If you want to know what the best anime games on PC are, we're here to help you figure out which ones you absolutely shouldn't miss. There's an awful lot of them around—videogames that have been adapted from specific anime shows and moves, and ones more broadly inspired by the medium.
It makes sense for there to be a lot of overlap between anime and games. Many character designers, writers, and voice actors work in both industries at once. Plus, there are plenty of game designers who grew up on Ghost in the Shell or Pokémon and went on to draw on that influence in their videogame work.
Gargantuan JRPGs, absurdly over-the-top fighters, crime-solving visual novels—take your pick. If you're looking for an interactive anime fix, read on for our faves. There's a bit of something for everyone.
The best anime fighting games
Dragon Ball FighterZ
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Release date: 2018 | Developer: Arc System Works | Steam
No game looks like an Arc System Works game. The company has perfected the combination of 3D and 2D animation with flashy fighting games like Guilty Gear and Blazblue, but the best example is Dragon Ball FighterZ. It turns brawls into proper anime battles, making sure you always see the best angle when you pull off a ridiculous move. And that's why it's the absolute best anime fighting game.
Not only is it beginner-friendly, DBFZ also makes you feel as powerful as no other fighting game, thanks to the anime factor—in Dragon Ball, throwing a foe into space or hitting them hard enough to take out most of the surrounding landscape are regular occurrences. Thanks to Arc’s stunning animation, FighterZ looks just like—if not better—than the original.
Read more: The charming story behind Dragon Ball's first PC fangame
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Bandai Namco Studios | Steam
Tekken 7 has assists and autocombos, but enabling them takes away buttons you need for other moves. It's not real beginner-friendly. Tekken 7 expects you to learn punishes and staple combos, to pay attention to frame data. (The fact it then sells frame data display as DLC is ridiculous, of course.) It's honest about its difficulty though, treating story mode as a tutorial because it knows most people play story mode to learn how to play. Well, that and to watch over-the-top cutscenes where Heihachi kicks missiles back at the people who shot them.
Developed for PC, and with a boisterously thriving online community dedicated to the platform, Tekken 7 is a fighting game worth dedicating hours and hours of your life to. At least until Tekken 8 comes along.
Read more: EVO 2019's best story was the unstoppable rise of Pakistani Tekken player Arslan Ash
The best anime JRPGs
Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition
Release date: 2019 | Developer: Bandai Namco | Steam
2023 games: Upcoming releases
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Bandai Namco's Tales series has introduced us to plenty of worlds that need saving since 1995's Tales of Phantasia, but Tales of Vesperia, originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2008, stands out thanks to the way it hits that old school JRPG sweet spot. Its protagonists are a group of lovable misfits who for the most part just happen across each other, the battle system is a mix between turn-based and real-time, and there's a traditional kaleidoscopic fantasy world to explore.
Tales of Vesperia also features fairly classic 2D visuals, with characters designed by mangaka Kousuke Fujishima and cutscenes by popular animation studio Production I.G. But more than just the visuals, it's the feeling of a grand adventure in faraway lands complete with everything from pirates to dragons and mysterious magical forces that makes Tales of Vesperia such a great JRPG.
Read more: What makes a great anime game
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Release date: 2019 | Developer: Level-5 | Steam
With Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch a game finally captured the trademark charm of Studio Ghibli. The makers of such beloved movies as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away were involved in Ni No Kuni's creation, producing its animated cutscenes. And while Ni No Kuni wasn't written by anyone at Ghibli, Akihiro Hino, who worked on games such as Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest 8 and 9, and the Professor Layton series, managed to hit the same heartwarming notes.
Ni No Kuni works for both children and adults in exactly the same way as many Studio Ghibli movies, telling fairytales in which young heroes gain the power to save multiple worlds—mostly by cramming loads of food into their mouths, capturing weird critters, and then rushing off into peril.
When you're done with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch you can move on to Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom. Although Studio Ghibli wasn't involved in creating the sequel it retains the distinctive animation style.
Read more: I regret to inform you Ni No Kuni's cute new MMO has blockchain crap up its sleeve
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade
Release date: 2021 (PC) | Developer: Square Enix | Steam, Epic
Sure, recent years have buried us in remakes. Don't let that put you off Final Fantasy 7 Remake, though. It may look like a retelling of disc one's cyberpunk fable of a stratified city only with a more action-y combat system and some Akira-style motorbike chases thrown in, but the way it plays with your expectations and twists the story it knows you're anticipating is cleverer than you'd think. The combat's not the pure action it looks like either. The combos are just something you do to build up bars you need to cast spells and use abilities, dropping the world into slow-motion as you dig through menus for the attacks that do more than just chip damage.
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Think of Remake more like a verb than a noun. FF7R is about a struggle to remake the city of Midgar, the slum-protecting ecoterrorists of Avalanche trying to get rid of its reliance on the planet's lifestream for power and the Shinra Corporation trying to manipulate Midgar into a war they can profit from. Meanwhile, another force is out there trying to remake the familiar plot playing out against this backdrop. It's got layers, man. Just like the city.
While you're looking at fantasy of the final variety, don't go past Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age. Its gambit system gives it some of the best combat the series has ever had, and the PC remaster comes with improvements like a fast-forward button to double or even quadruple the speed to help you get through the slower bits.
Read more: Why the hell do they have mouths: a Final Fantasy 7 PC retrospective
The best open world anime games
Release date: 2017 | Developer: PlatinumGames | Steam
If you see the protagonist of Nier Automata out of context you might take her for one of the sexy body-pillow babes that give anime and its fans a bit of a bad rap (sometimes deservedly so, but that's a different story). But how many anime babes do you know who transform into