Hands-on with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

Posted on Oct 26 2013 - 12:35pm by Eric Guzman
DBZ 07 04 Hands on with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

They’re ready for some action!

If you’re under 30 years old, Dragon Ball Z was probably a large part of your childhood. It’s easy to dismiss Battle of Z as yet another Dragon Ball Z game that’s milking the series until the cow is all dried up, but I like looking at things a bit differently: The series is being introduced to a younger generation of anime watchers. Just look at Dragon Ball Z Kai and Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection. They’re both marketed to younger games and continue to hearken back to Dragon Ball Z‘s golden years.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z tries to capitalize on Dragon Ball Z‘s impactful anime success. It doesn’t hurt that it borrows from the PlayStation classic Dragon Ball Z: The Legend. Although The Legend was an extremely rare game stateside, some were fortunate enough to enjoy its multiplayer story that recreated Dragon Ball Z’s entire run.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z looks to recapture the multiplayer magic by allowing friends to play through the show together in a fully 3D fighter. I was able to sample the game at New York Comic Con and found it a generally fun game — one with a few weak spots that need to be corrected before the game’s 2014 launch.

DRAGON BALL Z BATTLE Of Z screenshot 1 Hands on with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

Ki blast!

Just from the presentation alone you can tell that this is an ambitious Dragon Ball Z title.  Everything from the intro video and menu music paints a beautiful nostalgic portrait. Starting the demo allows players to choose from two familiar scenarios.

The first is the Saiyan Saga that pits you against Vegeta. For demonstration purposes, players are allowed to choose characters that don’t belong to the respective saga, like Super Saiyan Trunks, Super Saiyan Goku, and Super Saiyan Vegeta. You actually begin the battle at its conclusion. You face off against the arrogant Saiyan prince Vegeta in a tough but entertaining battle. Of course, the Saiyan Saga wouldn’t be complete without the battle against Ape Vegeta. What makes this moment so special is the fact that you can play with up to three other friends. The fact that you can relive those epic moments with friends adds a fresh dynamic to a story that gamers have played through time and time again.

The second scenario is ripped from the Android Saga. You face off against Android 16, 17, and 18. Right after that, you deal with Cell and all his perfection. The demo didn’t follow the plot exactly, but it captured enough of the moment to remain authentic. Hopefully, the final version follows the show exactly.

Gameplay-wise you’re thrown into a familiar environment from an episode you’ve probably watched. You’re given full 360 degree freedom to fly or run around anywhere in the arena to a extent. There are invisible borders that make sure you remain near the battlefield, but for the most part the areas are large. Your allies and enemies are also granted this luxury so it wasn’t a surprise when I attempted to flee and was quickly followed by a more than angry Cell.

The Battle of Z demo has a few glaring issues. I found the controls cumbersome. The L1 trigger serves as a modifier button for special attacks like ki blast or stronger strikes. The R2 trigger lets you lock on to enemies, but there were too many buttons to grasp in one sitting. L1 and circle modified Ki blasts, L1 and square made attacks stronger, and you’d have to lock off and lock back on to re-focus the camera. It was a bit confusing. Maybe I’d adjust if I had more time to play, but it was a drawback during the demo. Secondly, the action is far too fast for the camera. Characters zip and fly through the air at high speeds which caused the camera to spin out of control on multiple occasions — this is especially true if you lock onto your target.

There’s potential here and luckily the developers have until March 31, 2014 to fix these issues. But since the game has been out for quite sometime in Japan, I doubt this will be the case. Still, Dragon Ball Z fans will surely pick this one up and enjoy it with their friends.

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Features Editor Eric Guzman will play any game at least once. Any game. That even means Detective Barbie, although he prefers to flex his video game muscles with fighting games such as Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When he isn’t in the digital dojo, he loves watching films or reading comics.

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  • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

    Naruto is better and One Piece is better still. /not sorry

    • Tim

      Without DBZ those wouldn’t even be things. + DBZ has an ending.

      • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

        Doesn’t negate my statement.

        • http://www.2D-X.com/ Jeffrey L. Wilson

          Hokuto no Ken is greater than all :P

    • Isaac Rouse

      One Piece actually stole DBZ’s spot for my favorite anime series of all time. But Attack On Titan is about take take over One Piece…if there’s a season 2 :x

      • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

        AoT is soo much weaker than the manga. I know that sounds super elitist, but the manga in this case is almost a different animal.

    • Hikari Yami

      Those two anime are for children, Its good that you have something you enjoy, but dont go being naive enough to think there a good example of anime, They function around two mentally deficient mishfits and are there for children to relate to. nothing more.

      • http://www.2D-X.com/ Jeffrey L. Wilson

        What would you recommend as example of good anime?

        • Hikari Yami

          Hmm..not motivated towards children or having massive younger themes…Depends what you enjoy, Slayers Is a good 90s anime..A family anime that almost everyone could enjoy Much Like the original dragonball was. Death Note was great but you would have to be older and patient to truely Appreciate it. Much like The Meloncholly of Haruhi Suzumiya. Basilisk and Hellsing are both great and more on the action oriented style of things, Needless is enjoyable but not for everyone Its quite random. Beelzebub for a shounen did a great job at comedy and did not come off as massively childish Like Naruto, One Piece and to an extent even bleach. Elfen Lied Is good but quite brutal at times, there is a scene where a bunch of school children are massacred. Mirai Neko and Sword art Online both did a great job at Maintaining Action AND Romance. As another poster said, Attack On Titan Is brilliantly done and really submerges you in the Apocalypse world that the characters live in…There are probably a few that escape my memory at this moment and not to mention all the other anime out there~ Don’t miss understand me Naruto and One Piece are not horrible, they fufill there purpose, which is pandering to a younger audience, but once you get older you come to desire more in terms of plot, action, characters, romance, Etc…Etc.

          • http://www.2D-X.com/ Jeffrey L. Wilson

            I finally got around to Death Note. I agree, you have to be willing to let the storytellers remove each layer of the onion. But the build up and pay off is so good!

          • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

            I though Death Note was engaging from day one. That being said, I have a list of anime as well and the majority of my list isn’t culled from the offerings of Toonami and Adult Swim. /super snobby attitude

          • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

            Sword Art Online has terrible storytelling.

      • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

        Wow. So I guess Pixar in turn must be terrible as well, since they are for children. Don’t be elitist. One Piece is one of the darker anime on the air right now and full of mature storytelling.