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Aug 8, 2008

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
Atari, Dimps
Available for Xbox 360 and PS3

Is it really time for another Dragon Ball Z game? Well, Atari has released a new Dragon Ball Z game and it’s called Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit. Is this yet another bad anime show tie in, or is there a bit more to it than that? Well, follow me as I review my very first Dragon Ball Z game.

Burst Limit spans three Sagas in the DBZ universe which are the Saiyan, Frieza, and Cell. In the show apparently, these Sagas span several episodes, but in the game, they’re reduced to a handful of fights each. The result is that you get a super condensed version of the story that fans of the show will understand, but will be completely incomprehensible to everybody else and me.

The game play employs a fighting system that’s similar to past Budokai games. It’s not the deepest of fighting system, but it isn’t the shallowest either. There’s enough in the fighting system to be just deep enough to be enjoyable, but not enough to really be considered a competitive fighting game. It’s not perfect by any means; there are any moves that are overpowered and easy to take advantage of, for example.

The game is chalked full of DBZ fighting power moves and dramatic scenes between characters throughout the combat. This is the game’s biggest fault, as it will interrupt the action with a non-interruptible cut scene to show a partner intervening on your behalf. While this is something that DBZ does well during the animated series, in the context of a game, it just breaks up any sort of flow that the game might have.

Burst Limit doesn’t have any shortage of game modes to play through. There is the Z Chronicles mode which is the game’s main story mode. There are also a variety of Survival, Time Attack, and Score Attack modes to keep you busy. Unfortunately most of them are locked from the start. Unlocking them is a simple matter of playing one of the other game modes.

Along with the single player modes, there are many multiplayer modes for you and a friend to duke it out in. These can be played on the same console or online. The online play is hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll get a nice fast and fluid match, other times it’ll be a laggy mess. I will warn older, non-fans of the DBZ series that playing online with random strangers will result in battles with annoying 10-year-olds who think they’re DBZ experts and take losing very seriously.

Visually the game does a very nice job of mimicking the art style of the animated series. The characters are in 3D, but through some clever shading can almost look hand drawn at times. The same can’t be said for the backgrounds though. Most of them consist primarily of vast and boring arena style areas, followed by skylines that you inevitably end up fighting in.

DBZ has a very distinct audio style with exaggerated sound effects and a fast and frantic guitar driven soundtrack. The music in particular does have some high points, as it features some pretty complex sounding riffs. Voice acting by the original cast is present and accounted for, so you can be assured that the Japanese voices are spot on, and the North American ones are spot on awful. If you value your sanity, just switch the voice language to Japanese.

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is a game that’s very clearly made for its rabid fans. A newcomer who picks this game up will have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the story, other than seeing a lot of anime characters that yell at each other for no apparent reason. If you can manage to look past that, then this game is worth a rental just to play it as decent fighting game.

Rating: 6 of 10
Rent it!

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