Dragon Ball: A Video Game Retrospective

In amongst the media firestorm of news regarding the newly unveiled Playstation 4 and the confusingly-named Xbox One, the news of the latest Battle of Z game for current-gen consoles is quickly picking up steam.

It’s unclear when The Battle of Z is due to be released, although as we covered earlier previous fears that it would only make it to European shelves has since been quashed by Namco who announced that it will also see the light of day in North America, Brazil and greater Latin America. Whether there will be a delay between each continent getting the game remains to be seen.

The trailer, which suggests the game will be subtitled rather than dubbed, can be seen here:


From the scant details we have so far, the game looks set to be a winner – the decision to include single player, co-op and versus modes will no doubt prove to be a fine one and we’re already salivating over the cell-shaded HD graphics which harken back to the source anime.

While we’re waiting for more news (and we’ll keep you posted), let’s revisit some of the DBZ titles which came before it. There are plenty to choose from – nearly 60, in fact – so do let us know in the comments below if there are any personal favorites you think deserve another playthrough.

Dragon Ball: Dragon Daihikyō
Release: 1986
Platform: Super Cassette Vision

If you remember this one, you’re doing well. In fact, anyone who’s even heard of the Super Cassette Vision console is going back to the olden days of gaming.


Given that it’s the only DB game which had nothing to do with Namco or Bandai, and that it was released at a time that gaming technology was rather… limited, this top-down shooter isn’t really the best game in the canon but as it’s where it all started we feel it deserves some homage here.

Super Dragon Ball Z
Release: 2006
Platform: PS2

If you need any proof of Super DBZ’s credentials, consider that it nearly outsold Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros. for the DS in Japan when it was first released. Just think of that.


What was great about Super DBZ was the sheer amount of variance within the game itself. There were numerous modes in which to play, and getting the most out of them all practically resulted in weeks of solid, traditional Dragon Ball action.

Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku 2
Release: 2004
Platform: Game Boy Advance

Given that the combat of Dragon Ball lends itself well to the hand-held format, there are a number of good games on mobile platforms and the Game Boy Advance in particular.

The Legacy of Goku was not one of them.


The follow-up, however, was a massive step-up and successfully blended a strong RPG aspect with a compelling story and tight combat mechanics. Unfortunately, you’d have to wade through the lackluster predecessor in order to make sense of Legacy 2’s plot, but it’s well worth the effort.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Release: 2004
Platform: PS2, PS3, Xbox 360

There are as many poor DB video games as there are corkers, but as a whole it’s a rich and varied collection which delivers on so many levels – a combination of innovative game design and story-driven action mean that there’s something for everyone.

While all the Budokai titles were pretty neat, the third entry in the franchise holds a special place in our hearts. By the time they arrived at this point, all the kinks were ironed out and it not only played well, but it looked absolutely amazing. Incidentally, it seems like they’re modeling Battle of Z on this early cell-shading aesthetic.


Budokai 3 is a game we’ll keep coming back to, time and time again. The fighting never gets repetitive, and the secret little gems are compelling to find… anyone remember that hidden battle with Broly?

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Release: 2008
Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox

While its not without critics, overall Burst Limit is arguably the best title currently available on current console systems.


At the same time, this 2D title pushes the franchise forwards while also being true to its roots. The addition of cut scenes that explore the anime’s canon also helps cement the game in DBZ lore. Ad despite the slightly sloppy controls and less than optimal graphics, the gameplay as a whole is well-rounded for both single and multiplayer modes alike.

  • SuperSagejin

    My favorite Dragon Ball Z game was Budokai Tenkaichi 3, because of the mass amount of characters you could be.

    • http://www.dblegends.com/ Crono A7X

      That game was great but not just for their list of characters. The gameplay was awesome.

      • SuperSagejin

        Oh ya definitely, the game play was probably the best yet.

  • http://www.dblegends.com/ Crono A7X

    Dragon Ball Z Legends was among the best but I also enjoyed the underrated games such as DB Final Bout and DBZ Sagas. I wish a lot of the retro games such as the RPGs would get a re-release in English.

  • realshady

    I have to say after all those years I still think the best DB game is
    Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu