GRAPHICS

GAMEPLAY

STORY

Overall score 70

The Dragonball Z series is a franchise that many Anime fans and video game players are quite familiar with. Currently airing a new Anime series in Japan and still releasing new video games for various systems. The latest game release is Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for the Nintendo 3DS. Like many of the other DBZ video games, this is a fighting game. Featuring an all too familiar storyline and cast of characters, does this latest installment bring enough to the table to satisfy that DBZ itch? Let’s find out!

Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a 2D fighter featuring many characters in the Dragonball Universe. Controls are simple and feel like any other game in the fighter genre. Extreme Butoden does feel a bit more button-mashy though, but there is some depth to it all as well. Not really relying on directional inputs mixed with button to perform special attacks, particular moves are performed based on button combinations performed. So pulling off combos is simple and there are combos in place that will let you launch up enemies or add in a special blast attack at the end. Even special attacks. So while it is simple, it can provide some satisfaction once you gain an understanding on how the mechanics work. Sure, you can have success with pushing buttons at random, but doing certain things at will looks and feels pretty good. The touch screen also sees some use as it will enable you to switch characters or use assist characters by simply tapping their images.

That satisfaction is greatly helped by the well-made sprite work in place to represent the game’s action. It’s all animated smoothly and looks quite clean on the 3DS handheld. Even with the 3D on, the game looks good. While not exactly adding much to better the gameplay, it’s neat to look at. Unfortunately that doesn’t carry over with the audio presentation. The game uses the Japanese audio, but even then it’s pretty limited. You get your usual grunts and soundbytes during the fights and story portions, but that’s pretty much it. The background music in the game doesn’t really add much to the experience either.

As I briefly mentioned, there is a story mode of the game. Like many other DBZ games, you’ll be making your way through the all too familiar story of DBZ through the perspective of Goku. Starting from the Saiyan Saga and ending with the Buu Saga. Story is presented with text and image portraits, so you don’t get that animated flair that has made the series so popular. The mode itself is also pretty short, as it skips quite a bit of events and mainly focuses on key fights. Once complete, the ability to assume the role of the other DBZ characters is available, in order for you to explore more of these storie events if you wish. It’s a good thing the main story mode is short since it’s mandatory to complete in order to unlock the game’s Adventure Mode.

Adventure Mode is similar to Story Mode but it features an all-new storyline. So that alone would draw interest. You are Goku once again and due to some unfortunate events, some timeline issues occur so destroyed villains are making their return. So the universe is in a dire situation, and it’s up to Goku and friends to save the day. You move on from battle to battle in order to progress the story. With the timeline concept, lots of characters are present. So I guess the fanservice is quite strong, although the interactions are limited to text. Still, it’s a lengthy mode and will keep you occupied for a good while since unlocks are tied into this mode.

Other modes in the game are of the usual fight against another opponent type. Face with AI or with another player. Unfortunately for multiplayer play, it’s limited to local only. Online play is not available in the game. However, an online mode is planned to be patched into the game at some point. So that will certainly help in prolonging the life of the game for those who get into it.

The lack of online play at launch is one issue I have, but I have one other. That is with the character roster for the game. As I did mentioned for the Adventure Mode, the story is set up so that many characters in the Dragonball Universe make an appearance. Unfortunately, not all of them are available as fighters, even the ones who could actually fight. Instead, they’re limited to being used as Assist Characters. Would’ve been nice if all characters in the game were fully playable, but perhaps there are reasons that’s not possible. Either way, it is a bit disappointing to see some characters not playable.

The world of Dragon Ball Z has spawned many fighting games over the years. This latest installment for the 3DS handheld is an interesting one. The fighting system is simple, so it’s easy to get into, and it does feature some depth to it if you’re willing to put in the time. Some decent fanservice as well with the amount of characters present. Even with that said, the playable roster is a bit lacking and there’s currently no online multiplayer. The 3DS isn’t exactly home to many fighters though, so if you are indeed looking for a 2D fighting game or something DBZ releated, I’d say that Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is at least worth a look if interested.

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