The best anime games for PC are as wildly varied as the Japanese film, television, and manga from which they are inspired. Whether you fancy being trapped in a school with a sadistic remote-controlled bear, defending yourself from gargantuan humanoid monsters, or joining a book club with a dark side, there are plenty of anime games for PC to choose from in 2022.
We’ve got everything from the biggest games based on Japan’s hottest export shows, through the finest JRPGs, to anime MMOs influenced by the signature anime style. Dragon Ball, Attack on Titan, and Naruto are all present and correct, plus a few other gems you may not have heard of before.
This list is especially good if you’re looking for your fix of this distinctive form of Japanese animation, but find your wallet can’t stretch to full price triple-A releases. If you’re after free anime games, look no further than the charming, vibrant open-world of Genshin Impact or beloved and increasingly popular anime MMO FFXIV, which just received a new expansion called Endwalker.
The best anime games on PC for 2022 are:
Genshin Impact is a free-to-play RPG like almost nothing else we’ve seen. It’s got polish, a solid main story, a gorgeous and activity-packed open world, co-op, cross-play, a relatively unobtrusive paywall, and it’s an anime game. It’s been referred to as anime Breath of the Wild, and while that comparison doesn’t tell the whole story, it does give you a taste of how important the open world is in this game.
As soon as you’re set loose from the tutorial you’ll lose countless hours as the open world pulls in every direction, with camps of enemies to clear out for chests, puzzles to solve using environmental abilities, and resources to craft and cook with. Unlike Breath of the Wild, you can explore the gorgeous world of Teyvat with up to three other friends, too, thanks to cross-play and co-op support.
If you’re looking to scamper around a lovingly crafted open world as a doe-eyed anime protagonist, searching for adventure astride a Chocobo, in one of the most polished and consistently evolving MMOs of all time, look no further than Final Fantasy XIV. The original Final Fantasy XIV was a disappointment, to say the least, but since the remake – A Realm Reborn – launched in 2013, the game has been praised extensively for its endearing story, visual appeal, and innovative approach to class levelling. Instead of needing to make alts to experience the various classes in the game, Final Fantasy XIV allows you to switch your weapon at level 10 and start levelling a different class, allowing you to inhabit whatever role you feel like while still playing as the same adorable character you’ve grown attached to.
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Regular updates, as well as larger expansions like Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, have kept fans entertained for years. The game has a lot more to offer than the standard MMO levelling experience, from in-game wedding ceremonies where you can pledge your undying love to a fellow gamer, to Nier: Automata themed content that does a fantastic job of bringing the haunting atmosphere of Square Enix’s mechanical RPG to Final Fantasy XIV.
Battle Chef Brigade is gorgeously realised cooking game that combines 2D brawler combat against various monsters and a puzzler-based cook off. Essentially, you’ll need to hunt and kill your ingredients before taking them back to the kitchen to whip up a tasty feast. This anime fantasy adventure pits you against other contestants, where you’ll ascend through a high stakes tournament, capturing and preparing your ingredients in front of a panel of judges.
As well as a story mode, Battle Chef Brigade has local multiplayer and various daily challenges including free to play and survival mode, so you can experiment and extend your recipe repertoire. Battle Chef Brigade pairs light RPG progression, an extensive range of monsters and maps, a charming story and beautiful art design to create an anime game to test your cooking chops.
While MapleStory 2 is no longer available outside of Korea, the original MapleStory is still going strong and is available via Steam. This is a side-scrolling 2D MMORPG that lets you build your own custom character from 40 different classes and a near limitless amount of cosmetic items.
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It also boasts hundreds of hours of epic storylines, with a wide range of settings for you to visit across Maple World. 260 million players from across the world can’t be wrong (probably), so if this sounds like it might be your thing, definitely give it a try. It’s free, after all.
We’ve all sat there helplessly as we watch Making a Murderer or The People vs. OJ Simpson, yelling at our screens as we hunger to see justice done. As defendants and plaintiffs alike perspire in the dock, we can only watch on as a hotshot lawyer finds the tiny scrap of crucial evidence mere mortals would miss. Evidence that can mean the difference between liberty and a lifetime in the slammer.
Now we have an anime game that lets us be that star of the courtroom in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. As our Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy impressions contends, there’s nothing quite like scouring every inch of the case to gather evidence and testing that hard-earned knowledge in a trial, a coliseum of eyes all around you. The joyous melodrama of rookie attorney Phoenix’s big court showdowns plays out like a fighting game, where your incisive arguments and cries of ‘Take that!’ and ‘Hold it!’ strike your opponent into stunned silence.
Taking place long before the era of Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles stars Phoenix’s forefather, Ryunosuke Naruhodo, who sets sail to 19th century England from Japan, and is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a series of mysterious happenings.
On his travels, he meets legendary detective Herlock Sholmes – though he’s based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous protagonist, Sholmes is not quite as shrewd; fortunately, Ryunosuke is there to help him sift through the facts. With all the wit and eccentricity of the original Ace Attorney games, Chronicles is a must-play for visual novel fans and budding detectives.
In Dragon Quest XI, you play as a young man who discovers that he is the reincarnation of a legendary hero and sets off on a journey to solve the mysteries of his past. For both anime and videogames this is pretty standard fare, but this narrative acts as the bedrock for Dragon Quest XI’s tense turn-based battles and innumerable side quests.
Dragon Quest XI has retained some amazing talent throughout the years, such as beloved manga and anime artist Akira Toriyama, who is known for the Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball series. Toriyama has designed the characters since Dragon Quest’s first release back in 1986, his bright and colourful designs imbuing the magical world of these anime games with personality and character for over two decades now. They’re exceptionally gorgeous games, which is attested by some very high Dragon Quest XI review scores.
