Dragonball Z: Burst Limit Review

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Dragonball Z Burst Limit is the first Dragonball game to arrive to the current generation, and on its run here it seemed to of lost a lot of potential. If your a fan of the Japanese cartoon you may be disappointed by the way this game conveys its potentially epic story, and minimizes it to short bursts of cutscenes that pathetically introduce each fight which will immediately turn off anyone who isn’t a fan of the series. Not that Dragonball Z’s story arc is work of genius, but the games presentation on the narrative is just lazy. For series that’s all about filler, and pointless dialog (I’m looking at you Frieza saga) Burst Limit ignores all the backstory and focuses on the fighting itself, which makes me wonder what the point of the less than stellar cutscenes are. 

The story follows the bullet points of the Dragonball Z series, taking you to each of the shows important fights starting with the arrival of Raditz, and ending with the battle between Gohan and Cell. So don’t worry kids, no one has to deal with the Buu saga, although there’s a good chance a sequel will be dedicated to that. The story is just a major disappointment, and I wish it was more fleshed out, or at least the small bits available were better scripted. However, the game does contain unlockable alternate reality side stories, one for both Goku’s father Bardock, and the nefarious psychopathic Broly. While these seem like good distractions it was cool to see Bardock interact with Vegeta, and Goku. Broly’s on the other hand is a pure distraction, and proves he’s a worthless character.

Story aside, Burst Limit offers a decent fighting system. You wont find the depth that other fighters have, but rather an easy to learn button masher. Once you master dodging, and hitting Up and B to do an Ultimate Attack, you pretty much mastered the concept. This doesn’t mean the fighting is bad at all, in fact it’s good middle ground between a game like Tekken, and Smash Bros. One of the more interesting features is the fatigue meter. In theory the more you fight, and more you utilize special Ki moves, the higher the gauge would fill, and you would slowly become weaker and more open to attacks from your foe. While this is how it should work, it doesn’t play enough of a role that effects the combat. The fatigue meter pokes an interesting possibility I look forward to a sequel developing. 

While Burst Limit has multiple issues, the worst of all are the visuals, and sound. When I say visuals, I don’t mean graphics, the game itself looks fantastic. Every character is rendered beautifully, all the environments look fantastic, all that is fine. The atrocious quality in the cosmetic department is the non-playable animations, so basically cutscenes. Characters on screen look stiff and feature no personality, nor does it appear as if DIMPS bothered to do motion capture during the development of this game. It’s a shame such well drawn characters suffer in “story” scenes, and recycled animations. Joining motion capture, American music is also MIA, which I fail to understand. DBZ doesn’t have any fantastic score, but does feature its own distinct music, and the lack of it in the game will turn off many hardcore fans. But those fans will favor the cheesy under modulated music someone created in Soundtrack Pro instead. 

The golden goose Burst Limit does offer is the first ever online play in a Dragonball game, however the online play is very basic. The only thing you can really do is hook up with another player and fight however many rounds the host chooses. It would have been nice to have tournaments or possibly some other modes, but it’s a relief that Dragonball Z fans can finally duke it out. A major downside to the online is the abounding amount of lag plaguing the game, while this is a possible future patch nothing has yet to be announced. 

It’s a shame that the overall product of Dragonball Z: Burst Limit is a disappointment. In fact the long roster list that the series is known for isn’t even present. Players will find the major characters of the series such as Goku, Vegeta, Cell, Frieza, but 24 characters, and only a handful of uninteresting levels is what really pulls this game down considering previous entries to the series had nearly all the characters in the series. The lack of many fighters would be excused if their fighting styles were more distinct, however, with variables of speed aside all the DBZ characters fight exactly the same. 

Rabid fans will buy anything involved with their favorite series, and its unfortunate Dragonball Z has that fanbase. If you love Dragonball Z so much you secretly do kamehamea waves in front of the mirror in the bathroom, then you’ll enjoy Burst Limit. Despite the new name, this is basically Budukai 4, and don’t be fooled by the idea of this being the first appearance of DBZ in the current generation of consoles. Rather your a huge fan or just enjoy the franchise, it would be hard to be not disappointed by Dragonball Z: Burst Limit. If the lack of innovation, and DIMPS crapping on this major anime doesn’t bother you, then you might be one of those people who are willing to pay for crap if it has the right name on it. 

 

-Steven Beynon

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