The best anime games on PC

Dragon Ball FighterZ
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

If you want to know what the best anime games on PC are, we're here to help you figure out which ones you absolutely shouldn't miss. There's an awful lot of them around—videogames that have been adapted from specific anime shows and moves, and ones more broadly inspired by the medium.

Best of the best

Neon White tips guide

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

2024 games: Upcoming releases
Best PC games: All-time favorites
Free PC games: Freebie fest
Best FPS games: Finest gunplay
Best MMOs: Massive worlds
Best RPGs: Grand adventures

It makes sense for there to be a lot of overlap between anime and games. Many character designers, writers, and voice actors work in both industries at once. Plus, there are plenty of game designers who grew up on Ghost in the Shell or Pokémon and went on to draw on that influence in their videogame work.

Gargantuan JRPGs, absurdly over-the-top fighters, crime-solving visual novels—take your pick. If you're looking for an interactive anime fix, read on for our faves. There's a bit of something for everyone.

The best anime fighting games

Dragon Ball FighterZ

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(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Release date: 2018 | Developer: Arc System Works | Steam 

No other games look like games made by Arc System Works. They've perfected the combination of 2D and 3D animation in flashy fighting games like Guilty Gear and Blazblue, but the best example is Dragon Ball FighterZ. It turns brawls into proper anime battles, making sure you always see the best angle when you pull off a ridiculous move. 

Not only is it beginner-friendly, DBFZ also makes you feel as powerful as no other fighting game, thanks to the anime factor—in Dragon Ball, throwing a foe into space or hitting them hard enough to take out most of the surrounding landscape are regular occurrences. With Arc's stunning animation, FighterZ looks just like—if not better—than the original.

Read more: The charming story behind Dragon Ball's first PC fangame

Tekken 8

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Release date: 2024 | Developer: Bandai Namco Studios | Steam

Tekken 8's Arcade Quest mode lets you make a chibi avatar and put them through a story mode that introduces both Tekken 8's mechanics (including the new Heat system), and the fighting game community. It's a bit power-of-friendship, but if you weren't into that kind of storytelling, well, this whole list probably isn't for you.

The main story mode focuses on the conflict between father and son Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima, but manages to tie together a huge amount of Tekken's cast, both past and present, in a way that's pure catnip for fans. Tekken 8 also features the return of Tekken Ball, the beach-episode mode where everyone unleashes their bone-breaking specials on beach balls instead of each other, and for that alone should be heralded as a triumph.

Read more: Tekken 8 should absolutely be the fighting game you play in 2024

The best anime JRPGs

Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition

(Image credit: Namco Bandai)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Bandai Namco | Steam

Bandai Namco's Tales series has introduced us to plenty of worlds that need saving since 1995's Tales of Phantasia, but Tales of Vesperia, originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2008, stands out thanks to the way it hits that old school JRPG sweet spot. Its protagonists are a group of lovable misfits who for the most part just happen across each other, the battle system is a mix between turn-based and real-time, and there's a traditional kaleidoscopic fantasy world to explore.

Tales of Vesperia also features fairly classic 2D visuals, with characters designed by mangaka Kousuke Fujishima and cutscenes by popular animation studio Production I.G. But more than just the visuals, it's the feeling of a grand adventure in faraway lands complete with everything from pirates to dragons and mysterious magical forces that makes Tales of Vesperia such a great JRPG.

Read more: What makes a great anime game

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Level-5 | Steam

With Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch a game finally captured the trademark charm of Studio Ghibli. The makers of such beloved movies as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away were involved in Ni No Kuni's creation, producing its animated cutscenes. And while Ni No Kuni wasn't written by anyone at Ghibli, Akihiro Hino, who worked on games such as Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest 8 and 9, and the Professor Layton series, managed to hit the same heartwarming notes.

Ni No Kuni works for both children and adults in exactly the same way as many Studio Ghibli movies, telling fairytales in which young heroes gain the power to save multiple worlds—mostly by cramming loads of food into their mouths, capturing weird critters, and then rushing off into peril.

When you're done with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch you can move on to Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom. Although Studio Ghibli wasn't involved in creating the sequel it retains the distinctive animation style.

Read more: I regret to inform you Ni No Kuni's cute new MMO has blockchain crap up its sleeve

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Release date: 2021 (PC) | Developer: Square Enix | Steam, Epic

Sure, recent years have buried us in remakes. Don't let that put you off Final Fantasy 7 Remake, though. It may look like a retelling of disc one's cyberpunk fable of a stratified city only with a more action-y combat system and some Akira-style motorbike chases thrown in, but the way it plays with your expectations and twists the story it knows you're anticipating is cleverer than you'd think. The combat's not the pure action it looks like either. The combos are just something you do to build up bars you need to cast spells and use abilities, dropping the world into slow-motion as you dig through menus for the attacks that do more than just chip damage.

Read more

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Think of Remake more like a verb than a noun. FF7R is about a struggle to remake the city of Midgar, the slum-protecting ecoterrorists of Avalanche trying to get rid of its reliance on the planet's lifestream for power and the Shinra Corporation trying to manipulate Midgar into a war they can profit from. Meanwhile, another force is out there trying to remake the familiar plot playing out against this backdrop. It's got layers, man. Just like the city.

While you're looking at fantasy of the final variety, don't go past Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age. Its gambit system gives it some of the best combat the series has ever had, and the PC remaster comes with improvements like a fast-forward button to double or even quadruple the speed to help you get through the slower bits.

Read more: Why the hell do they have mouths: a Final Fantasy 7 PC retrospective

Persona 4 Golden

(Image credit: Atlus)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: Atlus | Steam

The Persona series is both a deep dive into the human mind and capital A-anime, where high schoolers develop supernatural powers to save people from certain death. In Persona 4 Golden you're the new kid in town, and to make things more complicated, you discover a strange parallel TV world where the dark parts of the human psyche roam free. When not exploring this weird place, you have to engage in living a normal daily life—go to school, meet friends, read, or take a part-time job.

The disparity between leading a normal life during the day and becoming a superhero at night is at the heart of a lot of anime (and plenty of western coming-of-age stories) but Persona 4's daily activities are just as much fun as the monster-hunting is. They give you an opportunity to really get to know your surroundings and deepen your relationships with other characters. It's a system that exemplifies an important theme common to many anime—the time you spend with your friends is precious.

Read more: Every JRPG needs Persona 4 Golden's difficulty options

The best open world anime games

Nier: Automata

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: PlatinumGames | Steam

If you see the protagonist of Nier Automata out of context you might take her for one of the sexy body-pillow babes that give anime and its fans a bit of a bad rap (sometimes deservedly so, but that's a different story). But how many anime babes do you know who transform into fighter jets? How many of them efficiently hack and slash their way through hordes of enemies? OK, actually quite a few, but how many of those are also grappling with the fact they're machines built for a never-ending war?

Nier Automata isn't just a hack-and-slash. It's also a deep dive into what it means to have free will, about the meaning of war and whether ignorance can help us stay sane. It's heavy stuff, masterfully showing the other side of anime. It's not all bright colors and cute girls. Sometimes it's about the horrors of war… and cute girls. 

If you want to go back to the start of the series, The 2010 original was remastered and finally released on PC as Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… in 2021.

Read more: Why people love Nier so damn much

Code Vein

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Bandai Namco Studios | Steam

Sometimes more really is more, and Bandai Namco's soulslike Code Vein is a great example of that. Its world has fallen prey to vampire-like monsters that can emit a deadly miasma, and you're among a group of young, stylish, superpowered people trying to get the monster population under control using massively oversized weapons. As is so often the case with anime games, a simple description of the things that happen doesn't make much sense. That's part of Code Vein's charm.

While it wants to be compared with the Souls games, Code Vein is a lot more approachable, as well as being different stylistically. Unlike the quiet, dark atmosphere of Dark Souls, it feels like a shonen anime—the kind where characters solve a lot of problems via fast-paced, acrobatic combat.

Read more: Code Vein is a surprisingly fun soulslike with giant anime swords

The best anime visual novels

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

(Image credit: Capcom)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Capcom | Steam

As Phoenix Wright, it's your job to prove your client's innocence in the courtroom, which you'll need to do by cross-examining witnesses and searching crime scenes for clues. You know, like a regular lawyer definitely does.

There's drama and there's murder, but Ace Attorney is rarely grim. These are games where anything is possible—and things never turn out the way you expect them to. When you put on your bright blue suit you've got to be ready to interrogate the witness's pet parrot if it turns out to be necessary. (It will turn out to be necessary.)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy collects the first three games in the series, while The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles bundles together two prequels set in the Victorian era starring an ancestor of Phoenix Wright who teams up with the great detective 'Herlock Sholmes'.

Read more: Why I love Miles Edgeworth in Ace Attorney

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

(Image credit: Spike Chunsoft)

Release date: 2016 | Developer: Spike Chunsoft | Steam

If the psychics, ghosts, and sexy clowns of the Phoenix Wright games are just too staid and serious for you, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc takes the formula and makes it even more ridiculous. The setting is a school for exceptional students where the latest intake of talented young people wake to find they've been trapped in the sealed-up academy with a talking robot bear. 

Said bear explains that they're all taking part in what sounds like a social experiment, and will only be allowed to leave if they kill each other and get away with it. If one student murders another there's an investigation-by-trial, and if the killer isn't uncovered the murderer goes free while everyone else is executed. If the killer is uncovered, they're the one executed and the other students remain trapped. Until the next murder happens, when it all plays out again.

Some of the mysteries are better than others, but they're always tense thanks to a system that sees clues you gather during the investigation phase transformed into "truth bullets" to shoot at statements those clues contradict. There are other minigames involved in the trials too, and like the mysteries some are better than others. (You can always tweak the difficulty if you don't get on with them.) What elevates Danganronpa is its characters and atmosphere: exaggerated, colorful, and weird as anything.

Though it tells a standalone story, Trigger Happy Havoc has had follow-ups. They're not worth it, however, falling immediately into fanservice and cliché while leaning even more on minigames. You're better off sticking with the original.

Read more: What the hell is Danganronpa?

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

(Image credit: Spike Chunsoft)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Spike Chunsoft | Steam

Another option for watching outrageous characters fight and outwit each other in order to survive is the Zero Escape series. Originally handheld puzzlers, the first two games in the series (Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward) were combined together as Zero Escape: The Nonary Games and finally ported to PC in 2017, getting a graphical update over the DS original and some other new features.

The Nonary Games are two of the best anime thrillers you can play; tense and tricky escape room puzzles combined with a story that ruthlessly pits protagonists against each other. A combination of visual novel and first-person puzzle, you truly won't see what’s coming, and you should really experience it for yourself.

Read more: The best visual novels on PC

The best free anime games

(Image credit: Konami)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Konami | Steam

This free-to-play card game is a fun way to relive the times you dueled friends—and the time you invested all that money in pricey cards. The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime was basically just an exciting, half-hour ad for an expensive card game, but don't worry, this time it won't cost you quite as much. 

The Duel Links community is a big, competitive place, with regular events and seasons. There's also a story mode making this a full-fledged game. There are microtransactions, but you can earn plenty of rewards without having to spend money. More importantly, the presentation is really good, with simple but effective animations and the original voice actors.

As well as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, there's also Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, which is a more faithful adaptation of the original card game. That means the turn times are longer and there are more counters and combos. Duel Links uses the speed duel format, and feels like the game they played when you were watching the show.

Read more: These 9 card games are better than Hearthstone

Crush Crush

(Image credit: Sad Panda)

Release date: 2016 | Developer: Sad Panda | Steam, Nutaku

Crush Crush and Hush Hush, its counterpart on the masculine side, turn dating sims into idle games. (Several of the developers worked on the hugely successful AdVenture Capitalist before turning their hands to smut.) You meet a cast of cuties and win their hearts with moonlight strolls, showers of gifts, and outrageous flirting while managing a limited number of time blocks to work multiple jobs and build your skills. Those cuties include a mecha pilot, a time traveler, a holographic vocaloid, and a bear named 'Bearverley', because why not?

Read more: There's a sea of hentai junk games on Steam, and then there's Crush Crush

The best anime games with character creation

Black Desert

(Image credit: Pearl Abyss)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Pearl Abyss | Steam

This popular fantasy MMO has one of the most in-depth selections of sliders around. Whether you want to adjust your hair's length or curl strength, or tamper with the intensity of your tattoos, Black Desert Online has you covered. It's easy to use too, breaking your face and body up into a topographic map of adjustable sections and letting you change your hair by clicking and dragging

You can also look through the Beauty Album to see what looks other players are creating for their corsairs, berserkers, and dark knights, then filter them by categories like Good Looks, Celebrity, and Ugly. You can either adopt someone else's character design wholesale or tweak it to your preference. Tweaking is best, because if you hit the 'Apply Most Popular' button on a female character there's a strong chance you'll end up looking like a goth clown with gigantic boobs.

