Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit Review

Author: Jemery Jastrzab
Article Source: http://palgn.com.au

Until the first Dragon Ball Z Budokai game was released on the PS2 in 2002, the perennial franchise had suffered a long line of video gaming flops. Mind you they weren't all bad, though they were generally only released in Japan. Since then however, the DBZ assembly line has been busily churning out simple but fun and authentic fighters. Come 2008, and the franchise takes its first steps into the HD arena, with the release of Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, the first DBZ games for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

After three Budokai games that had players fighting from a traditional perspective, the series went on a tangent with three Budokai Tenkaichi titles. These games had you essentially fighting from a third person perspective, which while it sounds odd, actually worked wonders for recreating the action from the series. DBZ: Burst Limit goes back to a traditional perspective, and is somewhat a cross between Budokai 3 and the Shin Budokai games on the PSP.

Dragon Ball Z finished airing a few years ago, but it seems that the fan base is still clamouring for some love, as evidenced by the success of these regular releases. If DBZ: Burst Limit were one of the first titles released, it would be very, very well received. As it stands however, a visual upgrade isnít quite enough to mask over the fact that the game pales in comparison to its predecessors when it comes to treatment of the story and depth of content. Thatís not to say the game is bad, but it certainly feels like it could have done more.

The main single player mode in DBZ: Burst Limit is the Z Chronicles. Essentially, itís a truncated version of the story, where youíll play through a number of key battles from the Saiyan, Freiza and Cell sagas. Donít know what these are? Then move along, as skimpy nature of the story will leave non-fans perplexed. Interestingly, youíll flip between the good and bad guys, but at the same time, some battles are skipped and flipped around. This is partially due to the setup and partially due to the limited roster.

If you want to access to the entire roster when you go multiplaying, youíll have to play through the Z Chronicles. Unlike recent DBZ titles, this mode isnít anywhere near as long so playing through should be easily possible, even if your time is limited. That said, playing through will unlock the higher difficulties, which may be an incentive for some to go again. There are a couple of other single player modes as well. These include: Survival, where you battle 100 opponents and see how far you can go, Time Attack, where you defeat a series of enemies as quickly as possible and Battle, where certain attacks will give you points that are tallied up at the end.

Once youíve had your fill of these modes, the best way to get a truly fair match is to grab a buddy, an extra controller and hit the multiplayer. Of course, DBZ: Burst Limit allows you to do so, so long as youíre willing to accept that youíll only have a max of 21 characters to pick from. Sure, it pales next to 150 odd from Budokai Tenkaichi 3, but at the same time, itís somewhat refreshing to have a lot of the Ďfluffí removed. You have to also take into account the fact that the entire Buu saga is missed. Inevitably, this will be taken account of in the sequel.

Well that's hardly a fair fight.

Well that's hardly a fair fight.
However, DBZ: Burst Limit is the second DBZ to offer online multiplayer, so your otaku buddies donít need to be sitting next to you to play now. However, the only other DBZ online foray was Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on the Nintendo Wii, which was virtually unplayable. So while the network code will hopefully see a minor update in the future, to clean it up a bit and make finding sessions a bit easier, DBZ: Burst Limit boasts the first fully operational online mode.

The main addition to the fighting engine has been that of Drama Pieces. Basically, these can be equipped to your fighters, and when a certain condition happens, it will activate. For example, if youíre low on health, a drama piece could activate and you take a senzu bean, or if youíre Piccolo or Cell, youíll regenerate. Others will boost your attack, others will have others jumping in to help and so forth. They are a dynamic addition, fairly varied and there are plenty to unlock. However, they work both ways, sometimes for you but they can be really annoying when they get in the way. They are probably the most annoying in multiplayer, as they often break up the flow. We ended up resorting to turning them off.

The fighting engine in general has gone back to what it was in the original Budokai games, though as mentioned, itís very similar to the Shin Budokai PSP spin offs. Special and Ultimate attacks are very easy to pull off and every character has the same set of commands. What DBZ: Burst Limit manages to do however, is to have the best variety of character handling and effectiveness of certain combos. That being said, the game is no fighting classic, and the appeal does lie with fans and button mashers, and the old complaint of each of the fighters being Ďsameyí is not avoided.

No! Don't cut me, I can still be useful...

No! Don't cut me, I can still be useful...
As far as faithfulness and recreation goes, DBZ: Burst Limit does itís job well. However, the simplified fighting engine will be a downer to those who got really good at the Budokai games, as it isnít as involving. Even with six difficulty levels, the AI still gets away with being able to block and pull of moves too easily. It can get rather frustrating at times. In further comparison to previous titles, the game is very low on content as well, with only 21 characters and five (dynamic) stages to pick from. As far as versions go, the PS3 version has a slight edge due to more responsive controls.

Visually, the game is easily the best looking DBZ recreation around and we were particularly pleased with the silky smooth running speed and attention to recreating scenes from the show. Even so, the animations seem to have been recycled and there is something not quite right about the characters without any black edges. Both versions of the game are near identical on this front. Apart from the terrible English dubbing (remedied with the Japanese voice option) and a suitable but forgettable track, the sound effects are all spot on, so you could be sitting in the background and get the impression that someone is watching the show.

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit continues in the tradition of the Budokai games by providing a decent fighter, but weíve all been there and done that by now. Everything functions as it should and as far as series recreations go, this ranks as a good one. However, a shiny coat of paint isnít enough to hide the fact that the depth in the fighting has been somewhat compromised, the game is the lowest on content since the original Budokai title and the least friendliest to those who arenít fans. So if you are a fan, DBZ: Burst Limit will somewhat satisfy your DBZ fix, but we wouldnít blame you for holding off until the inevitable sequel.