|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Dimps||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
June 2, 2008 - I know what you are thinking: Why another Dragon Ball Z fighting game? Initially, I was asking myself the same question, especially with Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 no more than 7 months old. However, I am a junkie when it comes to Dragon Ball Z. Thankfully, this new edition in the vast library of Dragon Ball Z fighting games is looking to breathe new life into the series.
For the three people in the world who don't have a clue about Dragon Ball Z, here's a brief history of the main story. Dragon Ball Z picks up several years after the end of Dragon Ball. Goku, the main character, is married to Chi-chi, his childhood love, and they have a son named Gohan. Life is good and only occasionally are the mystical wish granting Dragon Balls used, but that all changes with the arrival of an alien named Raditz. Raditz claims to be a Saiyan and the brother of Goku. This came as a bit of shock to both Goku and fans alike. Goku was a character we had known for several years, and then we came to find out he's just another E.T. Goku defeats Raditz with some assistance from one time villain turned ally, Piccolo, and the stage is set for one of the most hyperactive action-based anime storylines to ever unfold. With everything from otherworldly alien tyrants to evolving androids, Dragon Ball Z became the main catalyst for the rapidly growing love of anime in America.
The heart of the recent Dragon Ball Z fighting games has been the ease of the controls; a true welcome to button mashers and multi-level button combination lovers of all ages. Burst Limit is continuing the tradition of keeping things simple yet complex by retaining a lot of what we have come to expect. However, there are a few differences. For example, a few of the familiar moves have been adjusted to make them feel more natural in terms of button placements. Transformations are still just one button away, but the complex signatures moves of the past require only a few buttons that appear to work similarly with for each character. This is one of the things many have felt hindered the DBZ fighting games, but with this approach it makes it easy for you to learn the basics of one character and then branch out with others
While I was playing as Goku fighting Raditz, Goku seemed to move slower and showed more reserve as a fighter. When I played with Yamcha against the Saibaimen, Yamcha was quick and felt more agile than Goku. This leads me to believe certain characters will perform in slightly different ways to show their differences, and it also hints that during story mode we will see the characters evolve into better fighters. I noticed another indication of this during the fight with Raditz. At times, Raditz became more difficult than he was previously, almost as if he was rallying to beat me, and there was a message that popped onto the screen saying his difficulty level increased. Granted, in previous titles we knew the characters became stronger during battles, but for some reason this seems more natural now; almost as natural as the cutscenes that occur during the battles. As every fan of the series knows, or at least feels, during the intense battles there is always at least one point the characters have to stop and talk. These cutscenes really capture the look and feel of the anime.
The cutscenes are only part of the reason fans and new fans alike will drool over Burst Limit. While these are a great addition to the story mode of the game, the smooth graphics are what will have you wanting more. The previous titles have usually been great, but were plagued by the characters looking sort of blocky and dated at times. Burst Limit definitely blurs the proverbial line of translating anime to video games. This is brought to light even more by the background environments of the game. With cities as detailed as the battlefields, waterfalls and streams that actually resemble water effects in an anime, and clouds that move, it is easy to notice the attention to detail the backgrounds were given. Okay, so the clouds might not be that important, but they are just another testament to the improved focus the backgrounds alone received in this update. The stages literally look like the developers took the matte painting of the show, digitized them, and then muted them to give it realistic touches.
There is something else that will make fans happy with Burst Limit - the sounds. Of course, this is nothing new to the plethora of DBZ games, but hearing it in sharper quality brings a smile to my face. I am certain all of the voice actors are involved, once more, but there is one thing about the sounds of the game that stuck out; the clarity of the wolf's howl during Yamcha's Wolf Fang Fist. It literally made me as giddy as I was the first time I heard it. It will be interesting to see if all of the sounds in the complete game bring me that same feeling, but I guess I will just have to wait. One other note on the sounds of the game, the theme song is great. While I was initially introduced to the Americanized version of the theme song, I have grown to love the songs of Dragon Ball Z in their original language, and the theme for this title is no exception. It captures the fun action of Dragon Ball Z eloquently.
One thing I do not like about Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is the fact I have to wait another two weeks before it comes out. While I was slightly disappointed with the last Tenkaichi 3, Burst Limit looks to rid my memory of the shortcomings of that game. I couldn't be happier with this title right now unless I had it in my hands already. With 35 playable characters, 15 What If scenarios, and online gameplay that's stronger than ever, Burst Limit looks like it will deliver a solid experience for Dragon Ball Z fans for the current generation of gaming.
CCC Project Coordinator