We review the top ten Dragon Ball games across consoles, as well as other notable entries to mark Goku Day, the international day of the series' protagonist.
Dragon Ball is stronger than ever among us, and it does so for many reasons. The great success of the manga and the series is undeniable, as also the great impact that Goku and company have in the world of video games. More than 30 years have passed since the first title of the series and after dozens and dozens of games, choosing the best video games is not easy. There are fighting games, adventure games, RPGs, card games... of all kinds. So for Goku Day, which is celebrated on May 9, we choose the best games of the series.
The best Dragon Ball games
- Dragon Ball: Legacy of Goku 2
- Dragon Ball: Hyper Dimension
- Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
- Dragon Ball: Shin Budokai
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Dragon Ball: Ultimate Butoden
- Dragon Ball Advanced Adventure
- Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi 3
- Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
As usual, the order of the games always ends up being quite relative and we feel that we have left some important names behind. In the last part of the article, we have recovered some names that should be among the best Dragon Ball games. Let's start with our list.
10. Dragon Ball: Legacy of Goku 2 (GBA)
To say that the GBA is probably the platform that received more and better Dragon Ball games is not to be mistaken. The Nintendo handheld managed to host several important names, and one of them is Legacy of Goku 2, an Action RPG in which we had many missions to perform, leveling up, and learning techniques, all while we were revisiting some of the best events of the series, in addition to presenting us with totally original moments that worked very well together. A fun title, more varied and solid than the first installment, and a good example that adventure and Dragon Ball can fit together without a problem.
9. Dragon Ball: Hyper Dimension (SNES)
Hyper Dimension is often a bit forgotten because it was released in the late Super Nintendo era, with other games in the series already appearing on more powerful consoles. But it is possibly the most solid 2D fighting game of the nineties in the series. It was a title that visually was a crazy thing, with animations and sprites from another planet, and that had a combat system closer to Street Fighter than to Butoden. That took away the spectacularity of the final attacks but gave it a lot of dynamism and a more precise combat system: combos, well-calibrated hitboxes and impressive meteo attacks. The roster was scarce, but very well adjusted. A title that proved that gameplay and Dragon Ball could go hand in hand.
8. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
It's been a year since Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot came into our lives, a game desired by many for what it wanted to offer: the maximum possible fidelity with respect to Toei's anime. And we can say that it succeeds: Kakarot is an extremely faithful game, which pleases to recreate details and mythical dialogues and covers all the events of Z, plus some original ones. The combat system is not as deep as we would like, it is true, and the DLCs have turned out worse than expected, but it is the most faithful game to recreate the great events of Toriyama's work, and a great starting point for future Action RPG type deliveries that can give more impetus to the gameplay.
7. Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai (PSP)
Although it may seem that Shin Budokai of PSP is a minor game, looking like an inferior port to the experience of Budokai 3, we are not few who defend it with strong reasons as one of the greatest Dragon Ball ever. And it is because, in addition to having the combat system of Budokai 3, it eliminates the Dragon Rush that some people disliked so much for being a random system in a key mechanic. It was a very dynamic game, with a very complete roster, and the best? A story mode full of content and great moments. And to live that in handheld mode? Essential.
6. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (PC, PS4, XO, Switch)
The Xenoverse series can be liked or disliked depending on each fan, but if there's one thing we can't deny it's that the current state of Xenoverse 2 is of a huge game both in content and options. The game is not even close to what it was five years ago, and it has become a real beast in terms of content, characters and modes that are well worth getting to know because even today it continues to expand horizons and fighters. RPG progression system, cooperative combats, a good staff, character creation and a well-balanced combat system. All this, having fixed connection problems and invitations. Xenoverse 2 is today a much better game than when it came out, and one of the most complete original Dragon Ball experiences we can find.
5. Dragon Ball: Ultimate Butoden (NDS)
One of the great unknown surprises of Dragon Ball. Incomprehensibly, Ultimate Butoden never left Japan being a great title of the series in a console sold out all over the world. The title presents a format of big-headed but very well recreated characters, with an extreme fidelity in stories and events that we could unlock for hours and a very complete combat system. Close to 1v1 fighting, with a fun, demanding and very polished system of confrontations. If you have the opportunity, delve into it because it is a really competent game at all possible levels, but a great pity that it did not reach other regions.
