Digimon just received another new title to its collection that, much like the ones before it, seems to err on the side of good enough rather than great. While capturing the essence of the Digital World is a large task, it’s certainly not impossible. Quite frankly, it seems like each new title swings in the opposite direction of the one before it and ultimately misses the sweet spot for a great adventure RPG with our favorite digital monsters at its core. While 2015’s Cyber Sleuth seemed overly simple and rather repetitive, the latest title Digimon World: Next Order is overly complicated without any justifiable reason as to why.
Digimon World: Next Order has incorporated a new battle system that seems to be dividing some of the franchise’s fans. The new system means players have less control over their Digimon’s performance in each battle and will instead be relying on their bond with their Digimon to see if they will be able to make the right moves and ultimately emerge victorious. The game has only been out for a few days and players have already been complaining about the adventure’s difficulty level after less than 30 minutes of gameplay.
Unlike Cyber Sleuth, this title focuses heavily on the aspect of raising and training Digimon as opposed to the Pokemon-esque system that was incorporated in some of the previous games. Either way, the Digimon anime does a great job of pulling at heartstrings and crafting some unique adventures. The Digimon games, however, just feel too much like an afterthought that only truly caters to hardcore Digimon fans.
RWBY is an anime that has teamwork, great outfits, and unique weapons at its very core, which is what makes its video game counterpart a little disappointing. RWBY: Grimm Eclipse offers no real character customization or the ability to select different outfits from different seasons. It also fails to incorporate teamwork into gameplay unless you have friends to partner with online. Even more disappointing is the fact that while the anime highlights the unique features of a variety of different weapons, the game doesn’t really make each character’s arsenal feel significantly different from the others.
Playing with Yang feels very much like playing with Pyrrha, which feels very much like playing with Nora, which feels very much like…. well, you get the point. It’s only fair to mention that RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a fun-enough experience for its roughly $20-$25 price tag (depending on if you want to add team JNPR to the mix) but the RWBY series and its colorful cast of quirky characters and awesome weapons deserve a major RPG adventure title.
Bleach may be an anime with an intriguing storyline and a set of characters that feels more mature and complex compared to other anime series of the same genre, but those traits clearly didn’t cross the threshold into any of the games that the series inspired. It seems like the only thing the Bleach games had in common with their animated counterpart is that neither knew when to call it quits.
Just as the anime kept pumping out episode after episode even after the quality of the show seemed to deteriorate in later seasons, Bleach video games just kept coming despite their frustratingly unbalanced damage system and overall flat gameplay experiences. Ichigo and Rukia deserve much better.
Sailor Moon is a classic anime and manga that has a cult-like following and a new adaptation that is preparing to enter its 4th season. Unfortunately, Sailor Moon Crystal’s success still hasn’t brought forth any news of a new Sailor Moon video game.
The last game based on the beloved celestial heroines launched back in 2011, and even that was a simple 2D puzzle platformer that never saw beyond the boundaries of Italy. Earlier titles from the 90s, like Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Zenin Sanka and Sailor Moon: Another Story, were enough to at least showcase the fact that the series lends itself well to being adapted into a fighting game or RPG. For some reason, however, a new Sailor Moon game just seems to be a dream that will continue eluding us.
Yuyu Hakusho: Dark Tournament seemed to rely heavily on pure fan adoration to carry the game. Compared to most other fighting games on the market at the time, Dark Tournament just seemed sluggish and simple to a fault. Despite Yuyu Hakusho boasting a great cast of fighters throughout the series, there were no tag team elements within the game. If you’re a fan of discovering amazing combos to take advantage of in your fighting games, you’re also out of luck. Dark Tournament offers bland, basic combos that will bore you within the first few minutes of playing. This is the same anime where the main character is literally shooting people with his finger. It seems criminal that there isn’t a more entertaining game to capture the essence of a truly great anime series.
The Dragon Ball series may have some absolutely incredible fighting games to tout, but it seems like a classic anime that’s been running since the 80s would have much more to offer in terms of an engaging action RPG. The Legacy of Goku was an incredibly disappointing first attempt at such a title and even though its successors made improvements on the repetitive, awkward gameplay experience of the original, they all failed to stand out as truly great RPGs. Even more recent titles like Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 offer a great fighting experience while falling short when it comes to creating an engaging plot or a dynamic world to explore. The reality is that the vast collection of Dragon Ball video games is missing a beautifully crafted, open-world adventure game that allows you to really step into the shoes of a powerful Saiyan.
Naruto is yet another wildly popular anime series with some of the best fighting games on the market. Unfortunately, even an anime with a story that spans well over 600 episodes between the original Naruto series and Naruto: Shippuden still doesn’t have an elaborate adventure RPG that goes beyond simply stringing a series of battle sequences together. It would be a special treat to select a Naruto character whose story will carry you through a more adventure based game. Even a Naruto title that introduces the option to create a custom character with your own pool of fun jutsus to choose and upgrade as you play through an original story seems like a recipe for a truly stellar RPG experience.
There is hardly anything negative to say about Naruto’s successful fighting games (the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series is one incredibly impressive collection of the genre) but it just seems like some sort of less linear, more customizable and adventure-driven game should also be included in Naruto’s pool of successful gaming counterparts.
Vampire Hunter D
You would think an anime based on an actual series of novels would have a game that excels at storytelling, character development, and creating a world that is truly impacted by the player who inhabits it. Victor Interactive, on the other hand, would scoff at such a theory. The Japanese game developer truly disappointed fans of the Vampire Hunter D series with a game that seemed like a cheap Resident Evil rip-off with poor controls and graphics that were the only thing flatter than the actual gameplay.
