Naruto and Dragon Ball are two of the most popular anime in the world. Both focus on supernaturally skilled fighters capable of enacting techniques that range from teleportation and slightly enhanced speed to outright apocalyptic attacks that could potentially wipe out entire worlds.
Both are also known for their video game adaptations. Naruto has games such as Clash of Ninja, Ultimate Ninja, Ultimate Ninja Storm, and Shinobi Strikers; while Dragon Ball has Budokai, Budokai Tenkaichi, Raging Blast, Xenoverse, FighterZ, Kakarot, among others. Both have even had multiple trading card games to their names with varying degrees of success. Each franchise has some strong games to its name, and both have advantages over the other.
10 NARUTO: More Variety In Characters’ Fighting Styles & How They Play
At the end of the day, most Dragon Ball characters can be summed up with the phrase: “Flies around and shoots energy.” That said, many of the Dragon Ball games have succeeded in making each character still feel distinct from one another in terms of fighting styles, speed, and the effects of their energy attacks.
However, Naruto characters have genuinely distinct powers, whether it be characters like Shikamaru who rely on traps and ranged fighting; Might Guy who wants to get up close and in a melee; or Deidara raining explosive clay on his foes. These differences can make each character feel more different from one another, especially to a casual player who isn’t looking to get into competitive online play.
9 DRAGON BALL: More Successful In The Competitive Fighting Game Scene
Both Naruto and Dragon Ball have made their plays at making a good competitive fighting game, though Dragon Ball games insisting on being mainly 2D games have given it the edge over the years.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has been the most successful competitive fighting game out of either franchise’s offerings, and it’s largely celebrated as a balanced and enjoyable fighting game (with some missteps here and there, of course). FighterZ has a vibrant and active fighting scene and has even been part of EVO, the biggest fighting game tournament.
8 NARUTO: Some Of The Only Good Quick Time Events To Ever Be In A Game
Quick Time Events, or QTEs, have been a largely abandoned and heavily criticized mechanic in videogames. They have rarely been implemented in a way that players have enjoyed, as they are easy to bungle and can take players out of the story.
That said, the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series showed the best way to implement QTEs by recreating memorable moments from fights in the manga and anime by tying them to QTEs that are still tied to the regular combat of the game. These are generally exciting and cathartic moments, and it’s impressive that they’ve been accomplished within such a maligned game mechanic.
7 DRAGON BALL: More Comprehensive & Enjoyable Character Creation
The Dragon Ball: Xenoverse series of games offer the player the most expansive and enjoyable character creation options out of either franchise’s game offerings. The player can choose from the human, Saiyan, Namekian, Majins, and Frieza Clan species and go absolutely wild with the powers and visual customization. Then the chosen character gets to become the star (aside from Son Goku) of a time-traveling saga.
While Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers gives the player a comprehensive character creation option, it just doesn’t quite measure up to the options in Xenoverse. That said, both games greatly improve on Ultimate Tenkaichi.
6 NARUTO: Better & More Interesting Open-World Exploration
Neither franchise has really offered what could be called exciting or gripping open-world exploration. Xenoverse allows the player to run around Toki Toki City, though it’s somewhat restrictive still. Ultimate Tenkaichi allows the player to fly through an overworld and respond to threats, but the game doesn’t allow for real exploration of memorable locations from the anime and manga.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja and Ultimate Ninja Storm allow the player to run around Konohagakure and its surrounding zones and even the Sunagakure. This isn’t a breathing and ever-changing world, but it does make the game come a little more alive.
5 DRAGON BALL: Xenoverse Creates Its Own Unique & Fun Story With New Characters
Dragon Ball: Xenoverse brings its own unique story that is both apart from the anime and manga to the game while still incorporating memorable moments from the series. The player gets to be part of the Time Patrol, work with Trunks and Chronoa, and fight the likes of Demigra and Android 21.
The story isn’t brilliant, and it still focuses more on Son Goku by the end as opposed to the player’s custom character. However, it’s still more fully-realized and fun than the original story that serves as the prologue to Ultimate Ninja 4.
4 NARUTO: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Has The Most Characters Out Of Either Franchise…
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 has 106 distinct characters from across the Naruto saga including DLCs. This includes the Akatsuki, the living and dead Jinchuuriki, the various Kages, Part 1 and Part 2 versions of the main cast of characters, and even some Boruto entries.
One might wonder why Kurenai and Anko got snubbed despite being in past entries like Ultimate Ninja 3, but that is still a lot of characters, comparable even to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate which is often touted for having one of the largest rosters in fighting game history.
3 DRAGON BALL: …But Budokai Tenkaichi 3 Has The Most Overall Characters (Counting Different Forms)
That said, many of those Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 characters are different versions of the same characters. Obito, Naruto, and Sasuke, in particular, have several different versions from which to choose. However, these are still different versions of these characters that play at least a little differently from their other forms.
This does complicate the task of counting the number of characters somewhat, and it’s further complicated by the fact that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi has 98 distinct characters that expand to 160 after counting all their transformations. That said, those same transformations are actually something the character can do and is part of their move set, so one could argue they don’t count as distinct characters. However, you could say the same thing about the almost 10 versions of Sasuke Uchiha in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.
2 NARUTO: The Lack Of Flight Generally Keeps The Fights More Close-Quarters & Intense
Most Naruto characters can’t fly, and this gives the player of the franchises’ countless videogames less space in which to move. This means that there are fewer ways to duck out of combat and force players to dive into the fight and get things resolved more quickly.
Things can still slow down a bit with range-focused characters trying to keep their distance, but there is still an exchange of attacks in that situation. Many people might prefer the over-the-top nature of the combat in Dragon Ball games that sees the characters constantly airborne and zipping around the playing field, but there’s something to be said for keeping combat tighter and more controlled.
1 DRAGON BALL: Being Able To Fly Is Just Plain Cool, Though
At the end of the day, being able to fly is just fun, especially in a game that doesn’t limit your flight like most other action and fighting games with flying characters often do. Flying around the battle arena in Raging Blast 2 or Xenoverse 2 is a joy, and it’s easy to just enjoy the feeling of flying over a city or in the barren rock formations where Piccolo trained Gohan.
Plus, these fights can still be quite intense in their own right— especially in FighterZ. Being able to fly or float doesn’t stop Dragon Ball games from providing the player with intense and gripping battle scenarios.
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