Published on November 11th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Collection HD Review
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Developer: Pyramid, Inc./ Dimps Corporation
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Review Notes: A copy of the game was received for review purposes.
When I was a young boy I used to sprint home from the bus stop and ensure I got a jump on my homework. You might think I was studious in form, but that sure wasn’t the case. No, I was cranking out math problems and tearing through reading just so I could sit down in front of the old boob tube.
Dragon Ball Z was constantly begging to be watched. The action packed series told of Goku and his efforts to train as a martial arts champion. That, and he was at a constant battle thwarting some evil doer from outer space.
The series has been long known for prolonging the progression of its story due to its extended scenes of people powering up and trips taken to the Other World. Over, and over, and over again. That is one of the best parts about Dragon Ball Z Budokai game series.
Budokai roughly translates in Japanese to “martial arts club” which is fitting for the slew of characters initiated into the Dragon Ball Z realm. The game encompasses the latter events of Dragon Ball Z series and keeps the storyline constantly moving, not stalling and waiting for characters to reach 9,000.
The two games that are included in the HD collection are Dragon Ball Z Budokai and Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3. Each of which showcase most of the same features, but there are distinct differences in the two games, specifically in art style. See for yourself in the comparison screens below:
Dragon Ball Z Budokai
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3
The cel-shading in Budokai 3 gives the game a distinct look and remarkably similar to the cartoon rendition. Even so, the game looks stunning in the first version, making the Ginyu force look just as glamorous and silly. Racoome has never looked so fabulous.
After jumping in, I was left wondering: where is Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2? Even with the mysterious missing title, the game still represents well in HD and looks almost flawless. It only seems like an odd choice to include only two titles, non-consecutively in the HD Collection.
The art style in DBZ Budokai is similar to other 3D fighters out there. The game has non-CG cutscenes and showcases the animations well. Other cut-scenes are pulled right from the cartoon.The action is acted out and the dialogue is authentic to the voice acting in the cartoon show. This is in contrast to Budokai 3, where the animations are taken away and the game relies on a graphic comic type scene and voice acting to carry the story. The game also changes the way in which we explore planet Earth and Namek by having Goku and other characters literally fly over Earth and Namek to explore.
Flying over the planets seem like a silly element to add. Alerts pop up when a point of interest is near. Sometimes multiple points of interest appear in the same location that was just entered, causing you to mash ‘A’ and simply go right back where you were. It was cool to find Dragon Balls and discover items.
Both games showcase varied fighting style that is not your A-typical fighting game. Fighting games usually either rely on a combo based system filled with kicks, punches, and juggling your enemy for increased combo hits. Other games rely on a mix of those hits, but give you the option to fire projectiles and deliver ultimate moves. Dragon Ball Z Budokai offers both.
Although the game does deliver in both departments, it is done in a somewhat confusing manner.
The main focus of fighting is centered on the use of capsules. These capsules can be applied to vacant slots in an inventory list and used in battle. They range in use, from things like health increases to moves like the synonymous Kamehameha. Applying and earning more capsules will give you increased powers, such as turning Super Saiyan or a specified attack.
Obtaining these capsules is done in two different ways through each game. In Budokai they are won through defeating enemies and winning tournaments. They can also be purchased with the Zenie (the games form of monetary payout) earned from winning the World Tournament.
In Budokai 3 they are earned through flight and exploration of each planet, tournaments, and defeating enemies. These can also be purchased, but the cost of these have gone up significantly, along with the payout from the World Tournament. An example of this can be seen as the earnings for the first game for winning the tournament is 10,000 Zenie vs 30,000 in the third.
The gameplay is simple. The buttons breakdown is (P) Punch, (K) Kick, (G) Grab, and (E) Energy. Push the forward button while punching or kicking to break the stance, or hold down the P + K to use the advance break. Pushing up and (G) will allow you circle around your enemy in a quick shuffle move. This is useful when dodging blasts, but does seem clunky when caught in animations.
In Budokai 3, the use of combos with (P) or (K) can be mixed with Ultimate Moves, thus launching you into a series of button mashes or pushes. Without playing through the tutorial the moves can seem a bit daunting and confusing as there is no explanation how to use these during the game.
It might seem like a moot point that the game is primarily made for Dragon Ball Z fans. This doesn’t however take away from it being a fighting game at its core, but doesn’t do much to spark curiosity for new comers. Many who have experienced the DBZ cartoon series will find a nostalgic feel to the conquest as it spans the arrival of Raditz, and the departure of Frieza. Budokai 3 ventures into the Dragon Ball GT series, allowing players to experience the transformation feature and more about Trunks and Goten.
Bringing Dragon Ball Z Budokai and Budokai 3 into HD must have been an easy choice. The game is flawless in looks. The only problem is that there isn’t much else hasn’t changed about the gameplay
There are no new features introduced and there aren’t many unlockables outside the characters that become available in the tournament and vs modes. It is also a surprise that online multiplayer wasn’t introduced or any sort of challenger modes for versus play outside of couch co-op.
The fighting of the game hasn’t changed either. The game offers the same confusing button layout that in a sense works, but doesn’t. The game will really grow on you and it’s easy to marvel at the fact that you are actually playing an HD Dragon Ball Z fighter. There is no doubt you will be filled with nostalgia, even though it only released a few years ago, and bring back moments from the cartoon series. The achievements/trophies are a plus, but no new content neutralizes that feeling, particularly for a “collection” release.
If you are a fan of the series you might’ve expected other DBZ titles to graduate to the HD realm. Something like Budokai 2 and Tenkaichi sound like better choices. It is still a must have for fans.
+ Budokai 1 Included
– No New Features
– Online Modes
– No Unlockables Outside Already Known Characters