There have been alot of video games based on Anime–not to be confused with Anime-ish video games like Tales of Symphonia and Persona 4–but until about15 years ago, they were rarely released outside Japan. The last decade has seen a Naruto game released every few years in particular, many of which I’ve played.
These are 6 games released on consoles I’ve personally played, still own and highly reccommend playing, counting down from 6:
6. Bleach: Dark Souls (Nintendo DS)
…One thing Bleach had a knack for was timing when it did filler arcs. Dark Souls is no different. The game’s story mode is set right after the end of the Soul Society Arc (when Ichigo first visits the Soul Society to rescue Rukia) and follows a non-canon storyline involving Mod Souls. The game is dual audio English and Japanese. Everyone has all of their moves from the anime including Gin and Tossen, who are unlockable characters along with Aizen–not the Aizen reintroduced much later, mind you–and yes, their Bankai if theirs was introduced before. I believe the only ones who don’t have their Bankai in Dark Souls are Aizen’s (which hadn’t been revealed at the time) and Rukia’s (same as Aizen though in addition, Rukia was still recovering from the injuries she sustained at the end of the Soul Society Arc).
The game’s very difficult to find in a Gamestop. There is an mobile version of the game but from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely not the same game.
5. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (PS Vita)
The smash hit Anime series got two video game spinoffs on the PS Vita (so far): Hollow Fragment and Lost Song, both of which I own. I haven’t played Lost Song yet (gasp!) because I am playing other things at the moment. Hollow Fragment, on the other hand is digital only in North America. Unlike Dark Souls, Hollow Fragment’s story takes place during an existing point in the anime. It is a non-canon storyline that takes place towards the end of the first half of Season 1. It’s an action RPG. Unlike your typical RPG though, you don’t start the game at level 1. Your level and that of your recruitable partners is much higher to fit the story’s narrative, which is just before the Aincrad arc ends.
Sinon, who is introduced in Season 2 of the anime is a playable character in this game. The obvious problem from a lore standpoint is she never was in Aincrad in the canon. The game kinda gets away with this given she is introduced in the game before she is introduced in the Anime: The anime premiered in Japan almost a year after Hollow Fragment was released in Japan. I watched it on Crunchyroll so I can say that. If you want to buy this game, it is digital only.
4. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
I bought the game a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that unlike the previous two games, the game’s story mode is a a full retelling of the a portion of the canon storyline. The story begins during the Hidden Lead Village’s reconstruction after it is destroyed by Pain and ends with Kurama accepting Naruto, helping him fight Tobi. The secondary storyline introduces North American fans to Naruto’s father and the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze as well as his mother Kushina Uzumaki. The game was released during the filler episodes that aired before Naruto meets his mother in the Anime.
There are button prompts that pop up during pivotal fights in the game. Mess up and you take damage before retrying. There is also additional dialogue during the dialogue not shown in the Anime. Mostly because the game isn’t restricted in terms of how much content per episode they can put in the game. The game was released on the PS3 and well as the Xbox 360. The 4th game, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was released on the PS4 and Xbox One earlier this year.
3. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (Nintendo 3DS)
….Believe it or not, someone actually LOVED this game.
Folks are trying to pretend the game never existed even though the upcoming PS3 port is the exact same thing. The hate comes from the lack of gore in the 3DS game. No, seriously. It’s a SOLID game and stays true to the anime in terms of mechanics. The game’s Story Mode spans the entire anime series. You play as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Sasha and Levi. The meat of the game is the more open-ended Mission Mode: You create your own character and start your own legend as a member of the Survey Corps =D
Humanity in Chains also contains video clips from the anime (Japanese audio with English subtitles) as well as yes, the Opening we all know and love–how can you NOT love that on a portable game? The game is digital only, sells for $30 and is worth the price tag in my book if you call yourself a fan of Attack on Titan.
2. Dragonball: Xenoverse
Hailed by diehard DBZ fans as one of, if not best Dragonball Z game released since the Budokai games, Xenoverse mixes the done to death retelling of DBZ’s Sagas and custom characters to make a game with near-endless replay value. The game breaks the 4th wall a bit as you can chose to play as a Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Frieza-race or Buu-race character. The lore for those last two I just mentioned are being made in the spinoff anime series Dragonball Z Super, which began with the movie Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods. Anyways, Trunks summons you to join the Time Patrol, an interdimensional fighting force that is tasked with fixing abnormalities with the time-space continum. Someone is intenionally screwing with iconic battles in DBZ’s lore. Trunks can’t intervene himself (being Vegeta’s son and all) so he asked Shenron to bring you in to do the job in his place.
…The game is MASSIVE. That’s how it is. I bought the game digital on the PS3 but it was also released on the Xbox 360. The crazy thing more mind-blowing over this being #2 is two games tied for first =O
1. Dragonball Z: Legacy of Goku II/Dragonball Z: Buu’s Fury (Game Boy Advance)
…Surprised, I take it? So was I the first time I played Legacy of Goku II: It was a faithful retelling of the Androids Saga and the Cell Saga. Watching DBZ Kai the last few weeks reminded me of this fact. There is even a secret boss: Cooler. In addition, Hercule is an unlockable playable character in the late game. Buu’s Fury picks it up from there, spanning The Underworld Tournament to The Buu Saga. The secret boss is Broly in that game. Both games are action RPGs. Oh and yes, you can go Super Saiyan (or Super Namekian in the case of Piccolo in Legacy of Goku II) at will. You can also do fusions in Buu’s Fury, all at will. The games allow fans to relive their favorite battles or those new to DBZ to enjoy the story at a slower pace.
Both games were released halfway through the Game Boy Advance’s lifespan. If you want to find it, Amazon is the place to go since it was never ported or re-released on newer consoles. I first played both games when they were current so…yeah.
…Well there you have it. There may not be a whole lot of Anime that made the jump to video games but of the ones that do, few of them are as well received as half the ones on this list. This is just my list of personal faves. There actually IS another Anime I have in mind that was originally a visual novel. I found the review I wrote for it and realized I never posted it. That oversight will be correctly shortly.