We looked jealously on as our console cousins enjoyed the whimsical delights of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch but, now, all is forgiven. The sequel might be without the original Ni no Kuni’s Studio Ghibli, but the faster Ni no Kuni II gameplay ensures that Level-5 have finally brought one of the best anime games to PC.
This time you don the finery of deposed child king Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum. The devilish rodent that is Otto Mausinger is running the show in the idyllic society of Ding Dong Dell now and you’re going to need a number of ways to take back your Ni no Kuni II kingdom.
Besides overwhelming your foes in large scale Ni no Kuni II RTS battles, the best way to do this is start a new one. This is where Evermore comes in, your new civilisation that you can build from the ground up by recruiting specialists from across this beautiful anime world. And, Higgledies are the cutest little critters in any anime game, don’t @ us.
We could not put together an anime list without mentioning Dragon Ball. Xenoverse 2 is one of the best anime games for PC, and a fantastic addition to the famous series. If you are looking for an ambitious MMO-lite title with an authentic, fan-service-filled story that slots nicely into the DBZ canon, look no further than this stellar anime game.
Xenoverse 2 sees you flying around expansive landscapes and taking on quests with other players with a view to building your power. Series favourites pluck you out of the sky to engage in frenetic arena brawls, forcing you to experiment with a wide range of special abilities.
Not only one of the best anime games, but also one of the finest fighting games ever made, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a love letter to the characters of everyone’s favourite show. Its fantastic graphical style makes every punch, kick, and spirit ball look like it was taken straight from the anime, resulting in the most authentic-looking Dragon Ball game to date.
The game features a huge roster of characters, which we run down in our Dragon Ball FighterZ character guide. No matter if Piccolo, Goku, or Buu is your favourite, everyone is accounted for here. And with easy to understand controls, there is nothing stopping you from getting involved.
The attractive art style of Attack on Titan sits nicely alongside the best anime games for PC. Fans of the manga and the TV show will feel right at home here as they boost and swing around cities, forests, and the game’s titular Titans.
The premise, of course, is decidedly less appealing, at first. Developers Omega Force thrust you into the shoes of Eren as he and his companions scrap legions of massive, but mindless, naked humanoid giants with a penchant for devouring human flesh – Titans, in other words. The story in this anime game fits well with the established canon as you get to slashing some Titan necks.
Originally a GameCube title, this anime game graced the PC with its charming presence in 2016. If you missed it, all you need to know is that it is a classic that could rank among the best RPGs on PC.
Tales of Symphonia is set in the world of Sylvarant, hanging in the balance amidst an overwhelming evil and steadily depleting mana. But legend has it that a Chosen One (in other words, you) will one day rise and bring their homeland back from the brink.
This fifth instalment is not only the strongest in the Tales series, but one of the best anime games on PC. Symphonia’s gameplay is centred on a classic real-time battle system, allowing you to experiment with many and various techniques, spells, and strategies. This is a tale that you will remember long after the end credits.
There is little more wholesome than a book club. Hundreds of thousands of words – and the odd knock-off DVD – infinitely expand our horizons, transporting young and old to all sorts of new worlds. The Doki Doki Literature Club!, on the other hand, “is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.”
Don’t be fooled by the cute exterior of Team Salvato’s band of bookworms as this visual novel has a number of distressingly dark layers hidden beneath. When Doki Doki Literature Club! hit Steam in September 2017, it quickly became a surprise cult hit with over two million downloads, recognised as one of the best anime games for PC thanks to its arresting, emotive narrative – one that’s best not spoiled. The “Plus!” version expands the original with a helping of new content. If you have a free few hours and a hardy disposition, make sure you give this anime game a go.
Most of us, at some point, have wished to be one of those special kids plucked from their ordinary surroundings to attend a famous school. Usually it’s Hogwarts, admittedly. But, for Hajime Hinata – Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair’s protagonist – he realises his dream to attend Hope’s Peak Academy, a prestigious school for ‘Ultimate’ pupils.
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It is at this point that this anime game transforms into something far darker: your classroom melts away into what appears to be a tropical island, once you are introduced to your teacher, Usami. Usami is also a pink bunny. Yeah.
Its zany story aside, it is the equally weird set of characters and engaging investigative gameplay that puts Danganronpa 2 up there with the best anime games for PC.
Naruto Shippuden is the ultimate manga superhero fantasy, with books, TV, and anime games galore. That said, you’ll have a hard time fully grasping the story of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst if you don’t have wide knowledge of the canon. But, if you take the time to dive into this sprawling anime series – or just like punching things as an incredibly cool ninja – you’ll find one of the best anime games for PC.
This Bandai Namco fighting game is similar in structure to its predecessor, Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, so you can expect to scrap your way through a 12-hour story that explores classic Naruto themes such as friendship and brotherhood. In an interesting spin on the wider narrative, ‘Ultimate Decision’ moments are forks in the road that allow you to either follow or diverge from events lifted from the canon.
Either side of fighting you can engage in some JRPG-lite objectives like taking on side-quests, shopping, and item collecting. Undoubtedly the most complete Naruto game, this is an anime game that is not to be missed.
And there you go – the best anime games on PC. There’s plenty in this to keep you occupied if this kind of Japanese animation style is your thing, but it’d be remiss of us not to give you even more games to bulk out your pile of shame.
If you’ve liked what you’ve seen here, you should take a look at the best MMOs on PC and the free MMOs you should be getting your hands on. There’s also plenty of crossover between this list and our rundown of the best robot games on PC, so head there for some more picks. That should leave you with plenty to be getting on with – check back in with us when you’re all done a few lifetimes from now.