|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 Amanda L. Kondolojy
It may be hard to believe, but the Dragon Ball Z franchise has been with us for almost twenty years. In that time, the series has experienced many ups and downs, especially in the world of gaming. It was during the last generation of consoles on the PlayStation 2 that Dragon Ball Z, as a game franchise, really made itself a household name.
The three iterations of the Budokai series, as well as the three Budokai Tenkaichi titles, solidified Dragon Ball Z as a first rate franchise in the fighting genre. However, even though the Dragon Ball Z series was wildly successful on the PlayStation 2, many believed it would end there. The anime had ended more than a decade prior, and there just didn't seem to be enough content to justify further releases. I too, was quite skeptical at first, but Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit seems like a title made to exceed expectations.
The first thing you'll notice about Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is its incredible visuals. While the graphics are still firmly rooted in the series' tried and true, cel-shaded anime style, the 3-D and 2-D integration is incredibly smooth, and the animations are nothing short of phenomenal. Characters are also incredibly detailed this time around, and all the character face-lifts are very noticeable. One character which had a particularly impressive upgrade was Frieza. While Frieza is generally represented by solid purple and white colors with no real detail, you will notice that now he has a highly reflective metallic sheen on his purple shoulder pads and head piece, while his face as well as the majority of his body retains an opaque white color. Facial expressions are also very detailed, and many of the game's cinematic scenes feature close-up shots that really highlight this. If you are a longtime fan of the series, I can promise you that, even though you've played umpteen DBZ titles, you've never seen the DBZ crew look this good.
Aside from the enhanced level of detail, the graphics also benefit from an extremely sharp 2-D/3-D integration system. Instead of fully 3-D characters providing sharp contrast against 2-D backgrounds, characters blend in more subtly with their backgrounds. Lines are more delicate, and although the cel-shading is still quite apparent, it is implemented in a less dramatic way than in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and 3. This title is very close to achieving a look that is on-par with the anime that inspired it, which is no small feat.
Enough about graphics; let's talk about gameplay. The battle system features many of the same old mechanics, allowing DBZ veterans to jump right in. There are several basic attacks as well as commands for grappling, power-ups, and character transformations. The ki system is also still in place, but now there is a special finishing move system that allows you to completely obliterate your opponent. Although these attacks are relatively easy for a novice to pick up, there are several more intricate special attacks even the most practiced button-masher may find challenging.
As far as the story is concerned, there really isn't much new here. Goku still fights Radditz, Vegeta, Frieza, and Cell. However, the game attempts to breathe new life into the material by adding new perspectives on classic battles. For example, you will be able to play both sides of the epic Goku and Frieza fight. It's pretty interesting, but the story really is an afterthought in this title.