The Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) franchise is starting to grow old and somewhat stale. The show hasn’t had a new episode in over a decade and the latest anime movie has yet to see a North American release, but we still see a new DBZ game every year. This year starts off with a new game and shows that there is still life in this old franchise with “Battle of Z.”
For PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS Vita
Review Score: 4/5
“Battle of Z” separates itself from the last 20 years of games by adding team battles to the formula. The fighting game no longer pits the player in one-on-one fights, but rather gives the player 3 A.I. companions to assist in defending the earth. Online battles have people teaming up live from all over the world engaging in 4 vs. 4 fights.
Movement is simple and makes flight an ease. Fighting is kept mostly to two buttons and uses the shoulder buttons to add variables, such as stronger versions of previous attacks. The eight man fights can be confusing, and hitting anything can be tough without locking on, making the free movement aspect feel almost moot.
“Battle of Z” also does away with local multi-player, as developers wanted better visual experience – a trade-off, but not a good one in my opinion. Another problem is that transformations no longer come stock with each character, but instead take up one team slot. This change means that if you want Goku to be a Super Saiyan, then you better be ready to pull extra weight with one less companion.
Mechanics aside, “Battle of Z” looks fantastic with its use of cel-shaded graphics.
The music sounds good with new covers of old songs as well as good voice acting. The game also features character customization in the form of changing character colors.
“Battle of Z” is not friendly to newcomers of the franchise as the story mode is bare of any real cut scenes or dialogue. This means that if you don’t already know the story of the series, everything will be disjointed and somewhat random as you’ll be fighting plant men one minute and giant monkeys the next.
Overall, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z” is a great single player experience to be shared online. The team combat is the bread and butter of this entry. The game favors exclusively to the fans in an unfair fashion, among other minor complaints. This new, yearly entry wins a 4 out of 5.