Sony PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360, PS Vita)
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 2.5 stars
Most "Dragon Ball Z" fans have a love/hate relationship with the anime, and I'm no exception! I love the epic earth-shattering battles, but I can't stand the numerous long-winded soliloquies in between. Now the fighting game franchise has been completely redesigned with "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z," but the result will alienate fans and repel newcomers.
Normally, offering a whopping roster of 67 playable characters sounds like a dream, but the simplistic game play brings me back to reality. Not even the ability to transform Goku into the Super Saiyan God from the recent "DBZ" movie can save this game from mediocrity!
"Battle of Z" offers a new version of standard fighting games by allowing up to eight players per battle. However, the actual combat is incredibly simplistic and lacks the depth found in most fighters, especially previous "DBZ" fighting games. In fact, the most fun I had with the game was when I played modes that offer more than merely combat.
I'm surprised to find that there's only one basic attack combo button and one special attack button. The basic attack must be constantly mashed to build up special attacks, which is hard on my thumbs. Sure, there are a few attack modifiers, but they only offer minor attack variations and abilities.
For example, some characters have flashy and devastating attack modifiers while others can heal teammates. I guess the developers were trying to make a class-based team-fighter, but the result is both simplistic and chaotic.
Perhaps the only things I like are the excellent cel-shaded visuals and the expansive 3D fighting environments. One of my pet peeves is being trapped at the edge of a level and pummeled to death, and huge arenas ensure that doesn't happen.
"Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z" proves that new isn't always better.