don't know what series has spawned more games, Pokemon
or Dragon Ball Z? Hey, come to think of it, whatever
happened to Digimon? I thought that was going to be
huge. Glad I didn't invest in it.
by Colin Thames
14, 2006 - Dragon
Ball Z: Shin Budokai is the latest in the Dragon Ball
Z series and it's the first title of the series made
for the PSP. Shin doesn't bring anything new to the
table, in fact it takes a few steps back over the
recent console versions, but given the limitations
of the system its pick up and play configuration should
appeal to DBZ fans on the go without too many hard
no shortage of modes, but it all revolves around fighting
which some might view as existing on the shallow side.
Modes include Story, Arcade, Z Trial, Time Attack,
Survival and a wireless, two-player mode. There are
only a handful of moves accessed by one button which
you can vary by pressing any of the four directions
on the D-pad. There is virtually no strategy to the
fighting, and other than blocking, you will be button
mashing for the duration. Thankfully the fights are
over quickly, usually within a minute or two (for
reasons I'll explain below). Obviously this would
create chaos in the world of "real fighting games"
but fans of DBZ like it for more than what is apparent
on the surface. So, yeah, it's not the deepest fighting
game nor is it on par with console DBZ games, but
I'd bet my left Gohan that most PSP owning DBZ fanatics
will enjoy it, no matter what.
an effort to add some variety to the combat the characters
have various ranged attacks which act more like projectiles
in a shooter than a fighting game. There are 18 characters
in all and they all use the same basic moves. They
only differ on their Special Attacks. In some ways
having multiple characters with the same fighting
control system makes things less complicated but only
when you're talking about a console version where
there are multiple button combos to memorize. There's
no reason that the characters in this game couldn't
have had totally different control systems that activate
totally different moves. This would have made the
game deeper and less redundant.
you might get caught up in some combos or get juggled
in the air where the only thing you can do is try
to block and ride it out. Moments like this are few
and far between which is good if you're on the receiving
end but it also means that you'll be even more limited
in your offensive combat moves.
Attacks involve throwing huge balls of energy at your
opponent, from a distance. These attacks can be devastating
to an opponent and thanks to the PSP's mighty little
processor, the particle effects look fantastic as
these energy balls explode into multicolored slivers
of light. I have to admit that I was impressed with
these powers. They were fun to use and I could have
probably played an entire arcade game with these Special
Attacks alone, however, the fun would probably only
last a couple of dollars worth of quarters.
is another energy resource that you can use to inflict
damage on your opponent. Like the Special Attack it's
meant to be used as a ranged attack. You can recharge
your Ki by pressing the L button but it leaves you
vulnerable to attack so it's best to recharge when
you're safe. You can choose to either run away from
your opponent to get some time alone or you can wait
until you knock him out of commission for a few seconds.
Knowing when to recharge is really the only time you'll
use strategy in the game.
storyline is something else. I literally mean, "something
else." I don't have a clue what's developing.
It seems that everyone wants to fight regardless if
they are enemies or friends. Some dialog begins which
typically makes no sense and then before you know
it the two guys are involved in a fight. I don't know
if the story is supposed to be so esoteric or if it's
just the product of sloppy translation.
the story mode you'll play as a variety of characters,
both good and evil. At first it seems kind of exciting
to play as the evil characters until you realize that
they all have the same basic moves and strengths as
the good guys. You are literally forced to play as
different characters such as Gohan, Teen Gohan, Gotenks,
Android #18 but the story mode, which is divided into
chapters, allows you to let some characters remain
undefeated. This changes the course of the storyline
allowing for different plot twists as the story branches
out. You can go back at anytime to any previously
opened chapter and it will be the same as when you
don't last long and that's a good thing for such a
portable system as the PSP. You're only a minute away
from a save if you're about to be interrupted. The
wide screen is great for a fighting game such as this
where ranged combat is just as important as melee.
The characters are very colorful and cel-shaded which
gives them a very polished look. The environments
are mostly barren but there are some surrealistic
backgrounds that look as though they were inspired
by a 60's acid trip. The music is techno crap which
isn't bad but it's muh too repetitive. Even the sound
effects are blasé. There just isn't any dynamics
to the audio.
the game can be fun for a few hours. It's good for
casual gamers that may be fans of the series or even
for new fans of the movie since it's relatively easy
to pick up and play. The wireless two-player mode
is a nice addition as you're not just fighting against
the AI, but with such a limited control system evenly-matched
players might as well flip a coin to see who wins
since it all comes down to button mashing and getting
lucky. There are lots of modes and unlockables which
will razzle and dazzles newbies and less sophisticated
gamers but the hardcores will be advised to look elsewhere
for their combat thrills.
systems including counter-attacks, super high-speed
bouts, flight and Ki (energy) management.
Ball Z: Shin Budokai allows players to challenge
some of the most evil characters ever seen in a
comic-based video game, or to play as the bad guys
themselves and become the most feared and powerful
warrior in the universe.
WiFi multiplayer battles featuring the universe's
most powerful fighters
playable characters, including prize fighter Pikkon
version of the acclaimed "Saiyan Overdrive"
transformations to more powerful forms
stage from the Janemba movie
game modes, including compelling story mode