Read more: Black Desert Online isn’t a great MMO, but it is a great sandbox RPG

Lost Ark

(Image credit: Amazon Games)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Smilegate RPG | Steam

Though it doesn't have quite as powerful a set of options as Black Desert, and you can only alter your face rather than your body, Lost Ark still has a lot of options for personalizing your character. For instance, it lets you alter your iris size, color, and opacity separately from your eye color and pupil shape, and then do it all differently for the other eye. 

When you finally make it out of the character creator and past the typically slow opening hours almost every MMO seems required to have, it's a much better game. The over-the-top action-RPG combat is some of the best around, and the storylines get progressively stranger until you find yourself taking part in dwarf musicals in between fighting on top of colossal demons.

Read more: There is so, so much weird shit in Lost Ark

The best anime VR games


(Image credit: VRChat Inc.)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: VRChat Inc. | Steam, Oculus

In theory you can look like whoever or whatever your heart desires in the shared digital world of VRChat. In practice, there's a reason every single article about someone's experience in VRChat includes the phrase "anime girls". Heck, even the official mascot Box Cat (a cat with a cardboard box on its head) has been sidelined in favor of a variety of big-eyed avatars in the official art. 

Though it does struggle with lag, VRChat has become the place to live out your anime second life. Perhaps in the waffle house on the moon.

Read more: VRChat's surge in popularity has created a bizarre scene

VRoid Studio

(Image credit: pixiv inc)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: pixiv Inc. | Steam, Oculus

Of course, before moving your social life to VRChat full-time you'll need the perfect avatar. Or maybe you want to become a Vtuber without having to pay thousands of dollars? VRoid Studio is the free alternative, a suite of 3D character creation tools designed for people without 3D modeling experience. If you want more assets than the preset options provide, others are available.

Read more: The best VR games

The best anime music games

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva MegaMix+

Hatsune Miku Project Diva MegaMix+

(Image credit: Sega)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: SEGA | Steam

It took a long time, but Hatsune Miku finally came to PC with MegaMix+. It's the most comprehensive Project Diva game to date, with a huge song list from Vocaloids like Miku, Rin and Len Kagamine, Luka Megurine, Kaito, and Meiko. If you're a fan of autotuned beats and anything from pop to rock, there's bound to be something here you'll like. It's super approachable for newbies to the genre too, while providing a challenge for those a little better versed in rhythm game ongoings.

Read more: The best rhythm game finally came to PC this year and took over my life

DJMAX Respect V

El Clear and El Fail in the Tic! Tac! Toe! music video

(Image credit: NEOWIZ)

Release date: 2020 | Developer: NEOWIZ | Steam

We're perhaps stretching the definition of anime a bit here, but DJMax Respect V is too good to not list. A Korean rhythm game that has sprinkles of anime throughout its music videos and theme presentations, DJMax can play similarly to Dance Dance Revolution with a four-button layout, all the way up to a staggeringly difficult eight-button layout. There are also songs from other anime games on here, like Break a Spell and Marionette from Guilty Gear. There's even a ranked online mode for those who like a bit of competitive energy in their games.

A lot of the great songs are tucked away in its expansion packs, which you'll wanna pick up on sale. Clazziquai, Black Square, and V Extension 3 in particular are ones that are definitely worth your wallet.

Read more: I've become deeply invested in this rhythm game with virgin, relationship-sabotaging Power Rangers

Muse Dash

Mush Dash

(Image credit: peropero)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: peropero | Steam

Muse Dash takes a slightly different approach to how it plays out, instead looking more like a 2D runner than notes flying all over the screen. It's a lot simpler to get into than Project Diva and DJMax, but the harder note charts still provide a big challenge. It's a gorgeous game to boot, with dazzlingly pretty visuals and a host of characters who provide different buffs to gameplay.

The base game is dirt cheap too and regularly ends up under one dollar in Steam sales. Better yet, its single DLC is essentially a lifetime season pass, with new songs being pumped into that rather than released in individual paid packs. Admittedly, the majority of its song list is locked behind this expansion, but it's more than worth it.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.

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