Dragonball Z Round-Up for 2009

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Wait a minute, this looks somewhat familiar...

Wait a minute, this looks somewhat familiar...

By now you already know that I take my Dragonball Z very seriously. I typically find myself playing any and every game associated with the Saiyans regardless of how good they may be. But should you be doing the same? This year we’ve had three new Dragonball games, so stay close while I give you the rundown for these three.

Dragonball Z Raging Blast:

Goku was able to transform into a Super Saiyan after becoming enraged at Raging Blast's controls.

Goku was able to transform into a Super Saiyan after becoming enraged at Raging Blast's controls.

Last year we got Dragonball Z Burst Limit for the PS3 and Xbox 360, a game done in the style of the first three Budokai games. The sad part was, the game fell guilty to my biggest sin for a Dragonball Z game: Not going through the entire story. It wrapped up at the end of the Cell Saga, meaning that a sequel was required to get all the characters you’d expect from a Dragonball Z game.

I expected Raging Blast to be the sequel with the proper roster of characters. Instead I was dismayed to find out that it’s not a Budokai-style game but a Budokai Tenkaichi-style game, which means that the game isn’t played with the characters side-by-side fighting with combos and things like that. No, it means you have an over-the-shoulder perspective of your character and more controls to figure out than centipedes have legs.

My biggest complaint with the three Budokai Tenkaichi games (which I played all the way through) is that the controls sucked, for lack of a better term. I hated the style of the games, mostly because they completely lost the feeling of really powerful moves being performed due to the perspective used for fights. And all the little touches of awesomeness, like dodging individual punches or performing a combo that resulted in a cutscene of your character basically destroying the world, were more or less removed. There were over a hundred characters, but none of them seemed to play that different.

Raging Blast disappoints me with the same problem of a loss of awesome. It can all be traced to the controls, too. I can’t figure them out. Sure, I can win fights, but I can’t do it the way the game intended me to do it with strategy and all that. No, I can find a few simple maneuvers and spam those over and over again and it should be no surprise but that gets boring really fast. The controls are just too much to learn, and the story is the same story DBZ fans have gone through over and over again. Forget this game and just go play Dragonball Z Budokai 3 on the PS2.

Dragonball: Revenge of King Piccolo:

Not bad. Now let me see you battle Freiza.

Not bad. Now let me see you battle Freiza.

The Wii has recently been getting versions of the Budokai Tenkaichi games that involve motion controls and the option to not use the motion controls because they don’t work. Now the Wii gets its own Dragonball game. Take note that I said Dragonball, no Z included there. This is a game about the first series where Goku is still a kid. And the game actually isn’t too bad. It just isn’t very hard, is all.

You’ll find yourself running around areas as Goku in a classic beat ’em up style that you don’t see very often anymore, doing exactly what it sounds like you’ll be doing: beating things up. It all works pretty well, assuming you aren’t looking for the best game out there. Dragonball: Revenge of King Piccolo isn’t a bad game by any means, but it isn’t winning any awards any time soon and by next year no one will remember it existed at all.

Overall there’s about six hours worth of playing here, which isn’t enough to warrant a purchase from me, but it does make for a good rental if you find yourself in the mood, and by “you” I probably mean your kids. The youngin’s will eat this stuff up with a spoon, but anyone past the age of maybe 13 and not diehard fans of everything Dragonball-related won’t find much here to keep them interested. Still a good gift idea.

Dragonball Z: Attack of the Saiyans:

Okay, I think we're done with the DBZ cash-ins, thank you.

Okay, I think we're done with the DBZ cash-ins, thank you.

Okay, I’m sorry, but the game already failed before it began for me on the basis that the title is “Attack of the Saiyans.” Dragonball Z fans, you know what this means right? You know where this ends up? The only point of the series where the main threat is a still-mysterious race called the “Saiyans,” of which there are three evil ones, one good one, and a halfbreed left, is the first plot arc of Dragonball Z. There are a total of four that span the 291 episodes. The Saiyan Saga spans episodes 1-36, which means that there’s still 255 episodes left of plot to go through. The game taps out at episode 36! That’s not even half way through the story. That’s not even a FOURTH of the story!

What makes this offense even worse is the fact that Attack of the Saiyans isn’t an action game; it’s an RPG. Those of you that love RPG’s probably love them because they have engrossing stories, right? Dragonball Z doesn’t have an engrossing story when they leave 88% of it out. Heck, it hardly has an engrossing story period if you don’t care about it. Anyone that would have any interest playing a Dragonball Z game at this point knows the story already and wants to see what more you’ll add to everything.

Sadly, just to fill out a game like this you’d need to pack in garbage that is hardly relevant to the game as a whole. No one likes playing through the periods of training, they like to play through the fights and the Saiyan Saga had a total of three villains and they were fought one at a time. Do the math for how many “epic” fights that can equal.

Technically, yes, the game is still okay. The battle system is solid enough to hold its own and the art style works to set up the DBZ world just fine. But like I said before, what more is there to say? The story is pretty simple, but even here you’ll be somewhat confused if you haven’t watched the show since they don’t spend any time dealing with character motivation or how one character relates to another or anything like that. There are just people who can fly and shoot energy blasts and you darn well better be okay with that. Period. You’re better off playing a Mario & Luigi game instead.

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Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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