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.
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 you’re wallet can’t stretch to full price triple-A releases. The sandbox MMO Archeage and the dark visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club! make up part of our free anime games contingent, and have just as much of their sleeve as their fee-to-pay counterparts. Here are the best anime games on PC.
The best anime games are:
Blade and Soul is a combat-heavy MMORPG set in a gorgeous fantasy world based on Chinese mythology. It differs from other MMOs in that instead of focusing on brute strength it instead specialises in graceful martial arts moves where timing, counters, and combos trump strength stats and modded weapons. Using the power of the windwalk, you can glide, dash, and jump around mid-battle, making for some seriously stylish brawls, making it one of the best MMORPGs on PC if you love a scrap.
When creating your character, there are four races for you to choose from inspired by the four Chinese symbols; the Gon (Dragon), the Jin (Tortoise), The Yun (Vermillion Bird), and the Lyn (White Tiger). There are also eleven classes to pick from adding to your usual line up of Assassins and Kung Fu masters with more niche archetypes like Blade Dancer, Soul Fighter, and Summoner. Blade and Soul also features an ultra detailed character customization tool helping you complete your ideal martial artist persona. If you need any more help then head over to our Blade & Soul beginner’s guide. In Blade and Soul, you can take part in PvP duels, and there’s even an esports scene if you get really good. But if that’s not for you then take part in quests set by NPC’s or simply explore Blade of Soul’s majestic landscapes of zen forests, rivers and, mountains.
Whilst you wait for a decent Game of Thrones game, check out ArcheAge, one of the best free MMOs around. Build massive castles, conquer new lands, and create legendary nations that span continents, but be ready to defend it all in massive battles.
What’s more, unlike most anime games for PC, you can fight and take on activities as you ride the waves of the seven seas. Channel your inner Edward Kenway as you traverse the massive oceanic map, ticking off side-quests and hoovering up loot. Singing sea shanties to yourself as you play is optional.
The game is free to play, with an optional subscription available to unlock all the content. Alternatively, the recently released ArcheAge: Unchained is an identical but separate game that requires a one-off purchase to unlock everything the world of ArcheAge has to offer.
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.
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.
Fans of anime games mustn’t overlook this charming MMO gem. MapleStory 2 is a massively-multiplayer sequel from Korean developer Nexon, and it’s full to bursting with creative potential. With many rich, vibrant environments to explore and battle in, MapleStory 2 will certainly keep you busy.
Better Together: The best multiplayer games on PC
Not only can you build and design a home in your own little slice of Maple World, the character customisation options are endless, too. Whether you favour the high-damage Heavy Gunner or the stealthy Assassin class, you have loads of options to make your perfect anime-style avatar – check out our MapleStory 2 guide for additional starting tips. With mini games, public events, dungeons, and more to enjoy with friends, MapleStory 2 is a must for anime and MMO buffs alike.
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. That said, we’ve been waiting almost two decades to see the game on PC, to which we collectively said, OBJECTION! We might not have all the spinoffs on our home platform yet, but we can finally confront the jury in the series’ core titles that have long captured fans of a good ‘ol dose of justice.
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. If we were accused of falling in love with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy and its many intricate mysteries, we are unashamedly guilty.
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.
Related: The best co-op games on PC in 2020
Regular updates, as well as larger expansions like Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, 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 new Nier: Automata themed content that does a fantastic job of bringing the haunting atmosphere of Square Enix’s mechanical RPG to Final Fantasy XIV.
TERA is one of those anime games that just won’t quit. The high-octane nature of its combat system and huge, breathtaking world of Arborea has kept MMO players coming back since it launched all the way back in 2011.
Read more: Check out our list of the best free PC games
The developers at Bluehole have not exactly been sitting on their hands, either. The Manahan alternate-reality event server breathed new life into an anime game that MMO fans had already fallen in love with, and added speedier level progression, tougher dungeons, and transformed battlegrounds. Whether you want to tackle some BAMs (Big Ass Monsters) solo or with friends, TERA is one of the best anime games on PC with which to do it.
Closers is a free-to-play episodic action-RPG from En Masse Entertainment. It is also one of the best anime games for PC. Before you can dive into the thick of the action, however, you need to choose a titular ‘Closer’, your highly customisable avatar with their own branching narrative.
Closers form a team of psychic teens known as the Black Lambs, and it is up to you – and a few online pals – to defend your gorgeously stylised world from a pesky band of interdimensional aliens. Combat is fast, button-mashing fun, regardless of whether you choose to play in co-op or go head-to-head in PvP. If you’re looking for some free action games with an anime twist then you can’t go wrong with Closers.
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. 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.
Read more: If you’re after more detective work you’ll find it in our list of the best police games
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.
The Star Ocean series dates back as far as the days of the Super Famicom but it only made its way to PC in November 2017 as The Last Hope received the 4K remaster treatment. If you are new to this Square Enix series then The Last Hope is a great place to start: this fifth entry is also a prequel, and a great one at that.
Earth is on the brink of destruction in this anime game, following a disastrous World War III and the use of devastating Weapons of Mass Destruction – we assume the premise was intended as sci-fi futurism rather than a gritty documentary about the present day.
Fate of the world: The best war games on PC
Anyway, this is where you come in: as one of nine playable characters – including the astonishingly named Edge Maverick – it is up to you to find a new home for humanity.
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.