Every so often, lovers of the DBZ franchise are blessed with another great DBZ game. But at the same time we have all played through every saga at least HUNDREDS of times HOPING for a new story or a more interactive game. If Naruto can get interactive, why can't DBZ? But still, if you're a lover of fighting games or just trying to save a little money before you make the financial commitment to Street Fighter IV, then this is the game for you.
Starting Off When you first play, you're going to want to go into practice mode just because there have been so many different ways to play this game that there is indeed a new fighting system. Well maybe not so much new as a little more modified. You train with Gohan and other characters until you have the moves down, or at least until you've gotten down which buttons to mash and when. Now from here its up to you, but if you're gonna want some more levels, character, and other unlockables then let's talk about the story mode.
Story Mode You guys know the drill, HERE COMES RADITZZ! Yeah, anyone who's been playing these games forever knows the story back and front (even if you haven't watched the anime yet), but there are some new things that are hit and miss here. Drama pieces are certain cut scenes that will either give you or your opponent an edge in battle and these are activated when your health is low or you're getting pummeled pretty good. After every battle you'll get used to seeing "NEW DRAMA PIECES UNLOCKED" and it's going to get really old. Hang in there though because after a while it is going ti become a challenge just to see if you can get them all. This means letting your opponent toss you around a little just so you can bulk up and battle back to make your big move. Basically you're going through to the cell saga with some movies thrown in for good measure, so be prepared for a few good match ups that you loved watching in the anime.
Gameplay The fighting system is a little odd, but it works out once you've gotten it down. New comers will wonder how they can't lay a hand on you and they'll end up screaming until you stop pwning them long enough for you to show them how to play so they have a decent chance. A great addition is the fact that for some of your moves you don't even need Ki to activate them, which to say the least can help out a lot in the stickier situations one could get in from working too much on defense and not being on the offensive enough. Now, if you're hoping for a return to Tenkaichi, then you're going to be disappointed because not a lot of those elements play into this game, but rest assured you're going to definitely have fun when you get this baby online. A few elements to return though is the wave battles and the button mashing brawl sequences which are very detailed and can actually teleport you in a sense up into the sky for aerial battles. Combos are still lacking, but with an array of Ki attacks and smash attacks you might forget how linear the combos can really be at some points.
Multiplayer WOW! I actually enjoyed myself in this aspect of the game. Probably the best part of any fighting game is to rub your victories in your friends faces,and XBox Live brings out the bastard in all of us for sure. From picking drama pieces to choosing your team mate who acts out the sequences, it's pretty cool to choose people that have no business backing other players up - like Goku teaming up with Freiza. One thing that got on my nerves was a certain sound effect when switching players. I wanted to chew glass then hear this sound all day, but thankfully you get used to it somehow. The best part of all of this is that you don't have to have drama pieces, and it's inevitably your choice as the player to decide. Maybe you want it fair or maybe you want to tip the scales in the noobs favor. It's up to you and that's the way it should be.
Visual Man oh man. It's safe to say that if you have HD you're going to be impressed. The visuals can be stunning at times and actually make wish that the anime would have gotten a hold of this kind of technology at the time. But mainly the best visuals are in fighting sequences and wave battles. Visuals fall a little flat though in some cutscenes during the stories when some scenes are not where they should be. Casual DBZ fans won't notice, but it'll be the first thing hardcore fans do, and trust me, it will stick out like a sore thumb sometimes.
Sound Voice acting was spot on at some points but sometimes you'll be wondering who voiced a certain part. Still, when you're fighting you'll be thinking, "Wow, only sound missing is crunching bones". For me, the sound was awesome. I cranked it up and let the progressive metal j-pop music resonate loudly enough to piss off all my neighbors, but rest assured they knew the game sounded good too...they were just trying to sleep more than anything at the time.
Overall Basically my view of this game is definitely buy....used, or trade with a little kid who bought this game when he was looking for Avatar or Naruto and picked this fighter by mistake. But for real though, if you like DBZ or at least fighting game,s then this game has everything you're looking for. If you're like me though your just waiting for the next Tenkaichi or other DBZ game to breathe new life into the genre.