When you get into the world of anime, you’ll find that there’s an endless pit of TV shows, movies, and manga you can go through. They vary in topics, genres, and general tone, as they can be both cheerful and painfully depressing. You can stumble upon anything from joining a book club which ends up being suicidal to getting chased around by humanoid monsters from outer space. When anime became a part of the gaming community, it came as no surprise that the games had as much variety. The possibilities with anime are pretty much endless. Game developers tried and, for the most part, succeeded in replicating that on PC.
PC gamers can now enjoy a wide variety of games, both story and gameplay-wise. You can choose from JRPGs (that’s Japanese-styled RPGs, for those of you unfamiliar with the term), MMOs, and games whose storyline is based on some of the most popular anime shows. For instance, you can take control of some of your heroes, such as Goku from Dragon Ball, or Naruto from… Naruto. We’ve also included a game based on Attack on Titan in our list. Furthermore, there will be some titles you probably haven’t heard of before. Who says gaming has nothing to do with learning?!
Anime games are usually on the cheaper side, so you can enjoy the famous Japanese animation even if you don’t have money to throw around willy-nilly. Some of the releases in this list (ArcheAge and Doki Doki Literature Club!, for instance) are completely free of charge but don’t lack in depth and quality compared to other pay-to-play games. Here are some of the best anime games you can play on your PC.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is perhaps the most legendary anime game out there. It lets you transfer yourself into a courtroom, where you can do your best Denny Crane impressions. There’s a strange feeling of satisfaction when you see out that justice is served as if you’re a part of some monumental case that involves the likes of OJ Simpson and Steven Avery. When you turn on Making a Murderer, there’s nothing much you can do but sit pointlessly and yell at the lawyers for asking the wrong questions and neglecting some pieces of evidence.
With Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, we’ve received the chance to be responsible for how someone’s life will pan out — will they face a prison life, hoping that the soap will never drop, or will they be free to walk away?
In the game, you’re the courtroom star, and now, after two decades of waiting and pleading, we’ve finally received a PC version. Hail Tezuka! Although they haven’t made adaptations of every release and spinoff, the principal titles of this series are available. Now you can deliver justice by clicking on a mouse!
If you somehow haven’t played the game before, it revolves around you assuming the role of Phoenix Wright, a rookie attorney who builds his way up to judicial fame. You have to carefully prepare your case, going through the tiniest of details so you can find some hidden evidence that will launch the case in your favor. The melodrama of expressing your knowledge in front of a packed courtroom is riveting! Just make sure you don’t go to your workplace and scream “Hold it!” and “Take that!” to your colleagues.
If you’re looking for high-octane combat fun which takes place in a huge map with captivating graphics, well, look no further. TERA is an MMO which takes place in Arborea, a fictional world with monsters and unforgettable sights. The game just doesn’t want to go into retirement — it still has a grand playing base, despite being around since 2011.
Bluehole, the developer company behind the game, still works on updating the gameplay and creating new modes, so that those who’ve been playing for the past eight years still have something to come back to. Now, progressing through levels is quicker, the dungeons are tougher to defeat, and they have completely revamped battlegrounds. You can challenge BAMs (big ass monsters) on your own or with your friends. TERA is one of the best and most expansive PC anime games you can find.
Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul is an MMORPG with a lot of combat action. They place you in a fantasy world (with incredible aesthetics), which they based on Chinese mythology. What makes this game different from other MMOs is that it focuses on your skills. There are character stats, and you can upgrade your weapons, but, executing a move perfectly will always be an advantage, no matter who your opponent is. In fact, you can use a character with novice equipment, but if you’ve mastered the art of counters, timing, and linking combos, you’ll defeat your enemy, which makes learning the gameplay very rewarding.
When you start the game, you have to create your own character, and there are four races to choose from. Races, as you can see, are influenced by Chinese symbols. You can pick one from the Jin (tortoise), the Lyn (white tiger), the Gon (dragon), and the Yun (vermilion bird). After that, there are further distinctions in the shape of subclasses, such as Soul Fighter, Summoner, Blade Dancer, Kung Fu master, and Assassin.
From then on, there’s a lot of character customization you can do to create a unique player character. The game consists of PvP duels and NPC quests. When you’re not on a quest, you can just go around and explore the huge map and enjoy the sights of forests, mountains, and rivers.
MapleStory 2 fulfilled the potential that the original game promised but ultimately failed to deliver. Nexon, the Korean developer, came out with this MMO in July 2015. The game comes with vibrant colors and rich graphics, which are so flamboyant that made our little weeb hearts tingle with joy.
