Get ready to max out your Power Level and let your fighting spirit burn as we reveal the best Dragon Ball Z games of all time.
The long running anime and manga series has inspired dozens of game adaptations. The first Dragon Ball Z game, Dragon Ball Z: Kyōshū! Saiyan, arrived in 1990 for the Famicon and sold nearly one million copies after previous ‘Dragon Ball’ titles failed to set the world alight.
Following the release of Kyōshū! Saiyan, the Dragon Ball Z franchise has appeared across multiple platforms including the Sega Saturn, Game Boy Advance, Xbox and PC to name a few.
Wherever gamers like to go Super Saiyan, there’s a Dragon Ball Z game waiting for them.
The Dragon Ball Z games typically fall into one of two genres; RPG or beat ’em ups and our list of the best Dragon Ball Z games of all time showcases the greatest games in the series for players who love anime fisticuffs or stat grinding or both!
Table of Contents
1. Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)
The best Dragon Ball Z game of all time is, without a shadow of a doubt, Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Dragon Ball FighterZ distills the energetic and bombastic fights from the anime into an electric beat ’em up full of devasting combos and insane pyrotechnics.
It’s hard to convey just how good Dragon Ball FighterZ looks in motion. The animations for each character are flawless and brief animated sequences punctuate each brawl.
The game successfully translates the feeling of the anime through inclusions of powerful super moves that can see characters launched across the screen before crashing through mountains in moments that never fail to delight.
Developers Arc System Works have crafted a beautifully balanced brawler that allows newbies to easily learn the basics while enjoying high-octane action. Dragon Ball FighterZ features deep and nuanced systems that will also keep genre die-hards happy for months.
The three on three battles are reminiscent of the best of the Marvel Vs. Capcom titles with a huge roster of familiar warriors to build your dream team.
We love Dragon Ball FighterZ so much that it even topped our list of the best anime fighting games.
2. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (2020)
Long time fans of the various eras of Dragon Ball will be thrilled to relive their favourite storylines in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
At launch the game covered four classic storylines; the Saiyan Saga, the Frieza Saga, the Cell Saga, and the Buu Saga before adding even more in DLC. There’s even brand new story content that builds upon some brief segments of the manga.
Kakarot’s playable roster is slim when compared to some other entries on our list but each of the controllable characters feature their own signature moves that light up the screen in spectacular battles during the many combat scenarios.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot isn’t just about throwing fists and blasting Ki though. While the combat confidently delivers on the arena brawler action, there’s an entire open world to explore.
The staples of the RPG genre are all present and correct in Kakarot. Players can fly around each location with air dashes or in their own hover car, collecting ingredients and resources for crafting and cooking, go fishing and discover side quests.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot includes a wealth of content and is a great way for newcomers to experience the series or for old fans to relieve their favourite moments.
3. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (2004)
The second all-out fighting game on our list of the best Dragon Ball Z games of all time, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 nails the feeling of going toe-to-toe in the Dragon Ball Z universe.
The combat refines the gameplay of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series and stands ahead of its predecessors with fast paced 2D fights.
The heavy cel-shading of each fighter means that this PlayStation 2 pummel-fest still looks relatively sharp today and special moves like the Kamehameha still impress with their vibrant laser blasts.
One of my favourite nods to the anime is the inclusion of mid-battle gameplay elements like the beam struggle. Goku and Vegeta blast each other with beams in the anime all the time and those tense moments can now be won or lost based on how quickly you can rotate the analogue stick!
Yes, it’s silly and it will more than likely destroy your DualShock 2 controller, but rapidly twirling your sticks to win an epic beam struggle is always great fun.
4. Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II (2003)
Just when you thought our list of the best Dragon Ball Z games of all time was going to stay locked on home consoles, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II Spirit Bombs onto the Game Boy Advance.
While it didn’t quite crack our list of the best Game Boy Advance games, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II is the easily the strongest entry for the series on a portable platform.
As a direct sequel to the first game in the series, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II continues the mainline Dragon Ball Z storyline until the end of the Cell Games Saga.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II is notable for introducing the transformation mechanic to the series. The inclusion of transformations introduced a risk/reward concept where players could trade their existing energy for a temporary boost in attacks power.
It wasn’t just combat that received an upgrade in The Legacy of Goku II, however, with side quests being added to flesh out the RPG side of things.
Enemies are varied with the usual array of trash mobs consisting of beasts, dinosaurs, ninjas and bandits bolstered by nearly twenty boss characters, including several tough optional opponents.
5. Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans (2009)
Monolith Soft developed Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans for the Nintendo DS back in 2009 and marks the departure of Atari as the series publisher, with Namco Bandai taking the reins ever since.
In stark contrast to the majority of games on our list, Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans doesn’t feature high-octane, real-time combat and instead adheres to a turn-based RPG system like early Final Fantasy games.
Each conflict plays out with three members of your party warring against the opposition. Basic attacks and techniques can be used to fill the Rage Gage, which can be used to unleash a tremendous tag team attack known as a Sparking Combo.
The dual screen of the Nintendo DS comes into play by cleverly positioning all of the menus and stats onto the touch screen, leaving the top screen free for all the Dragon Ballin’ action.
