The library of Dragon Ball video games is an extensive one, and with the release of Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission it’s only getting bigger. Some are far better than others though, so we’re here to rank the top 15 best Dragon Ball video games to date.
Note that this list only includes Dragon Ball games that received official localizations. As a result, titles that were only playable in the west via emulation haven’t been included.
15. Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission
Trading card games are nothing new to the Dragon Ball franchise, and more often than not they don’t land with the fan base.
That makes it all the more exciting that Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission manages to provide a great experience that’s fun for fans of both the Dragon Ball universe and trading card games.
As an original character enlisted to help save the Dragon Ball universe from a new threat, players must construct a deck from cards based on thousands of different dragon ball characters and attacks from across the series and its spin-offs.
As such, there’s a huge amount of depth for Dragon Ball fans. There is almost an endless number of combinations and strategies to test out, and the game takes on an air of a fanfiction brought to life in the best way possible.
Admittedly, there are some issues with the game. Having originally been an arcade title, the graphics aren’t spectacular and some of the tactile input doesn’t carry over as well as it could.
Overall though, it’s a fine addition to the roster of Dragon Ball games and a new benchmark for TCG titles tied to the property.
14. Dragon Ball Origins
Marking the property’s handheld titles’ first jump to 3D, Dragon Ball Origins offers an innovative and charming take on the series’ first arc that still carries through today.
Adapting Dragon Ball’s story up to Goku’s first World Tournament, the top-down action game allows players to guide the musclebound monkey boy through his earliest adventures.
This includes his first meetings with Bulma, Yamaha and several other key characters, all adapted in polygonal 3D cutscenes.
Gameplay, meanwhile, utilizes the Nintendo DS’ hardware wonderfully. For every segment that sees players mashing the attack button, there are just as many that utilize the mic and touchpad for special attacks, puzzles and more.
It isn’t without downsides – namely that it adapts a fairly small part of the series and the graphics haven’t aged well since its release – but it’s still a standout title for its ambition and execution.
13. Dragon Ball Z Budokai
Though it may have once been the best-known line of Dragon Ball games out there, the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series only accomplished the feat thanks to how good the first entry was.
Featuring fully rendered 3D cutscenes that retold the first three arcs of Z, the game featured a deceptively deep combat system.
Like Mortal Combat, knowing how to string combos together was key to victory and allowed players to pull off lightning-fast combos on par with something fans had seen in the show.
Admittedly, this did mean the game had a high difficulty curve and could lead to moments of frustration when an enemy demands split-second button inputs.
And yet, at its core, the game remained a faithful homage to the series fans couldn’t wait to play, giving the franchise’s video game support a shot in the arm they’re still feeling the effects of today.