MapleStory 2 presents you with innumerous options for you to customize your character, making it look as cute as it is threatening. You can also design your own home in the Maple World and work on building it from scratch. There are two classes — Assassins and Heavy Gunners — and, logically, depending on your choice, your gameplay and strategy will differ. Heavy Gunner is a tank-type class which yields heavy damage, while Assassins demand a stealthier approach.
When you enter the Maple World, you’ll be able to participate in public events, mini-games, dungeon raids, and many other modes in which you can team up with your friends. If you’re a fan of both MMOs and anime, this is a must-play game for you.
ArcheAge, as we’ve already mentioned, is a free game. It’s one of the best MMOs for that price that you can find. In the game, you’re in charge of your kingdom. You can build breathtaking castles with impenetrable defenses, attack other kingdoms and conquer their territory, thus making a nation which spans across continents. As kids say these days, you can go and do the Mongol (nobody says that). There’s a lot of strategy involved, as you can’t just go around attacking people with all your forces — you have to watch your back for enemy’s counterattacks.
The game’s map is huge and you can go around and explore continents divided by seven seas. This is something not so common for anime games. Exploring the ArcheAge world can be fun, as you come across different areas. But, it’s rewarding as well, as you can trigger many side quests and gather loot. One hard decision you will have to face is — whether it is weirder to sing sea chanteys as you go along, or is it weirder not to?
New updates to the game mean that you can access PvP arenas, as well as PvE modes (player versus environment) and multi-player raids.
In 2014, En Masse Entertainment came out with this episodic RPG, which is free to play. In Closers, you become a part of Black Lambs — a team formed out of psychic teenagers who have to defend their world. Styled with beautiful animeation, aliens from another dimension invade your world and you have to make sure you prevail. At the beginning of the game, you have to create your ‘Closer’, a personal avatar which you can customize and which has its own narrative within the global storyline.
It’s an action-packed RPG. The combat system resembles mindless fighting games where you act like you know what’s going on, but you’re actually just mashing buttons, hoping for the best. You can choose a 1v1 PvP mode, or do co-op action. It’s an engaging anime game which you should definitely check out, especially because it’s free.
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
When the first game came out (Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch), PC gamers could only sit around and watch their console brethren enjoy this unforgettable game. However, in 2018, when the sequel went out, they made it available for PC and brought us one of the finest anime games out there. Studio Ghibli isn’t featured in the sequel, but there’s plenty of other stuff to look forward to.
You start off at the moment in time when Otto Mausinger is the ruler of Ding Dong Dell, the idyllic Ni no Kuni society. He’s removed king Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum from his position and is now running the show. Your job is to take the Ni no Kuni kingdom back from the Mausinger’s evil claws.
You begin working on Evermore, an entirely new civilization that you have to bring up from the dust. You do so by recruiting people and specialists. As the story progresses, you will have to face your enemies in large scale battles, which take an RTS mode (real-time strategy, where both you and your enemy move around at the same time).
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Did you really expect there would be an anime list without mentioning Dragon Ball? Released in 2018, Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the finest fighting games there are. Admittedly, it’s not on the same level as legendary Mortal Kombat and Tekken, but it’s arguably the greatest fighter with an anime theme. It’s only fitting that it features DBZ characters, one of the most popular Shonen Jump animes, alongside Naruto, of course. It’s an authentic game, with the graphics directly coming straight from the show, as every kick, punch, and spirit ball looks as it does in the series.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has a huge character cast which you loved and loved to hate in the series. From the major characters such as Goku and Piccolo, or some minor ones like Bulma and Android 17, you will be able to pick whomever you liked the most.
Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2
Another game based on the same series, Bandai Namco Entertainment released Xenoverse 2 in 2016. Xenoverse 2 is an MMO with a fan-service-filled storyline which doesn’t look out of place in the DBZ universe. The game is ambitious, with engaging graphics and battles that look as compelling as those in the series.
You can fly around different landscapes and complete side quests with your friends in order to level up and become more powerful. Characters from the series will engage with you in arena battles, where you will have to have a variety of abilities if you wish to defeat them.
Dragon Quest XI
What would be one of the most amazing things that can happen to you? If your answer is “wake up one day and discover that you’re the reincarnation of a legendary hero-warrior”, do we have a game for you! Perhaps unexpectedly, in Dragon Quest XI, the exact scenario happens. You play as a young man who now embarks on an adventure following this groundbreaking revelation. On this journey, you go to find out about your past and solve mysteries along the way. Basically, nothing out of the ordinary for an anime/videogame adventure storyline. The gameplay itself consists of turn-based fights and side quests.
The suffix “XI” is not there by chance. It’s the eleventh installment of this game, with the first one seeing the light of the day back in 1986. Akira Toriyama, an anime artist famous for his work on Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, has designed the characters in all of the eleven editions. His recognizable style of using bright colors and creating magical worlds give this game a special dose of personality.
