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Ranking The Best 'Dragon Ball' Brawlers That Are Over 9,000!

We put on our scouters and rate some of our favorite Sauper Saiyan fighting games
by Karen Mae De Vera | Feb 17, 2018
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Most licensed video games are infamous for being inferior to the original source material. Oftentimes, the game strays far from canon and incorporates gameplay mechanics that wouldn’t make any sense in its established universe. With a mega anime franchise like the Dragon Ball series, we imagine the pressure to create a worthy video game adaptation was tenfold.

Fortunately, we had not just one but several video game titles that were worthy of the manga/anime series including this year’s insta-hit Dragon Ball FighterZ. Over the course of three decades, the video game series released some hits-and-misses, dabbling in shooters and RPGs until they found their rightful place in the fighting game circuit. How else can you display the amazing combat choreography and showmanship that’s already a trademark of DBZ, right? Read on below to find out which games will make you feel one step close to actually living in the Dragon Ball universe. (Because reality check: no matter how loud you shout IRL, you’re not gonna transform into a Super Saiyan.)

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Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout (1997)

Available in: PlayStation

Dragon Ball GT gets a lot of hate from the fandom due to not being penned by Akira Toriyama (although it was approved by him), thus making it non-canon from the manga series. So, being based on the most divisive series in the Dragon Ball franchise doesn’t do this game any favors. But if you manage to overlook the source material, it has solid gameplay. Final Bout is notable for being the first 3D-rendered Dragon Ball fighting game and impressive FMV intros, which looked good for its time. Besides, you can’ completely hate a game that makes Cell say this highly suggestive taunt: “You’re going to give me some pleasure, right?”

14. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (2014)

Available in: PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

What would happen if DBZ had a wrasslin’-style battle royale? Battle of Z allows up to eight players on the screen and four players to team up and perform group attacks. The major downside of the game though is the glaring absence of offline co-op, which was axed in order to improve the graphics. Battle of Z supports online multiplayer but it’s not quite the same fighting game experience as sitting on the same couch as your opponent. Gamer taunts and obnoxious Super Saiyan shouts are best seen and heard IRL.

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13. Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team (2010)

Available in: PlayStation Portable

When you see Goku and Vegeta team up and go full-on bash brothers on some alien mofo, then you know shit is about to go down! Tenkaichi Tag Team lets you relive those kinds of moments in the 2-versus-2 mode. What prevents it from earning a higher spot is the lackluster solo campaign and confusing tutorials. But if you stick to 2v2 or even try 1v2 (if you’re that confident in your skills), then you’ll have a good time.

12. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai (2002)

Available in: PlayStation 2

Budokai might not be the best brawler on the list but it laid down the foundation for DBZ fighting games in the new millennium. Most notably in terms of skill set customization and ultimate moves. The character models are looking a bit rough by PS2 standards, though. Even Dragon Ball non-fans won’t feel left out thanks to its story mode, which summarizes the whole DBZ series until the Cell saga.

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11. Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden 3 (1994)

Available in: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The oldest game in this list will definitely trigger the nostalgia filter of '90s kids. The retro fighter was innovative during its time with highly detailed playable characters who are able to fly up and engage in sky battles. If you fly high enough from your opponent, there will even be an anime style split screen.

10. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 (2010)

Available in: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

This video game is an indecisive player’s nightmare as it houses more than 100 characters in the roster, which will inevitably cause option paralysis. Raging Blast 2 features improved graphics and more playable characters compared to the previous installment. It might be a bit confusing to play for the noob as there isn’t a proper story mode. But hey, at least the in-game mechanics also mimic the fluid movements from the anime.

9. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (2008)

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Available in: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

If you’re the type of gamer who plays for the plot then you’ll be pleased with Burst Limit’s story mode. The Z Chronicles has some anime cutscenes interspersed with all the virtual action. It will make you feel like you’re progressing the plot first-hand. The brawling in this game requires more strategy as a fatigue meter keeps tabs on the amount of blocking you do. Maxing out will keep you in place for a few seconds, which is more than enough time for a role reversal from your opponent.


8. Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2 (2005)

Available in: Nintendo DS

SW2 is one of the better handheld fighting games out there and more importantly, it remains loyal to the original source. The game’s swift movements, power beam struggles, and ultimate attacks look like it was pulled straight from the actual series. There’s even a Maximum Mode for the hardcore fighting game enthusiasts who want a bit more of a challenge.

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7. Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden (2015)

Available in: Nintendo 3DS

The handheld title focuses mainly on delivering solid fighting game mechanics. So if you’re not really looking for some heavy plot (and you should probably know the Dragon Ball lore by this time) and just want to pull off a Meteor Combo and crush your opponent complete while you’re on-the-go, this one is for you.

6. Dragon Ball Xenoverse (2015)

Available in: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

You finally have your time to shine because Xenoverse ditches Goku and instead makes you (well, your customized character) the hero of the story. Help Future Trunks fix the timeline while brawling on land, air, and even water. Character customization selections range from Saiyans to even the Majin race. #diversity

5. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (2016)

Available in: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch

As if the previous game wasn’t good enough already, Xenoverse 2 adds even more features. There are more interactive battle stages, better camera angles (so you’re not stuck at an awkward angle while your foe is coming at you), and best of all, you can import your avatar from the first game into the sequel.

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4. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (2006)

Available in: PlayStation 2, Wii

The five-on-five versus battle keeps you on your toes, as you’re not reliant on just spamming one character’s attacks. With 129 fighters to choose from, you’ll take a long time deciding your team. You’ll have to be reactive depending on which fighter the opponent will send out next. Or maybe you’ll be fusing a pair of characters together to send out a stronger fighter? And all the fast-paced action unfolds in wonderfully cel-shaded glory.

3. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (2007)

Available in: PlayStation 2, Wii

Now with 161 characters to choose from, you could probably reenact the whole Dragon Ball Z series if you had time to kill. And bonus points for making you feel like a Super Saiyan when using the Wii’s motion controls as you perform a ki blast. And you can use Battle Replay, where you can save battles for later viewing—just to show off and further humiliate your opponent.

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2. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (2004)

Available in: PlayStation 2

It’s been 14 years since Budokai 3 was first released but it withstood the test of time. The fighters include characters from Dragon Ball up until Dragon Ball GT. Including the latter anime means that yes, you’ll see Omega/Syn Shenron unleash his Minus Energy Power Ball in full HD. Hell, even the Dragon Ball movies were shoved in there somewhere. The game is filled to the brim with content that would give your DBZ fanboy a geekgasm. The best part of Budokai 3 would have to be Dragon Universe mode, which plays like a choose-your-own-adventure story.

1. Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)

Available in: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The latest Dragon Ball fighting game makes good on the over-the-top action without sacrificing the solid fighting game mechanics. It takes care of the nitty-gritty problems faced in general fighting games. When your current character gets K.O.’ed and you need to swap a character from your team, the stage will reset and place you on opposite ends (to avoid mid-switch cheap shots). There’s also a last-ditch effort that can only be used once per match called the Sparking Blast, which activates when you mash all the attack buttons at once. There’s just so much going on in the game, including hunting for Dragon Balls while you’re fighting off your opponent. The gameplay is also easily accessible as there are now auto-combo moves that are easier to execute.The latest game elevates the Dragon Ball titles from a great licensed game to a highly technical, tournament-ready FG. In fact, Dragon Ball FighterZ will be included in the upcoming Evo. FighterZ isn’t afraid to make self-aware jokes at the expense of the source material. For instance, when certain conditions are met in a battle between Yamcha and Nappa, it will trigger the “Yamcha Pose” Dramatic Finish (A.K.A. That memetic scene where a tiny Saibamen insta-kills Yamcha via suicide bomb). What a time to be alive!

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