My love for Dragon Ball Z started way, way back; I’m talking over 13 years ago when I was in my early High School days. I can remember I would rush home after a hard day studying (yeah right) and quickly jump in front of the TV, switching to Cartoon Network and settling down to the latest exciting instalment of Dragon Ball Z. I can still remember the first time I saw it; the first time I saw Goku battle, when the Saiyan’s came to Earth, the time they took on Frieza, when Garlic Junior tried to take over the world…so many fond memories. I can’t count the times I’ve binge watched the likes of Dragon Ball, DBZ, all the Dragon Ball films, but unfortunately there was still a void, a void that could not be filled. That is because this was just a simple anime, and I would never have a chance to fly or shoot balls of energy from my hands and take on the mightiest warriors in the universe. That is, until they released the video games, of which today my favourite has been Xenoverse. A new title is out now though for the 3DS in Dragon Ball Z Butoden, but can it deliver a game worthy of the series?
Well, unlike some of the latest DBZ games which see you in open worlds/arenas that allow you the freedom to fly around, Extreme Butoden sticks to the old style 2D button bashing fighting games like Tekken and Street Fighter. Now this isn’t usually that bad at all, I mean these types of games can often be quite fun especially with friends to beat up, but in all honestly the game falls a little flat. I can’t think of many of these types of games on the 3DS at all so really this game should do well, but it seems as though the developers have noticed this too and therefore in areas seemed to have done a half arsed job. If this isn’t the case, then I do apologies to the creators, but compared to other DBZ games, this just doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table in my honest opinion.
There are various modes, but the main thing is following the story of the entire Dragon Ball Z saga from start to finish, although quite a streamlined version. This is good as a refresher but I was a little let down because you don’t really follow the story as well as the game could. Being limited to storage, the game keeps the storytelling to a comic book style where a character will pop up with his text and it will go back and forth between the two until the fight starts, or the fights over. But, when you have some iconic moments like Goku and Piccolo battling Raditz, instead of seeing the special beam cannon fire through his chest, you just hear an argh and a flash and it’s over, I mean I’d have settled for a still image but no, nothing. This for me really let the story telling in the game down somewhat, which added to the woe of some very pixelated images and gameplay, although the 3D screen does that sometimes if held at an iffy angle.
The game itself as I have mentioned is your typical button bashing fighter game where you put together awesome combo attacks to pulverise your enemies into oblivion. For some gamers, the challenge of learning all new combos will be exciting, for people like myself who just smash buttons, we will forever be wondering what we just hit to perform a Kamehameha wave. The fun soon wears off though, as you find yourself repeatedly doing the same moves again and again, partly due to a limited moves list, but also because you’ll work out certain combos will win you a fight with ease. For example, in the Z Story mode, for my first battle against Raditz I only used a couple of simple combos and it rendered him useless as he never had time to attack, and shortly after Piccolo blasted him into the heavens. Now I don’t like losing any game really, but I don’t like winning so easily, I like a challenge now and then, doing things the hard way (it’s something us Liverpool fans are used to).
Apart from that though the game offers little else for gamers other than a decent handful of the main characters for you to play as, with each character having alternate versions available too in order to bulk out the content (Goku and Super Saiyan Goku for example). You then have numerous other friends and foes that you won’t be able to play as but will see as part of your journey through the DBZ world. There are some other game modes as well, such as Adventure mode, but despite being packaged differently, the stories are weak and seem all too familiar compared to the original plots. I mean unlike Xenoverse where you could potentially change the course of time by enemies winning battles, this just has you doing the same stuff over and over no matter how you dress it up, after all you can put makeup on a pig but it’s still a pig. The only additional mode I enjoyed really was multiplayer, this offers a new fighting game for people to play that isn’t Super Smash Bros, which I love but sometimes you need a change.
Overall, this is a well-built game in terms of the game mechanics and the battle system, but in terms of storytelling and variety of content this game lets itself down. It’s ok to play with friends to pass a short period of time, but I probably won’t waste my time playing it for any other reason in future. For DBZ fans, there are much better DBZ titles out there to play, and for fans of the game genre, well, there is always Super Smash Bros to go to, and this doesn’t really compete anywhere near it. It had so much potential, but it seems to have done as good a job as the mighty warrior Hercule did in the series, looking good on the outside but not really offering anything of significance.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.