Dragon Ball Z easily dominates the anime charts when it comes to the sheer number of high-quality titles that have been released over the years. The story of Son Goku might feel like it has been told over 9,000 times already, but it’s still endlessly entertaining and has produced some of the best games in the anime adaptation genre over the years. A new Dragon Ball Z game is never too far away, and with the bar regularly being raised for what the franchise is capable of, there have been more hits than misses over the years. Pity the same can’t be said for Krillin’s fighting record in Dragon Ball Z.
We’ve gathered a list of ten of the best Dragon Ball Z games below, each one a winner in their own right, and ranked them accordingly. From forgotten gems to esports-defining masterpieces, these are the best Dragon Ball Z games you can play right now.
10. Dragon Ball Z: Attack Of The Saiyans
Dragon Ball and the RPG genre pair up better than Yamcha and a cheap death, with Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans on the Nintendo DS being possibly the purest exploration of the JRPG genre through a Goku lens. While it’s primarily focused on just Dragon Ball Z’s original Saiyan Saga, Attack of the Saiyans is a surprisingly lengthy game with a terrific amount of content and slick turn-based RPG gameplay that requires some quick reflexes. It’s a time-sink of a game, but it’s still well worth grabbing a DS and a copy of this underrated game for a terrific afternoon of number-punching action.
9. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
For a game that was released in 2008, Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit still looks fantastic when you see it in action. To its credit, it was a fighting game with both style and substance, cunningly hiding its real power beneath a gameplay system that appears to be simplistic at first. That’s not even its final form though, because once you dig deeper, you’ll find a game that provides fast-paced martial arts, fantastic recreations of iconic moments in the series, and a modest but well-crafted roster of characters.
Read our Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit review.
8. Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors
While you can usually count on a Dragon Ball game to retell a familiar story–I do hope no harm befalls Krillin on Namek this time–Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors was a blast to play thanks to its remix of key moments in the series. Characters who were normally used to keeping the benches warm were given a chance to shine, while the gameplay on the Game Boy Advance was exciting from any distance. Aerial combat was definitely emphasized, but whether you were going in close for a haymaker or preparing to launch a Kame-Hame-Ha beam, it was always entertaining.
Read our Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors review.
7. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
One of the more recent entries in the Dragon Ball video game series, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot played like a fusion of the Xenoverse fighting games with a heavier emphasis on narrative-driven RPG gameplay. Taking place across the usual sagas, the end result was game that was more character-driven, looked fantastic, and was home to thrilling battles against some of the deadliest foes in Dragon Ball. Numerous small stories and character interactions also played a key part in the experience, creating a highlight reel of Goku’s life that left no stone unturned.
Read our Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot review.
6. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast feels like a Michael Bay take on Goku’s adventures. It didn’t do anything new and it had weird camera angles, but it also had jaw-droppingly gorgeous to look at thanks to some incredible cel-shaded graphics that have withstood the test of time. Playing similarly to the Tenkaichi games that came before it, Raging Blast is easily-digestible action that offers fluid, fast and furious gameplay. A fun game to pick up and play at any given time, it even threw in some extra fan service by giving fans dream matches with two powerhouses in the form of Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta and Broly.
Read our Dragon Ball: Raging Blast review.
5. Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy Of Goku series
We’re cheating a little bit here by counting an entire trilogy as one game, but it’d be challenging to leave any of the Legacy of Goku Game Boy Advance games off of this list. An action-heavy RPG set across the Dragon Ball Z saga, each Legacy of Goku perfectly captured the fun spirit of the source material and created a charming adventure in the process. Like Dragon Ball, it’s a game where punch-powered self-improvement is part of the core drive, helping you level up for the deadly challenges ahead. Cute but deadly–just like Majin Buu–this trilogy could easily devour hundreds of hours of your time.
Read our Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku 2 review
4. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
In the 2000s, battle lines were drawn between fans of Dragon Ball Z’s Budokai Tenkaichi series and the Budokai games. While Budokai was as close to a pure fighting game that could be–much to the delight of Super Butoden 2 fans–Budokai Tenkaichi 3 offered a more well-rounded arena-based setup that would influence future games in the Dragon Ball Z series. A gigantic roster of characters, eye-catching visuals, and explosive ultimate attacks made this third chapter a cult favorite for years to come.
3. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2
Years after it first launched, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 is still going strong thanks to its rock-solid gameplay and a healthy number of players. Improving on the first game in almost every department, Xenoverse 2 hooked players in with its engaging combat, light RPG elements, and heavy customization that allowed them to create a warrior who could help save the cosmos. An original story, several ‘what if’ scenarios, and the challenge of earning Z-ranks across dozens of challenging battles made this an absolute time-sink of a game, while a regular flow of additional content only added to its appeal and value over the years.
Read our Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 review.
2. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
For many years, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 was considered to be the best pure fighting game in Akira Toriyama’s beloved manga and anime franchise. It had a gigantic roster of characters, the story mode was fun from start to finish, and the gameplay mechanics were beautifully polished. Every battle felt exciting, the rock-paper-scissors element never grew old, and if there was a dream match-up in your head then you could recreate it inside of the game.
Plus any game that does Super Saiyan 4–the best Dragon Ball Saiyan transformation–this much justice, deserves to be recognized for its brilliance.
Read our Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 review.
1. Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ is the gold standard for the franchise when it comes to video games. It’s a hard-hitting and stylish brawler that doesn’t just feel great but looks spectacular in every single frame of energetic animation. Guilty Gear studio Arc System Works raised the bar for what a licensed fighting game could be, as the studio combined its philosophy for old-school arcade action with incredibly faithful adherence to the source material. It’s a thrill to play when you’re chilling out on the couch, and you can feel the intensity of its action in the competitive scene in this masterpiece of explosive fun.
Read our Dragon Ball FighterZ review.