The 10 Best Underrated Anime-Based Video Games

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Video games based on anime have been and remain popular, and long-awaited games such as Dragon Ball will appear somewhere this year: The Breakers and One Piece Odyssey. Because so many games are released every year, and licensed video games often have a bad reputation, most anime-based video games are either forgotten or simply unknown. Also, some of these games are never released outside of Japan.

Despite the obscurity or poor reviews, many of these anime games have interesting ideas and gameplay elements. Even without being a fan of anime, games like MS Saga: A New Dawn are worth a try.

Vampire Hunter D. (1999)

Vampire Hunter D, released in 1999 for PlayStation, is a survival horror game based on the animated film Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which, in turn, is based on the third light novel of the Vampire Hunter D franchise called Demon Deathchase. When a young woman named Charlotte Elburn is apparently abducted from her home by the vampire noble Meyer Link, Charlotte’s father, John, hires the titled dhampir D. to rescue her.

With the help of an intelligent symbiote named “Left Hand”, Dee explores Chait’s castle, fights enemies and gradually learns the truth about what is happening. Although the game received poor reviews due to extremely pixelated graphics and awkward controls, the Gothic art style, extensive voice acting, hacking and slash elements, as well as the presence of three different endings make it useful for fans.

Serial experiments of Lain (1998)

Serial Experiments Lain, developed simultaneously with the influential anime of the same name, is a 1998 multimedia game released for the PlayStation. Despite similar themes, the game takes place in an alternate continuity with a different plot and characters. To progress through the story, players select nodes in a strange multi-level virtual space, and each of these nodes shows videos, audio recordings, diary entries and notes.

The game primarily follows the titular Lane and her therapist Toko Yonera as they both struggle with mental health and their existence in society. Although it was only released in Japan, a fan-translated English script was completed in 2014, and a web browser port was released in 2021.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari’s Parenting Project (2004)

Created as a sequel to the 2001 game Neon Genesis Evangelion: Ayanami Raising Project, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project is a 2004 life simulation game in which the player in the role of Misato Katsuragi must “raise” the main character Shinji Ikari by assigning him certain tasks. Since Gainax created both the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime and the Princess Maker series of otome games, it’s not surprising that the gameplay in the Raising Project series is similar to Princess Maker.

Depending on which tasks and dialogue options are selected, Shinji will have different characteristics, which will lead him to several routes, endings and possible love interests. As with other official Neon Genesis Evangelion games, this game has an LGBTQ+ option. Shinji may have a romantic relationship with the male character Kaoru Nagisa, as well as with other female characters. Although it has never been released outside Japan, there is an English patch translated by fans.

Prince of Tennis: More Prince of the School Festival -More Sweet Edition- (2010)

Despite the fact that “The Prince of Tennis” is a senen series, which means that it was created for young men, for many years several official dating simulators have been released in the series, in which the main character can date one of the male characters. One of these games, which also received an English—language patch translated by fans, is the 2010 DS game The Prince of Tennis: More Prince of the School Festival – More Sweet Edition.

Developed as an extended version of the game The Prince of Tennis: Prince of the School Festival for PlayStation 2, the player is a female tennis manager who must help organize the upcoming multischool festival, as well as have an affair with one of the guys. Including one secret character, the player can meet 38 different characters.

The case files of Detective Conan and Kindaichi: A Chance Meeting of two great Detectives (2009)

Before merging with Chunsoft and becoming Spike Chunsoft, Spike was already a game developer whose staff consisted of former members of Human Entertainment, best known for creating the Clock Tower series. One of the games created by Spike was the 2009 DS game Detective Conan & Kindaichi Case Files: Chance Meeting of Two Great Detectives, which is a crossover between the anime franchises Detective Conan and The Kindaichi Case Files.