Doki Doki Literature Club!
Doki Doki Literature Club! is a free-to-play indie game (although the DLC comes with a price of $10). When it came out in 2017, it soon became wildly popular, more than people expected it to be. Hundreds and thousands of pages of the written word went into the creation of this game which is all about the story. In fact, the storyline is the game! You select answers and replies to the dialogue and that way choose how the game will pan out.
It’s a confusing game which will trick you hard if you don’t know what to expect. Team Salvato decided to design the game with cute and cheerful aesthetics. The visual novel takes off with your neighbor inviting you into a high school literature club which, surprisingly to you, has only female members. It starts off jolly, with your deciding who of the four girls will be your love interest. However, the story soon takes an unexpected, dark turn, which will have you depressed if you don’t know what’s awaiting you.
The game, which received over two million downloads, will give you great fun and a rollercoaster ride with its several-hour long campaign. Just remember, it’s not suitable for kids and those who get easily distressed.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst
Alongside Dragon Ball, Naruto Shippuden is the frontrunner of the anime genre as a whole. Books, TV shows, games — you name it, they have it. Naruto is arguably the most popular show, and most anime fans have been introduced to the Japanese cartoon world via this show. There are 500 Naruto Shippuden episodes, and to fully understand what’s going on in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst, you’ll need the knowledge gained from watching these episodes. Although, to be frank, it’s a fighting game, so knowing the intricacies of the storyline is not something that’s a must. Oftentimes, you are just the one to control a ninja who can punch enemies to death.
It’s a classic fighting game, where you have to fight your way through a 12-hour-long campaign where they take on some of the common Naruto themes, like brotherhood and friendship. Along the way, you’ll need to make your own decision about which road you’ll take storywise. This way, you can stick to the story from the series, or branch off from it. Aside from fighting, you can get involved in side quests, item collecting, and customizing your character.
Full Burst is a re-release of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. In it, they introduced new skins and costumes, as well as a new story chapter and a Challenge Mode. In the Challenge Mode, there are over 100 new missions which unlock new items upon completion.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
When you’re a kid, there are these insolent grownups who keep giving you hope that one day, during a boring maths class, some magical being will come to tell you that you’re transferring to a magical school. Yes, most kids believe it will be Hogwarts or X-Mansion, but it was different for Hajime Hinata. All that Hajime, the protagonist of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, ever wanted was to attend Hope’s Peak Academy. He (who you control) accomplishes his dream and gets to go to the school for “Ultimate” students.
This is where the game starts to unfold. Much to Hajime’s disappointment, on the opening day, when you meet your teacher, Usami, classrooms melt away into a deserted tropical island. From this point on, the story becomes dark. You face weird characters along the way. Gameplay revolves around investigating missions where you find clues to figure out what has happened.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Remember Super Famicom? Yeah, we neither! It was a Nintendo console popular back in the early 1990s. On it, you could play the initial installment of the Star Ocean series. But it wasn’t until November 2017 that there was a PC game related to this series. Then, they made a 4K remastered version of Star Ocean: The Last Hope. This was the fifth installment in the series, but, storywise, it’s a prequel, so it represents a great starting point for those of you unfamiliar with the Square Enix series.
In it, as is often the case with anime-themed games, the world is but a few moments away from absolute destruction. The story places you in a period shortly after a fictional Third World War, which had devastating consequences for humanity, due to the fact they (over)used WMDs.
You can pick one of the nine playable characters and your job is to find a new place for humanity to settle and prosper once again.
Attack on Titan
If you’re a fan of the manga and the TV show, you’ll feel familiar with this game. It takes you through cities, forests, and other places that you’ve already seen, and it will give you a special feeling when you find yourself in these well-known locations.
Attack on Titan, released in 2016 by Omega Force, is a hack-and-slash action game. The storyline revolves around some of the key moments from the AoT manga, which happened in the opening 33 chapters. You control Eren, who, together with his companions, take on humanoid giants who seek nothing but human blood. These mindless giants are, of course, Titans. It starts off slowly, but as you progress through the game, it picks up the pace and gives you action-packed gameplay, which you can enjoy in both single and multi-player.
Tales of Symphonia
In 2016, they decided to make this game available for PC, after it being originally a GameCube release. This is the fifth installment in the Tales series and represents perhaps its best release yet. Gameplay revolves around RTS battles, during which you can play around with multiple strategies, spells, and techniques. Tales of Symphonia provides us with captivating gameplay and memorable storyline.
The developers drop you into Sylvarant or the Declining World. The fate of the whole world hangs in the balance as evil tries to take control of it and depletes mana sources. According to a legend, the Chosen One, which just so happens to be you, will come to the world and save the homeland. And, voila, that’s how the game begins!