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Best-Looking Anime Games – Past and Present

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This article gathers the best-looking art style-wised anime games from the past and to the present. Games evolve year after year, and graphics and 3D modeling techniques advance at a rapid pace. However, these games are the ones that will look good even in distant years.


Key Takeaways

  • Guilty Gear Strive is the best-looking anime game available today (that is, until Arc System Works develops another Guilty Gear game).
  • Cel shade style games withstand the time the most.
  • Japanese game developers seem to create the best-looking anime games.
  • Many of the best-looking anime games are fighting games.
  • Bandai Namco is one of the biggest anime-related game publishers in the world.

Genshin Impact

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From its vibrant and high-contrast shónen anime art style to its emphasis on open-world exploration, Genshin Impact is one of the most stunning anime-style games out there.

This JRPG game is quite similar to Breath of the Wild regarding regional design. But Genshin Impact leans more on the artistic side with its unique vistas and larger-than-life character designs.

Genshin Impact is filled with high-fantasy visuals that can be experienced through imaginative character design, environment, and color choices. Vibrant colors, lush environment, and precise cel shade style present in the characters make Genshin impact one of the most gorgeous-looking anime games to date.

  • Release Date: September 28, 2020
  • Developers: miHoYo

Persona 5 Strikers

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Viewed as one of the wildest Musou games to date, Persona 5 Strikers is a seinen-style (with a slight mix of shónen) fighting game that’s both entertaining and visually stunning, with tons of color, over-the-top costumes, and Koei Tecmo’s signature cel shading. Character design is either partly or mostly done by Shigenori Soejima, the lead artist behind all Persona games.

While the game does not reach Guilty Gear level with its cel shade/toon shading technique, it’s still a beautiful game to look at.

  • Release Date: February 20, 2020 
  • Developers: Atlus, Omega Force, and P Studio

Guilty Gear Strive

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Playing Guilty Gear Strive is like entering an anime and being one with it. Guilty Gear Strive looks like it is hand-drawn animation from the top animation studios. This game never fails to impress when it comes to the aesthetic department.

Every character in this game is well-designed and detailed, and every movement is executed gracefully and smoothly. Daisuke Ishiwatari is behind most of the character designs, and all of the character designs tend to follow rock music genre aesthetics.

Combine all of these with excellent tone, story, and music, and you’re in for heaps of fun.

  • Release Date: June 11, 2021 
  • Developers: Arc System Works

One Piece Odyssey

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One Piece Odyssey is what you get when you combine modern-gen platforms with Eiichiro Oda’s iconic art style. The result is an emotive and colorful 3D game that will keep you visually engaged for hours.

One Piece is one of those games that didn’t implement cel shading/toon shading in its game mechanics. The game does, however, slightly have a cartoonish feel to it (in a good way) by implementing a black outline for the characters.

  • Release Date: January 12, 2023
  • Developers: ILCA

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles

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If you’re a Demon Slayer manga and anime fan, The Hinokami Chronicles will surely appeal to you. It does an outstanding job translating the anime’s art style into visually stunning gameplay.

This 3D fighting game excels in making each locale visually distinct and evocative. Also, character models look phenomenal without straying from how they look in manga and anime.

The character designs come from none other than Koyoharu Gotouge (the original creator of the Demon Slayer manga), and I have to say that the animation style (fighting effects) present in the game does resemble pretty closely what you see in the television anime series.

  • Release Date: October 13, 2021 
  • Developers: CyberConnect2

My Hero One’s Justice 2

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This video game does an excellent job of emulating the overall aesthetic of My Hero Academia with its cel-shaded art style, a large roster of quirky characters, and flashy moves. The toon shading style is crisp and precise, and fighting effects mimic what you see in the television anime series while not fully on the same par.

  • Release Date: March 12, 2020 
  • Developers: BNE Entertainment and Byking

Dragon Ball FighterZ

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Dragon Ball FighterZ is a game that plays just like it looks, and it looks pretty darn awesome! Many consider it to be the best DBZ game for displaying strength and earth-shattering powers.

What I like the most is how the game embraces the source material’s over-the-top delivery and translates it into fast and flashy fight sequences that unfold in a gorgeous, visually engaging fashion.

While Arc System Works is behind this game, it still feels like it’s not as polished as Guilty gear Strive regarding character shading details.

  • Release Date: January 26, 2018
  • Developers: Arc System Works

DNF Duel

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DNF Duel is a 2D fighting game that relies on vibrant 3D graphics. It boasts high-end anime-style visuals with large character models, spectacular super moves, and remarkably dynamic camera angles.

No wonder DNF Duel looks stunning, as Arc Systems Works is yet again behind the visuals, if not completely, still partly. Character designs have variation, special effects look extremely good and detailed, and the environment design only complements the fighting experience.

  • Release Date: June 28, 2022 
  • Developers: Arc System Works, Neople, and Eighting

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R

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Whether or not you’re a fan of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, there’s no denying that Hirohiko Araki’s unique art style is nothing short of captivating, and All-Star Battle R captures it perfectly!

This game brilliantly captures the passionate expressions of each character and delivers powerful imagery that will make you feel as if you’re inside the popular manga.

While the style is slightly darker and has that seinen/shónen anime vibe to it as its anime series equivalent, the game still has one of the most unique-looking designs and styles to it.

  • Release Date: August 29, 2013
  • Developers: CyberConnect2

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

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Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is widely considered the most definitive Naruto fighting game experience. This can be attributed to how engaging the game’s characters and over-the-top battles look and feel.

While the game already shows age, it still has extremely good-looking special effects, and the toon shading works brilliantly.

  • Release Date: February 4, 2016
  • Developers: CyberConnect2

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

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Ni No Kuni II is a JRPG game that relies on Ghibli-style art for its aesthetics, boasting charming character designs, stunning locations, bioluminescent forests, and vast kingdoms.

Along with the sense of whimsy and wonder you get while playing this game, I can’t help but commend its fresh and strategic take on real-time combat, which helps it stand out from our JRPG games.

Having played this game, it honestly feels like you are controlling a character created by Studio Ghibli. It looks and feels that good.

  • Release Date: March 23, 2018
  • Developers: Level-5

Tales of Arise

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Every aspect of Tales of Arise can be viewed as a prime example of how art direction and aesthetics can be used for storytelling purposes. Even the game’s menu background tells a striking story!

Though the overall aesthetic of this game can be described as bright and enchanting, some sequences showcase darkness and pain.

One of the best parts of the game is when you execute mystic artes and get to experience the vibrant colors and extremely detailed special effects. That’s when the game truly shines.

All in all, this is by far one of the most beautiful and engaging RPG games.

  • Release Date: September 9, 2021 
  • Developers: BNE Entertainment and BANDAI NAMCO Studios

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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