best of the best.
Worst of the best: Jump Force
While not a Dragon Ball game per se, Jump Force brought in all manner of Shonen Jump characters into one game. Goku is able to fight Hunter X Hunter‘s Gon, My Hero Academia‘s Deku, and Bleach‘s Ichigo alongside his pals and enemies from the Dragon Ball series. Frieza, Vegeta, Piccolo, Cell, and Trunks were able to join the high-intensity battles of the game. While matches look smooth and action-packed, Jump Force is a mediocre fighting game with basic arena mechanics and a strange realistic art style for the anime-based characters. Still, it’s fun to see Goku interact with the likes of Jotaro and Blackbeard in Jump Force. The game isn’t available on digital storefronts anymore, but you can still pick up a physical copy for the PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit showcased the outrageous combat that the likes of Goku and Gohan have to perform to save the day. The fighting feels fast and energetic as you play through the voiced story mode and face off against your friends locally. The graphics also shine and look almost modern with their true to detail replication of Akira Toriyama’s art style.
Dragon Ball: Origins series
Many fans of the Dragon Ball property have fond memories of playing Dragon Ball: Origins on the Nintendo DS. This game brings The Legend of Zelda-style mechanics to Goku as the game explores the original anime series. You are exploring dungeons, kicking butt as Goku with various punches and kicks, and of course the iconic Kamehameha. You’re also solving light puzzles in this DS game, so there’s some variety in the gameplay that other titles in the franchise don’t possess.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku series
Like Dragon Ball: Origins, there are a lot of fond memories of this game series among the fanbase. This GBA classic is a top down RPG in the beloved universe that also has Zelda-like mechanics. The combat hasn’t aged well, but the second title in the franchise received a respectful 75 MetaCritic score. “The game’s primary goal is to distill roughly 38 hours of TV episodes into 15 or 20 hours of hands-on gameplay, and it succeeds at doing so,” said Frank Provo for GameSpot in 2003.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3
This is where we finally get into the great category of Dragon Ball games out there. Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3, despite the long title, excited fans on the PS2 and Wii with the game’s large roster of 161 characters (sorry, Smash) and a thrilling battle system that takes characters into the sky and getting slammed down into the ground. It follows the main story yet again for its single-player modes, but it makes it interesting with What If? scenarios and the Dragon Ball GT narrative included. The Wii version also lets you use the mannerisms of the show’s nutty attacks, and as a kid myself at the time, it was super satisfying to pull off.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 still stands as one of the best games in the franchise as its 2D fighting game system lends so well to the source material. Performing stunning combos that end with a special move like the Father-Son Kamehameha is still exciting to pull off, and the story mode is compelling with its lite RPG systems. While the graphics haven’t aged that well, there is still a lot to like about Budokai 3, including its intro theme music.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse series
Xenoverse flips the script on most Dragon Ball games as it delves into a time-twisting adventure. The scenes you know and love from the series are changing, and it is up to you to make sure everything stays on track. Otherwise, a different timeline will take place in reality. You can build up your character with the moves and costumes you want, and the overall story has been received well by fans worldwide. The combat isn’t as impressive as past titles in the series, but the fascinating premise makes up for it.
Hyper Dragon Ball Z
Surprisingly one of the best Dragon Ball games you can play is a fan game called Hyper Dragon Ball Z. Inspired by the classic Capcom fighting games, this title is a 2D fighter that has plenty of spectacular combos on display. The sprite animation is incredible, and the music fits right into the anime vibe the game is going for. Even a big streamer like Maximillian Dood checked out the game and enjoyed their time with it. Oh, and it’s free.
Dragon Ball Kakarot
Ever wanted to explore the world of Dragon Ball fully? While Budokai 3 had a slimmed-down version of an open world, Kakarot is the real big deal. Going over the storyline of the original Dragon Ball Z run, Kakarot plays like a JRPG. You’re fishing, flying through the air, cooking, training for better stats, and fighting big boss battles during pivotal moments of the story. There are also side quests to complete along the way, and you’ll be getting to know a bunch of characters from the series even more. The game also holds some juicy lore details that fans have asked about for a long time.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
The best Dragon Ball game in existence, at the time of writing, is Dragon Ball FighterZ, which brings characters from all of the show’s eras into one game. While there is an abundance of Gokus on the roster, there are many unique fighters to play as. Also, unlike the Budokai series, they all feel relatively balanced, so you can play as Tien against a Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta. The combat is frenetic and brings the chaotic combos of the beloved TV show into the game. Dragon rushes have you propelling towards foes at fast speeds, and impressive special attacks can be performed with enough of a meter. Having a 3v3 fighting game system also allows for outstanding combos that look compelling on screen. You can now play Dragon Ball FighterZ on Xbox Game Pass if you’re intrigued.
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