Dragon Ball Z: Xenoverse - Create your Own Warrior and Change History
The Dragon Ball video games are based on the manga series of the same name created by Akira Toriyama. From 1990, these games were released under the Dragon Ball Z banner, after the second anime television series. The games are of various genres, most prominently fighting games, role-playing games, and platform games, all featuring a varying roster of characters as depicted in the original series. Toriyama himself personally designed some of the video game original characters, such as Android 21 for Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mira and Towa for Dragon Ball Online, and Bonyū for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Dragon Ball games have been primarily released in Japan since 1986, with the majority of them being produced by Bandai. Games from the 16-bit and 32-bit eras were localized and released in France, Spain, Portugal, and other European countries due of the strong following the series already had in those countries. Up until 1994, with the exception of Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo (which was released as Dragon Power, and was graphically altered), no games were localized for the North American market.
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In 2000, Infogrames acquired the license to produce and release Dragon Ball games for the North American and international market. With the release of their first two titles in the franchise, 2002's Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, Infogrames more than doubled their sales. In January 2004, Atari paid $10 million for the exclusive US rights until January 2010. In 2008, Atari announced that over 12.7 million video game units based on the series had been sold since May 2002. Dragon Ball was Atari's top-earning licensed property, earning $85 million in 2005 and accounting for over 49% of their annual revenue in 2008. However, with the expiration of the Atari deal in 2009, Namco Bandai Games assumed the North American and European distribution rights, starting with the 2009 releases of Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast and Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo.
By December 2014, over 40 million video games based on the franchise had been sold worldwide. The Dragon Ball Xenoverse series sold a further 14 million units between 2015 and 2021, Dragon Ball FighterZ sold over 8 million  and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot sold over 4.5 million units, bringing software sales to over 66.5 million units sold. In addition, the mobile game Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle has exceeded 300 million downloads and grossed over $3 billion. The Dragon Ball video game series has generated over $6 billion in total gross revenue, as of 2019.
In Goku Gekitōden, moving about and fighting is real time, unlike its predecessor. The game also features many extras, such as minigames and a tournament mode. Most characters from the Namek arc can be fought during the story mode, including ones such as Zarbon and Freeza's transformed states.
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Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku is a series of video games for the Game Boy Advance, based on the anime series Dragon Ball Z. All three games are action role-playing games. The first game, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku, was developed by Webfoot Technologies and released in 2002. The game was followed by two sequels: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, released in 2003, and Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury, released in 2004. In 2016, Webfoot Technologies claimed to be starting development of another sequel.
For those who pre-ordered the game this game through Amazon would receive an email with a code to download the Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden 2 They would also receive 6 extra Z Assist support characters via an additional code sent a few days following the games release. This extra content was also available through pre-ordering the game digitally via the Nintendo eShop or through purchasing the Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butōden New 3DS bundle.
The Budokai Tenkaichi games are 3D fighting games starring dozens of characters from the Dragon Ball Z anime. This teaser trailer doesn't indicate if the new game is Budokai Tenkaichi 4 proper or another spinoff entry, but either way, it's been a very long wait for fans of the franchise.
With there being well over 9000 video games based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga and subsequent anime, narrowing down the list to the best titles of all time is far from an easy feat. Admittedly, this is less about being spoiled for choice and more a case of there just being a ton of mediocre Dragon Ball games that barely try to stick out from the crowd.
Updated April 8, 2023 by Mark Sammut: While no new Dragon Ball game has been released in 2023, a huge one has been announced. Will the upcoming title sit alongside the best Dragon Ball games once it becomes a reality?
Released in 2014, Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Z didn't exactly receive a standing ovation. In fact, it is one of the franchise's lowest-rated modern games, with criticism being leveled at its by-the-numbers storyline and overly simplistic combat.
