Opinion: Why Anime Video Games Aren’t That Good

The anime fandom is growing. To a greater extent, more people are into anime and manga than ever before. In fact, it has bled over to the video game industry as well. Even before Japanese animation became more socially acceptable, which entirely depends on your social group, there were anime video games. Early on with the limited scope of engines back in the day, developers attempted to dip their toes in other forms, but in my humble opinion – most of them were awful.

Now, I’m not talking about Persona 5 and other original creations that take on a Japanese animation style. I’m talking about video games based on graphic novels. Granted, the worst adaptations out there are older and namely on handheld systems or previous generation consoles like the GameCube, Wii, and so on. It would be an understatement to claim these games as simply bad; in fact, they’re terrible. With that being said, there’s usually a positive aspect of two that may redeem itself in the eyes of true fans.

Just like fads, anime series live as long as the hype continues and sometimes it’s not very long. Though it seems like the Naruto franchise will never die as long as the creators continue to bust out more seasons, shows like Attack on Titan may very well die out sooner rather than later. Don’t even get me started on Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. Despite the positive reception it has received, Wings of Freedom was just not great (disclaimer: opinion), but it did have interesting features that made it tolerable and fun.

So, what exactly do I dislike about most anime video games? Many a times, it’s a rehashed story with an attempt to throw in an original character, which often results in a one-dimensional story. The mechanics are clumsy or clunky at best. Sometimes it seems these adaptations are just trying to get out a video game while the fandom fire is still high. The attempt to maintain the same Japanese animation style and transferring it to an interactive medium makes it look cheap, unless we’re talking about cut-scenes here.

Then again, my criticisms may be the reason why some people like them! Before someone claims that I’m a hater or a simple-minded basher, I do recognize there are good ones out there. Take Dragon Ball FighterZ, which was published by Bandai Namco earlier this year and received a favorable 9/10 on steam and rave player reviews. The particle effects are amazing, the controls and mechanics are relatively fluid, and they seem to be pulling out all the stops with DLC reveals. For a 2.5D fighting game, it has a lot going for it, which may ring especially true for DBZ fans.

Furthermore, anime video games are created for a niche audience, so of course it won’t take as widely as long-standing IPs out there. With that being said, do they all have to use the same engine? Those blocky outlines, odd textures, and clunky movements? Anyone remember Naruto: Clash of Ninja? Awful. Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire? Same. Even most of the sequels since then haven’t been great. That is until the latest addition, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.

Without a doubt, there will be plenty of people who are willing to fight tooth and nail to tell me I’m dead freaking wrong. But what I want to know is – is the game actually that good considering the gaming generation and technology that it is in, or is it just bias extended from the original medium?

In the end, perhaps I’m being too particular. Then again, it’s sometimes better to leave the anime or the manga series as they are – to be watched or read respectively. Now that I’ve said my piece, what do you think about anime video games? Is my opinion just a crappy one or do you agree? Better yet, tell me why I’m wrong in the comments section down below or start a conversation on the DFTG Facebook page. Want to stay redirect your attention elsewhere and stay up to date on gaming news as it happens 24/7? Follow us on Twitter!

Hoi Duong2131 Posts

Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.


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