The Average Gamer

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Review (360)

Oh Dragon Ball Z, you do project the most mixed of gaming moments. Goku and the crew of ‘Z Fighters’ once graced TV screens for 291 episodes of Anime fighting madness, split into ‘Sagas’. With the Japanese release of a new DBZ movie in recent months, Battle of Gods, DBZ marks its return to the gaming scene to accompany its recent success. But, is ‘Battle of Z’, the 16th DBZ title in the last 15 years a saga too far?

Dragonball Z has a huge fan base in the anime and manga community, so it’s only natural that the video game incarnations of creator Akira Toriyama’s characters are aimed at those very people. Battle of Z is no different; it opens with a typically flamboyant intro, laced with power rock theme tunes and fresh crisp animation that will whet the appetite of any fan of the franchise. But where most DBZ video games are 1 on 1 versus fighters, first time DBZ developer Artdink have adopted a new variation: Team Battle.

Battle of Z designates you pick up to four of your favourite heroes/villains, to go up against another team of four, in spectacular battles across large landscapes featured in the series, such as mountain ranges (the more breakable the better). Each character adopts a different style; Ki-Blast (long range), Melee (close combat), Support (health regeneration), and Interference (distractive attacks). It’s a more interesting approach than just picking people for fisticuffs, and adds a basic level of strategy on the face of it.

However, when you actually begin to play a mission, it is apparent that ‘strategy’ is the last thing Battle of Z requires or delivers. From a central third person view, you walk/fly through the full-360 degree environments, using a simple lock-on function to home in on enemies that can be fought from a distance with Ki-Blast attacks, or up close with melee attacks. These enemies always start from afar, and, whilst locking on is a simple mechanism, it means they are often locked onto you, so expect to be taking damage from the get go. Turning off the lock just creates confusion and disorientation online casino from a camera that copes fine when things are going well, but appallingly when you take a heavy hit, shooting to the back of your character’s shoulder, facing the floor, or your obstructing your view altogether with a rock or another object. Having to lock on again means the camera will refocus on a target, and the cycle starts again. All the while you have three team mates buzzing around as well as your rivals, so it’s pretty chaotic.

Now, for anyone who has seen DBZ then it’s a pretty good representation of a battle from the show. The fundamental difference is that Battle of Z has little to no structure; it’s just one hell of a mess. Most battles of the show are 1 on 1, so the underlying 4 on 4 structure created here is somewhat baffling and inconsistent, but a fresh approach nonetheless. The controls are so basic it’s almost insulting. For example, there”s one button for melee attacks, one for Ki-Blast, and any ultimate moves are performed by pressing Y and B together. Wow. If you want to perform your favourite moves from characters you love, some level of achievement would be appreciated at least.

Doesn’t sound very appetising? Well, unfortunately that’s pretty much all there is to the core of Battle of Z. However there is some saving grace for fans of the show. Characters can be customised, increasing their abilities and powers with cards collected from previously completed missions, or purchased from the shop with the in game currency earned. Costumes can be altered if you desire, altering colour sets or just choosing from the many alternative costumes already on offer.

DBZ-BoZ_07-22As usual, the missions follow the stories told from the series and movies, which only consist of basic narrative sequences, so again only DBZ fans will know what the hell is going on. Fans or not, some will be horrified by the game’s insistence in wading through the solo campaign missions just so you can even unlock the online modes and any characters. Once the online modes are accessible, you have either the option of Co-op mode or Battle Mode. Co-op mode allows you to team up with the online community to tackle missions of choice, as opposed to relying on A.I. assistance. Battle mode is classic deathmatch, without the restrictions of the missions and their requirements. And that’s your lot. Yep, there isn’t even a local 2 player option, which is a surprisingly massive disappointment.

Indeed, that is the key term used to describe Battle of Z: disappointment. Fans may well enjoy the millionth retelling of DBZ’s many sagas, especially the latest, but even then Battle of Z’s restrictions and repetitiveness could test the patience of even the most hardcore of fans. Limited modes, basic and very repetitive battle mechanisms, Battle of Z offers no more than what other games’ most basic of online deathmatch modes do, other than the license. It also comes with a pretty hefty £40 price tag. It would be cheaper and more rewarding to wait for the new movie’s release on DVD. One for the DBZ devotees only.

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