4. Dragon Ball Advanced Adventure (GBA)
Surely the biggest complaint we have is that there were no games of the first stage of Dragon Ball. This has a lot to do with the fighting format that the series has always taken and with the fact that in the United States, Dragon Ball actually took off until Z. But this does not diminish the fact that the Gameboy Advance left us a marvel in the form of beat'em up -genre treated in the best way on the platform- in which we relive the adventures of young Goku, from his first meeting with Bulma to finish with Piccolo Daimaoh. The sprites, animations, development and the great mythical fights of the saga, besides being very replayable by having other characters make it a jewel that evokes the best of young Goku in virtual format.
3. Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi 3 (PS2, Wii)
For many, the ultimate Dragon Ball. Rather, the definitive Dragon Ball simulator. Anyway, we are in the presence of the absolute meeting of characters of the series, with a very complete combat system, full of options and combos, and great gameplay. Surely the story mode of 2 was better, but this one is not far behind. The endless game modes, customization options and more made it a dream come true. Hopefully, an HD remaster will arrive someday.
2. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (PS2, HD version on 360 and PS3)
If Tenkaichi 3 is the yin, Budokai 3 is the yang. No matter the order, we all agree: they were the two best games of the saga when they came out. In this case, the Budokai format was expanded as much as possible: gameplay, characters, options... And an almost perfect hybrid mix was created between the Dragon Ball combat simulation and a high-level 3D fighting experience. An audiovisual spectacle full of fanservice that appealed to all gamers of the time. Surely, Infinite World refined some playable elements, but the one that made the difference and remains in our memory is Budokai 3.
1. Dragon Ball FighterZ
And we come to Dragon Ball FighterZ, released in January 2018 and which remains from now until further notice as the best Goku game. After three years it has not been surpassed. We have chosen it in the first place for reasons on the two fronts that always stand out in a game on the work of Toriyama: fidelity to the work and gameplay. In the first case, the title is simply sick, with the recreation of punches and movements taken from the anime, with scenarios, characters, and scenes that take us to the closest we ever had to the series. On the other hand, we could never have imagined that Goku would reign supreme in the biggest competitive fighting game event: the EVO. It was the game with the most entries in the year of its release, proving that its accessible yet deep gameplay proved to be a hit. New routes, combos and synergies are still being found today. By bringing together as never before the Dragon Ball and video game concepts in the best possible way, FighterZ is to this day the best video game starring Goku, and seems to have plenty of time left, seeing the new characters like Baby and the future Gogeta SSJ4 that are about to arrive. We'll see if there is a new season coming soon.
And that's it for our Dragon Ball top games. Below are five games that deserve a mention for being special and offering unique proposals. That said... Which is your favorite Dragon Ball?
SPECIAL MENTIONS (BONUS TRACK)
Super Dragon Ball Z
We open the top with one of the games that several members of the editorial staff have among our favorites. A title created by Capcom's producer who wanted to bring the Dragon Ball fighting model closer to Street Fighter. And the result was not bad at all. On the contrary, it was a very competent one-on-one game, with the option to perform combos, which was not usual in the saga, and a curious, although not very extensive squad, among which Chi-Chi stood out, controllable for the first time. Its great virtue was in the gameplay and not so much in the modes and options. It is not one of the best-sellers or the most acclaimed, but if you like fighting games and Dragon Ball, it is well worth it.
Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden 2 (SNES)
It was the great Super Nintendo bombshell. If the 1 became a phenomenon, this is the one that raised the Butoden saga to the altars with a more agile combat system, mythical characters on the staff and a fun story mode with different routes according to the dialogues and characters used. A classic in the Dragon Ball world.
Dragon Ball The Legend (PSX, Saturn)
While some like Shin Butoden got the name without deserving it, the reality is that the best Dragon Ball game of the PSX and Saturn era was The Legend, a title that already began to flirt with 3D and that allowed us to enjoy group fights, something new and a surprising change of perspective and that, with its limitations, worked very well. It is worth being rediscovered.
Dragon Ball: Supersonic Warriors (GBA)
In 2004, Supersonic Warriors was released for Gameboy Advance, a game that did very well thanks to the perfect mix of 2D with a fighting style that simulated Dragon Ball very well. It had several different story paths and a combat system that was very faithful to the available characters.
Hyper Dragon Ball Z (PC, MUGEN)
And we close the other games that deserve a mention with Hyper Dragon Ball Z, a free game made with Mugen that has become a sensation for its deep combat system and full of details, for the fidelity with which they have recreated scenarios that we have never seen in officially licensed games and with characters that have all those attacks that we have seen a thousand times in the manga and anime. A gem made by fans that is well worth knowing.