Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Review

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The Dragon Ball franchise set the standard for what a Shonen battle anime should be, and the joyous emotions we can get from games which derive from those series. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is the latest offering in the Dragon Ball video game line-up.

Battle of Z marks a new direction for the franchise, after a long relationship with Spike ended following its merger with Chunsoft. Battle of Z is the first Dragon Ball game developed by Artdink. However could Artdink truly deliver a game which was fresh, new and exciting?

This is a game which oozes nostalgia with Akira Toriyama’s distinct art style. It boasts pleasing graphics and vibrant colours, with the environments comfortable and the camera placed in a position where you can see the action well enough. The music is one of the stand-out points of the game, with rhythmic songs you will find yourself humming. 

Battle of Z is the video game debut of Goku’s Super Saiyain God Mode and Battle of Gods characters Bills and Whis. With interesting characters from the highly successful film it adds a freshness to the franchise.

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The game follows a team system, meaning you must battle in a team of four, which is very limiting. When fighting in a four vs four battle it does feel quite chaotic and clustered. There is also the customisation of characters, which in turn allows you to make the strongest possible character with the use of cards. You are free to customise the colours of the clothes for your selected character too.

The only offline mode available is the single player mode, which essentially is the mission mode. You are required to play the single player mode before you can play the other modes. The single player mode has 60 missions which each have their own categories such as Saiyan Saga, Frieza Saga, Cell Saga and Main Buy Saga. These missions however do not have any background or recaps of the Dragon Ball Z storyline. They show familiar faces and flash familiar titles, however that is where the connection really ends. You get an initial buzz of nostalgia, but that quickly wears off when you realise you are repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again with no satisfaction apart from unlocking cards and characters.

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The game may boast about having over 70 characters, when in reality there are 40 odd characters, with a character’s transformation being a separate character. In-game transformations have been abolished from this game, which sucks out the nostalgia of the Budokai games. These characters themselves have prescribed roles, so for example if you are Kid Gohan most of your moves are limited to support type moves.

When it comes to the fighting system, Battle of Z seems to have dumbed down the mechanics of its predecessors. Long gone are the multi-button combos and we are now presented with one button combos. The moves and ultimate moves we are presented with are now also stripped down, which is a disappointment. Each character has three individual moves, minus punches and Ki-blasts, and only particular characters have ultimate moves.

There are two online modes. One is Multi Mission, which allows parties to complete missions online together. The other is Team Battles, for which one of the key attractions is that it allows for Battle Royal’s – an all-out battle between eight different participants online, which is indeed interesting. However, yet again, it can be very chaotic.

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Whilst the Dragon Ball franchise is heading in a new direction, I must say it’s disappointing for it feels as if the mechanics of the game have been dumbed down. The long combos and in-game transformations are long gone. The gradual progression of the storyline should have been present to promote accessibility for newcomers of the franchise. Each battle should have felt different as opposed to feeling constantly the same. Whilst it is definitely new, it definitely is not a step forward from its predecessors.

If you are a Dragon Ball aficionado, a collector’s edition of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z with a Super Saiyan Goku figure, art book and a DLC of Goku in Naruto’s Sage Mode outfit is available at GAME.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is out now.

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3 Comments

  1. Ryumoau says:

    great review. I enjoyed the demo but felt the game lacked the depth and character roster of previous dbz games. I’ll have to wait till a price drop because i can’t justify spending a full $60 on this.

  2. Kye Sutton says:

    As expected this game sounds like a complete letdown. This is the first DBZ game I haven’t gotten pretty much ever because I was so disgusted with Ultimate Tenkaichi… here’s hoping to Raging Blast 3 (or an equivalent as Spike aren’t involved anymore) for the Xbox One and PS4…

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