While not up to much on consoles, Battle Of Z fares much better on Sony's PS Vita. Along with the game looking great and running quite smoothly, Battle of Z differentiates itself from other Dragon Ball games by emphasizing team-building and co-op play. Even in the lengthy single-player mode, the focus is more on crafting a balanced team rather than the combat. There are better Dragon Ball games on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but the same cannot be said for the PS Vita.
Like with any popular anime property, Dragon Ball has spawned more than a few mobile games. The main two are Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle and Dragon Ball Legends, both of which have been around for a few years and feature original storylines. Trepidation towards mobile titles is to be expected, particularly free-to-play ones, but these two titles are better than average.
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle has quite a unique twist on gameplay. The anime game incorporates puzzle elements, forcing players to think their way through battles. Dokkan Battle cannot compare to the franchise's best Dragon Ball Z games on consoles, however, in the world of mobile gaming, it is a respectable entry.
Split into episodes and featuring solid 3D visuals for the DS, Origins plays quite well and comes packed with plenty of endearing nods to Akira Toriyama's property. The sequel is also decent, making the Origins series a worthwhile pick for anyone looking for Dragon Ball adventure games.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is the forgotten game in a long line of DBZ games. Although it was the first DBZ title for the Xbox 360 generation and received a ton of hype at the time, Burst Limit isn't looked back upon too fondly nowadays.
While the Raging Blast series always felt like lesser versions of the beloved Budokai Tenkaichi, this doesn't necessarily mean that they were bad games. In fact, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is one of the more underrated fighters in the franchise. It even plays like a much more simplified version of Budokai Tenkaichi 3 which for some is welcome as BT3 is quite complicated for newcomers.
Unlike many fighters with massive rosters, this game actually introduces at least one unique technique per character which makes them stand out much more. Instead of retelling the story of the anime, the game has "Galactic Missions" which are isolated fights that focus on a path for characters from Goku to Tarble. It may be a lesser version of later games on the list, but it's still a solid time.
Most people assume that the Budokai line of Dragon Ball games ended with Budokai 3, but that's not actually correct. There were sequels on the PSP, one of which is the underrated Dragon Ball: Shin Budokai - Another Road.
Released in January 2020, one would think that DBZ games have told the main story enough times at this point that players would be fed up with it. But DBZ: Kakarot proves there is still juice left in the fruit.
While not especially fun to revisit in this day and age since the trilogy has been outdone by many subsequent games, Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden is important for the franchise's gaming history. This title arguably marked the first time that a DBZ felt authentic to the anime, at least in terms of presentation and action.
All three titles are solid 2D fighters akin to the early Street Fighter games, although nowhere near as good as the best '90s entries in Capcom's license. Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden 2 is the pick of the bunch, although they are all quite similar.
Following the Budokai Tenkaichi series, Dragon Ball's console games hit a bit of a rough spell. Burst Limit has solid combat but suffers from a limited roster, Ultimate Tenkaichi may as well have "out of ideas" stamped on the box cover, and Battle of Z is a decent team-based action RPG pretending to be a fighting game.
Released in 2004, Budokai 3 was the pinnacle of Dimps' run of 2D fighting games on the PlayStation 2. With tight combat mechanics, gorgeous cel-shaded graphics, and an expansive "Story Mode" boasting campaigns for eleven different characters, Budokai 3 is everything a fan of the series could possibly desire.
Considering the Game Boy Advance's The Legacy of Goku has a better chance of landing on a list commemorating the worst Dragon Ball games, the sequels securing such a high spot is honestly remarkable. Focusing on the Cell and Majin Buu Sagas respectively, The Legacy of Goku 2 and Buu's Fury highlight the source material's sense of adventure that is often left unrepresented by the majority of adaptations.
Mark Sammut grew up on the PlayStation 1 and has been playing games ever since, although he is no longer limited to just Sony consoles. Be it RPGs, shooters, platformers, or fighting games, Mark's area of expertise covers a wide range of genres and topics. That goes beyond video games as well, extending to mediums like anime and film.