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The best and worst Dragon Ball Z games

The Dragon Ball Z franchise has been going strong for over thirty years and doesn't show any signs of powering down. With spinoffs, movies, and zillions of games based on the juggernaut action anime, we probably have many more years of Super Saiyan action to look forward to. 

However, not all of the games based on the property have been exactly amazing. Though we've been spoiled in recent years with titles like Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot expanding the lore, reintroducing us to some of our favorite characters, and showing us how our heroes stay so strong, we mustn't forget some of the epic highs and lows of the franchise. Not every DBZ game was created equal.

With that in mind, let's take a look back at a few that stand out from the pack. Here are the best and worst Dragon Ball Z games. While some of these are absolute winners, you may want to summon the dragon and wish you'd never played a few of them.

BEST: Dragon Ball FighterZ is the most super

Honestly, when it comes to Dragon Ball Z games, there's basically no contest over which one comes out on top. Dragon Ball FighterZ flies in a category all its own. The gameplay is precise and incredibly fun, while its art style makes one feel as though they're controlling the anime itself. 

Unlike many other media tie-in fighting games, the combat in FighterZ is complex enough to appeal to casual fans and pro gamers alike. This is one of the reasons why FighterZ has gained traction within the competitive gaming scene

Unlike the more recent Jump Force, which had a heavily derided story mode, Dragon Ball FighterZ has received praise for its fun campaign. The storyline includes characters from all over the Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super canon, bringing them together in a fight against the deadly Android 21. 

The game still received regular updates and seems poised to be a longtime favorite for fans. Dragon Ball FighterZ has raised the standard for Dragon Ball z games, even without the presence of Shaggy as a playable character.

WORST: Battle of Z was half-baked in every regard

Dragon Ball: Battle of Z certainly has a few positives in its corner: it doesn't look half-bad and it managed to introduce the characters of Beerus and Whiis to video games. It also has an interesting concept. A team-based DBZ game is a pretty neat idea, considering how many colorful characters populate the series mythology. That's one of the aspects that Dragon Ball FighterZ seized upon to great effect. 

Unfortunately, ideas were the only thing that Battle of Z really had; the execution is underwhelming at best and embarrassing at worst. The story missions were repetitive punch-ups that made little sense when compared to the source material. Characters who have been dead for years are shown to be alive in an attempt to pad out a roster that was still rather small. Not only that, but the team aspect becomes impossibly confusing thanks to Battle of Z's wonky camera. 

Every decent idea in Battle of Z is hampered by poor execution. As GameSpot said in their review of the game, "every moment ... is a struggle–not to overcome challenges, but simply to enjoy the game."

BEST: Xenoverse 2 is an underrated sequel

One of the biggest criticisms of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 when it was first released is that it didn't do enough to differentiate itself from its predecessor. While it's true that this game bears quite a resemblance to the first Xenoverse, the differences that are there make all the difference.

While some of the battles may run on the reperivite side, Xenoverse 2 otherwise improves upon every little mechanic that worked in the previous installment. For one thing, the character customization is deeper than the first game. The combat system, while relatively simple and nowhere near as complex as the combo-wacky mechanics of FighterZ, rewards experimentation with its vast array of special moves and augmentable abilities.

IGN's review of Xenoverse 2 praised the game's vast number of unlockables, which enhances the game's replay value. If you disregarded Xenoverse 2 when it came out, now may be a good time to give it a second look.

WORST: Dragon Ball Z for Kinect had the wrong moves

The Xbox Kinect already had a checkered reputation, but fighting games especially never really mixed all that well with it. This problem didn't extend solely to licensed games, either. Original titles like Fighters Uncaged flopped hard due to unresponsive controls and bland graphics, but there were hopes that Dragon Ball Z for Kinect would give gamers the chance to feel like they were in the boots and armor of their favorite characters.

Boy, did it not work out well. Though the game looks decent, presenting a close approximation of the anime's art style, just about everything else was a mess. Players had to uncomfortably crouch to power up their attacks, and any attempts at dodging incoming blasts were more or less futile. User reviews on Metacritic complained that the Kinect seemed to barely register their movements, resulting in a ton of flailing and not a lot of reward. This game was supposed to make you feel as tough as Goku, but it made most players feel about as phony as Mr. Satan.