Outside of combat, players can explore the world and look for secrets and collectibles. Fans of metroidvania games will appreciate that the whole world isn’t open from the beginning with multiple routes and items locked behind obstacles that players must enhance their Ki to unlock.
6. Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors (2004)
The second GBA Dragon Ball Z game to grace our list is Supersonic Warriors from 2004.
This purebred pugilist from Arc System Works trims away any superfluous gameplay elements and delivers a laser focused brawler on the Game Boy Advance.
Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors successfully sidesteps any criticism of being shallow by including an assortment of gameplay modes for players to throw down in. The mandatory story mode alone features over thirty different scenarios across multiple storylines set in the Dragon Ball Z world.
If the plethora of anime goodness in story mode doesn’t entice you, there’s also a robust and brutal Challenge Mode and a ranked ‘Z Battle’. There’s even a Link Vs. Mode that enables gamers to unleash their might against their friends.
With tons of modes to play and the solid Link Vs. Mode, Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors is still worthy of your time twenty years after its original release.
7. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (2016)
One of the most recent titles on our list of the best Dragon Ball Z games of all time, Xenoverse 2 grants players the opportunity to make their mark on the history of the series.
Extensive character customization options allow players to create their own Dragon Ball fighter and take them across the reaches of Conton City. There are several races to choose from when building a character including Human, Siayan and Namekians to name a few.
You can see me all dressed up and ready to Kamehameha in the screenshot below.
More than just a physical choice, certain quests and transformations are race-specific so players wishing to experience everything in Xenoverse 2 will benefit from added replay value with multiple characters.
Gameplay once again focuses on combat with authentic anime visuals spicing up the 3D arena skirmishes. The action is frantic and fast and delivers the power fantasy of decking Piccolo as your own monstrous creation.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has been heavily supported by developer Dimps and publisher Bandai Namco post launch with over seven years of updates and additional content released for the game.
The game has been a smash hit for the franchise with over ten million copies being sold worldwide since launch.
8. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (2005)
Tekken Tag Tournament wasn’t the only beat ’em up exclusive to the PlayStation 2. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi first arrived on Sony’s sophomore console in 2005 and brought with it a third-person perspective for Ki-based knockouts.
The new viewpoint is a dramatic change for the series and takes a little while to get the hang of. Switching to a camera that follows the player makes the action feel a little claustrophobic at times but also delivers a fresh take on the adventures of Goku and co.
The story mode mixes up the formula further by requiring players to meet certain criteria during battles. These challenges range from using specific moves or ending fights in a particular style.
One of the most appealing elements of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi for Dragon Ball Z fans is the absolutely massive cast of playable characters! There are nearly 60 individual fighters to start with but that number balloons to over 90(00) when you consider the different versions and transformations of characters.
Daunting roster lists and action-packed dueling secures Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi a spot on our list.
9. Super Dragon Ball Z (2006)
Let’s make way for another PlayStation 2 title now in the form of the wonderful Super Dragon Ball Z.
Super Dragon Ball Z has an elite pedigree among its development team with Street Fighter II legend Noritaka Funamizu at the helm. It’s perhaps unsurprising then that the game has a distinctly ‘old school’ beat ’em up feel about it.
In fact, Super Dragon Ball Z features one of the most complex fighting systems of the entire Dragon Ball Z franchise, with tricks and techniques that wouldn’t be out of place in any modern e-sports tournament.
Environmental navigation is the key to victory in Super Dragon Ball Z. The 3D arenas are stages for teleportation, dashes and jumps that will grant the best players with prime positioning for attacks.
Super Dragon Ball Z isn’t just a technical powerhouse either. The game features gorgeous artistry with characters boasting detailed models all highlighted with precise cel-shading.
Super Dragon Ball Z is something of a hidden gem within the franchise but definitely one worthy of your time.
10. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (2008)
Burst Limit continues the trajectory of the Budokai Dragon Ball games with a heavy emphasis on lightning fast combos and pulverising Ki blasts.
A spiritual successor to the gameplay of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, Burst Limit includes mini cutscenes within its fights to faithfully reproduce the drama of the animated show.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is also notable for including multiple gauges during its three versus three rumbles, with a new fatigue bar that will leave players stunned once depleted.
One of my favourite gameplay modes from any beat ’em up makes an appearance in Burst Limit. Survival Mode pits players against waves of opponents and with a single health bar, encouraging challengers to excel in defence as well as offence.
A sturdy online mode made use of the network capabilities of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 and allowed combatants from all over the world the chance to prove themselves worthy of the highest power level.
While the PS3 version didn’t include trophies, players on Xbox could take on one of the hardest achievement lists out there, with xboxachievements.com awarding the game an intimidating 9/10 for estimate achievement difficulty.
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Theo first fell in love with gaming when he sped through Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1991. Theo has previously provided reviews, news coverage and articles for The Games Cabin and enjoyed producing comedic Let’s Plays on his own personal YouTube channels.
A huge Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear fan, Theo enjoys deep gameplay mechanics and complex storylines. A completionist by nature, Theo has earned over 140 platinum trophies including top digital trinkets for Stardew Valley, The Witness, Bloodborne and a plethora of GTA games.
Outside of gaming, Theo can often be found riding his motorbike, headbanging at gigs or out in the countryside exploring nature and marvelling at the ‘realistic graphics’.