Best Games Inspired By Akira Toriyama

edited March 28 in Gaming

On March 1, 2024, the world lost Akira Toriyama, a legendary manga artist whose artwork captivated and entertained fans of all ages across different cultures around the world. At the age of 68, Toriyama left behind a legacy celebrated for its monumental contribution to manga, yet his artistic vision and narrative flair also left an indelible mark on the video game industry. This article focuses on the best game from each franchise that was either directly influenced by or contributed to by Toriyama, highlighting his unique ability to create engaging, vibrant worlds not only on paper but in the interactive realms of gaming. From franchises like Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball, we explore standout titles that reflect Toriyama's genius, demonstrating how his work has shaped the experiences of gamers and manga fans alike, leaving a legacy of creativity and inspiration that continues to resonate. 

1. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Metacritic score: 91)

Dragon Quest XI stands as a monumental title within the RPG genre, masterfully weaving classic RPG elements with innovative gameplay to create an experience that's both nostalgic and refreshingly modern. At the heart of its success is the game's polished turn-based combat system, which offers a balance of strategy and excitement, ensuring that each battle is both engaging and full of unexpected twists. The expansive world encourages exploration and adventure, thanks to meticulously designed environments and a notable absence of random encounters, while the deep crafting system allows for significant customization and enhancement of characters' abilities. 

The game's visual splendor, a hallmark of the Dragon Quest series, owes much to Akira Toriyama's distinctive art style. His character designs bring a unique charm and vibrancy to the world of Dragon Quest XI, with a diverse cast of monsters and characters that breathe life into each encounter. Toriyama's contribution to the series since its inception has been pivotal, shaping its visual identity and setting it apart from other titles in the genre. This rich visual tapestry, combined with the game's compelling narrative and the seamless integration of orchestral and chiptune music, cements Dragon Quest XI's position as a premier JRPG of its time. It's a game that not only pays homage to its roots but also demonstrates the enduring influence of Toriyama's creativity, making it an engaging experience for both long-time fans and newcomers alike.

2. Dragon Ball FighterZ (Metacritic score: 87)

As the brainchild of Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball's rich legacy is vividly brought to life in Dragon Ball FighterZ, showcasing the high-octane battles and beloved characters that have captivated fans for decades. Developed by Arc System Works, the game launched with a base roster of 24 playable characters, each meticulously designed to capture the franchise's dynamic action and narrative depth. Through additional content, via the FighterZ Passes, the roster has expanded to 44 characters, offering a rich blend of fan favorites from the original Dragon Ball, Z, GT, Super, and Movie universe.  

With a blend of strategic play and a visually stunning presentation that mirrors the anime's intensity, FighterZ captures the essence of the combat that fans have come to love. Through its strategic gameplay, Dragon Ball FighterZ affirms its position as a prime example of how the Dragon Ball saga continues to entertain, further solidifying its place in the gaming world. 

3. Chrono Trigger (Metacritic score: 92)

Chrono Trigger, a game that stands as a towering milestone in the world of video games, remains a masterpiece worth playing even today, decades after its original release on the Super Famicom (Super NES) on March 11, 1995. The game's enduring appeal lies in its innovative mechanics, timeless narrative, and the sheer creativity that underpins its design—a testament to the influence of Akira Toriyama, whose distinctive art style breathes life into its world and characters. Toriyama's contribution to Chrono Trigger extends beyond the visual; his knack for crafting engaging stories and memorable characters plays a crucial role in making the game a rich, immersive experience. His work ensures that Chrono Trigger remains not just a nostalgic trip, but a relevant and compelling adventure that continues to enchant new generations of gamers. 

The game's groundbreaking approach to time travel, its unique battle system, and the concept of "New Game +" for replayability were revolutionary at the time and remain influential in game design. Chrono Trigger's narrative depth, combined with Toriyama's art, creates a universe that is both expansive and detailed, inviting players to explore diverse timelines and interact with a cast of characters that are as endearing as they are visually distinct. This fusion of storytelling and artistry makes Chrono Trigger more than just a game; it's an experience that captures the imagination, challenging and delighting players with its complexity and beauty. Toriyama's vision helps to anchor the fantastical elements in a relatable humanity, making the adventure of Crono and his companions resonate with players long after they've turned off the console. In this way, Chrono Trigger stands as a pinnacle of gaming history, a timeless classic whose value is only enhanced by the legacy of Akira Toriyama. 

4. Blue Dragon (Metacritic score: 79)

Blue Dragon, released on December 7, 2006, exclusively for Xbox 360 at the time, emerges as a significant endeavor by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the visionary behind Final Fantasy, offering a unique JRPG experience on a Microsoft console. This game not only carries Sakaguchi's creative legacy but also showcases the collaborative genius of Akira Toriyama, who provided the character designs, and Nobuo Uematsu, celebrated for his compositions in Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy, who crafted the game's musical score.

The game's traditionalism is evident in its gameplay mechanics and character design, with Toriyama's distinctive style giving life to the characters and the world they inhabit. Blue Dragon's skill system and the absence of random encounters introduce a layer of strategy and player choice, enriching the combat experience. Despite its slow start and the conventional storyline, the game unfolds into a more engaging adventure, revealing a vast world full of challenges and side quests that reward the player's persistence. While it may not have achieved the status of a genre-defining classic, Blue Dragon's endearing qualities make it a noteworthy title for JRPG enthusiasts and fans of Toriyama's work, offering a glimpse into the collaborative potential of gaming's greats. Currently this game is only available for play on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, but may one day be released for PC. 

5. Sand Land (Metacritic score: NA)

Slated for release on April 26, 2024, Sand Land is an open-world action RPG based on the manga written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. Set in a post-war world ravaged by ecological disaster and a severe water shortage, the game promises an adventure filled with themes of environmental change and the aftermath of conflict. Through a combination of on-foot skill-based combat and high-octane vehicular action across the desert, Sand Land is shaping up to offer players an exploration-rich journey. Players will step into the role of Beelzebub, a demonic prince with a mission to find a legendary spring to address his world's water crisis. Alongside engaging combat, the game introduces customization options and base-building mechanics, adding depth and a personal touch to the gaming experience. 

What makes Sand Land stand out is its narrative depth, inspired by Toriyama’s storytelling, and the unique gameplay elements it brings to the action-RPG genre. The ability to design and operate a wide range of customizable vehicles, from tanks to motorbikes, injects a fresh dynamic into the gameplay, allowing players to creatively tackle challenges and enemies. As we approach its launch, Sand Land emerges as a highly anticipated title, promising to blend Toriyama's iconic art style with a compelling story and immersive gameplay, making it a game to watch for both fans of the manga and newcomers to the series.

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Patrick Yu is a Senior Project Manager at Level Interactive and has 8 years of experience writing business, legal, lifestyle, gaming, and technology articles. He is a significant contributor to Acer Corner and is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.


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