12/25/10. Gameplay: 2-3 hours. 2 Players.
History with Franchise:
I’m definitely a Dragonball Z fan - watched it a ton in middle school, wrote fan fiction, in love with teen Gohan. Saw up to Cell Saga, saw parts of cell saga (fan translations) recently watched Saiyaman Saga until end of Tenkaichi Budokai. About a year and a half ago Issam would play this particular game at my place, and I would watch bits and pieces, but not play. Played it once (or maybe one after it) at a display in NYC
Played a couple of 2 player matches, got basic moves down, then took turns playing through single player (he beats one, I beat one, etc). Gameplay takes you through the anime series, deciding your matchups for you - so you’re Goku against Raditz, then also as a side quest level you can be Piccolo against Raditz. Sometimes you’re a ‘bad guy’ vs. a Z fighter - so say Nappa vs. Krillan. Did this for 1-1.5 hours, got to Freiza’s 2nd transformation (I think the game goes through cell, so I would say we were ½ or ⅔ of the way through the game). Around this time we were thinking about stopping (combination of being hungry, and feeling like we needed a break), and the game crashed (fatal freeze). We took a break for a few hours, then picked it back up for multiplayer for 1-1.5 hours. We were fairly evenly matched (I will get into this more) and both won around the same number of matches, with him coming out a little ahead.
What I Liked:
Fast paced! Fighting is fun - the cadence is good, it feels like it matches the show extremely well. You pound on a bunch of quick, fast moves, then back up for a long range, charged power move - then you shoot off a bunch of quick ki blasts which your opponent deflects off to the side. It’s typical to most fighting games, but I feel that I can compare it to the anime most readily. Special moves occasionally take control away from both players and you watch as your guy pounds the other in a series of cinematic moves (the Naruto games do this as well), which are satisfying to watch.
Air & land - very DBZ, you occasionally knock, or get knocked into the air, and commence fighting off of the ground for a bit. Funny, but not too noticeable is that the animations seem to stay the same (maybe the feet point down though?) but characters who evade through cartwheels, etc, still act as though the ground is there which is a little odd. Not too distracting though.
What I Didn’t Like:
Team support - not handled very well, throughout the fight you are interrupted by a designated team member that you choose who will step in to repel damage, deal damage, or change your settings in one way or another (this last bit was always hard to follow, since it was a lot of text like “fatigue up” “power up” or something like that). Sometimes they were cool, but usually the timing on them was just off enough that they felt intrusive. Piccolo makes me laugh when he says “I shouldn’t have to save you” - but then there’s an awkward pause... and then he winds up for the attack and strikes. Too long.
Drama events: Really, the same as above. In single player mode, you unlock little bits during fights which are tied directly to the anime. Sometimes they are really cool, but for the most part the timing is unpolished and they are distracting. Especially the longer ones. Especially when you’ve died and have to replay a fight. Makes it cumbersome. Just need to be snappier.
For Fans Only: If I hadn’t seen the series, I would have no idea what was happening. That being said, I saw most of the series 10 years ago.. so I didn’t remember what was happening. It would have been really cool to just fill the cinematics out a little bit more so that it would be at least somewhat fun for outsiders as well. Maybe they could use footage from the anime itself, if scope is an issue? The material is there.
Not sure if I liked or Not:
You play as the bad guys: I like the general idea of this, but when it happened the first time it took me a good 2-3min to realize I was Nappa instead of Tien... Need to just be more obvious somehow maybe?
Button mashing often trumps skilled play. As I mentioned above, Issam and I won about an even number of matches - which was fun for me, but he’s put considerably more time into this game. Seems a little broken that this is the case... but then, it made it fun for me. It seemed that he still had fun as well.
How Do I Feel about Continuing:
I think this is a fun rainy day sort of game. Single player is fun because it feels fast-paced. I feel like it would be a reasonable task for me to play this game to completion, since I think in the end it would take 3 hours max. I like that. :) We’re looking into buying the latest DBZ game today, so that we can play characters from the Great Saiyaman Saga as well.