Psycho-Pass is a crime series that takes viewers through a complicated, futuristic society that truly feels imaginative and unique. It introduces a world where a sort of brain scan can be used to determine just how likely it is that a civilian will commit crimes or otherwise be a danger to the general population. An anime such as this, which is shrouded in mystery and moral ambiguity, would make a wonderful RPG that could force gamers to make some tough decisions and struggle to compensate for their mistakes.
Unfortunately, this anime doesn’t really have much of a game at all. Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is more accurately described by many as a visual novel that doesn’t involve much real gameplay. Receiving an adaptation of Psycho-Pass that truly converts the anime into a RPG title would be a special treat for anyone who loves the series, as well as anyone who loves a delightfully eerie crime-based game.
Every Anime That Had a Character Featured in J-Star Victory VS
Have you ever played any of the Super Smash Bros. games and wished that you could partake in the same kind of arcade brawler type fun except with your favorite anime characters? Many people have. The concept of creating a fighting game around the most prominent and popular fighters in the anime world just seems like an idea that can’t go wrong. Sadly, it did. J-Stars Victory VS just might be one of the worst fighting games that ever hit shelves.
J-Star failed to really make each character shine through in a way that made them feel special; none played in a unique fashion that would set them apart from the other characters available in the game. This gameplay is about as flat as it gets and its sloppy visuals and poor plot just further solidify J-Star’s spot on a list of incredibly horrid fighting games. Fans deserve to have the ability to put Naruto up against Gon… just not like this. Not like this.
We’re roughly a month away from seeing Samurai Jack receive new life in its final season, coming to Adult Swim in March. It seems like the perfect time to see a new Samurai Jack video game, one that gives us the opportunity to slash through villains on our way to eventually defeat the tyrannical demon Aku.
The last embarrassing attempt at a Samurai Jack game gave the world a bland hack and slasher back in 2004 that lacked depth, a substantial story line, or any real difficulty. It even failed to give us a game that was at least as beautifully crafted as its parent anime. It seemed to simply let fans down on every level imaginable. Now is the time for a developer to push out a more intricate Samurai Jack title with a more technically challenging combat system and a dynamic gameplay experience throughout.
To be fair, the Fullmetal Alchemist games did actually attempt to make solid improvements with each new addition to the series. The unfortunate reality, however, is that those baby steps towards a better game simply weren’t enough to make a great experience come at the end of all that repetitive gameplay.
The progression of the games’ quality went from a “pretty mediocre” Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel that just “doesn’t feel finished,” according to Metacritic reviews, to an “entertaining enough” Curse of the Crimson Elixir that was at least enough to amuse hardcore fans and serve as a “slight improvement over the original.” By the time Fullmetal Alchemist 3: The Girl Who Succeeds God was released, most players had already given up hope, and the title struggled to sell less than 47,000 copies in its first month.
Sorcerous Stabber Orphen
There is always something particularly tragic about seeing an anime with a fun cast of characters receive a video game counterpart that lacks any real character development and refuses to even truly embody the personalities that make the original series feel so special.
At no point does Orphen: Scion of Sorcery really bring the characters to life. Instead of feeling like you actually have Cleao Everlasting or Majic Lin by Orphen’s side, you just feel like you’re running through a poorly constructed adventure with a pair of characters that just happen to be cosplaying anime characters. This RPG is average at its very best, if you can manage to look beyond huge chunks of bland and seemingly pointless conversation, a dull storyline, and a seriously lackluster gameplay experience. It’s merely an unfortunate addition to a list of anime-inspired video games that embody so little of the magic of its parent anime that even hardcore fans of the series can’t help but lower their heads in disappointment and back away slowly from their controller.
If Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is considered a disappointment for hardcore fans of the original anime, the entire collection of Inuysha games are little more than gigantic middle fingers to fans who have been following the sarcastic, snide half-demon dog since 1996. The game seems to borrow nothing from the anime outside of the appearance of the characters you will control as you explore a repetitive, bland world filled with uninteresting dungeons, all while trying to conquer the real enemy—an incredibly convoluted battle system that requires you to sift through multiple menus at every turn.
Perhaps the most confusing thing about the collection of games for Inuyasha is the fact that none of them seem to learn from the mistakes of their predecessor. Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel could only be described as an attempt to “shamelessly cash in on fanboys,” as IGN put it, and PlayStation Magazine slammed The Secret of the Cursed Mask as a “self-insert fan fiction: It’s just as trite and doubly as embarrassing.”
The Inuyasha games just don’t seem to give fans of the series anything to admire or celebrate, and they certainly refuse to give newcomers any reason to give them a chance. The Inuyasha anime series has entirely too many interesting characters, captivating plotlines, entertaining battle scenes, and complicated character relationships for it to not have an equally as dynamic adventure RPG.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender was an incredibly successful anime on so many levels. Whether you were seeking intricate character development, a storyline that keeps you guessing, epic action scenes, or some heartstring-pulling subplots with perfectly timed comedic relief, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a shockingly impressive anime—especially for a Nickelodeon show. Unfortunately, it received the usual anime-inspired RPG gone bad treatment in 2006. The video game of the same title was a mediocre display of lackadaisical sameness that would only appeal to a particularly young gamer who would prefer a simple button mashing experience. There’s not much action, not much emotional appeal, not much variety in gameplay, not much of… well… anything that you would look for in a great action adventure game.