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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z - PS Vita Review 8/10

There's always been a soft spot in my heart for DBZ. It was the first anime I ever saw that was really violent. Being a guy, that of course spoke to me. There's something just inherently bad ass about the entire series and the game is no exception. With a few bumps in the road of course.

The Good:
I really like the cell shaded style. Not only is it good for the system's performance, but it also gives a nice look to it. Sure, all the games have their own cartoonish look but its a look that both fits visually and graphically.
This is probably the biggest roster of fighters I've seen in a Dragon Ball game to date. I can't count all of them, but I'm not extremely far in the game and the numbers of characters I keep getting keeps rising. You unlock characters by completing certain missions with a certain grade. While this is frustrating at times, it adds to the replayability. The mission I thought was impossible is now easier with the more powerful characters I've obtained.
The game also adds its own customization elements. A few times I was really getting my ass kicked on a fight and I found out that you can actually equip certain things to characters. It makes the game a bit more manageable when I can amp up my character to be more powerful in a fight rather than having to go in pure skill along. You get these cards for completing missions and can purchase more using in game money. This makes replaying previous missions far beyond the SS and Z rankings actually useful. Its a smart idea and I'm glad its there.
Just about every mission correlates to either the main DBZ tv show or the movies in some way. If you've watched the anime, you may notice certain things that were in the tv show itself or even a fight reacts differently if you take out an enemy sooner. For instance, I was fighting a few people which included Android 16 and Gohan. If you kill 16 before Gohan, Gohan will get a power boost. This is a really cool idea and a nice nod to the show itself. Of course... there is a downside to this which I'll talk about below.

The Bad:
Sometimes the difficulty ramps up to insane degrees. Mostly mid fight as a lot of bosses do the cheap tactic of healing themselves completely via contrived cutscene and gains a power boost after my team has been thoroughly wrecked prior to boss' boost. These boosts are unable to be subverted. I'm currently fighting Cell which is a three part fight. You fight his annoying little clones, then him and then once he's down to half health, he'll heal himself and be at least three times more powerful. Sometimes in order to unlock a new character, you need to get the boss into their super powered state and kill them. This is only made more frustrating by the lack of clear direction with objectives prior to the fight. A few fights need to be waited out until the clock runs out, while others force you to battle the super powered up boss. If memory serves me correct, Gohan defeats Cell when he goes Super Sayain 2. Yet, no matter how hard I try I can't unlock the character for that special boost up. In short, this is annoying.
Usually in a fighting game, the clock is both your friend and your enemy. Here, its a fickle lover who is more likely to slap you than reward you. A few fights (like the Super Sayain 3 Goku v. Buu fight) only end when the timer runs out. However, there's always going to be a timer so if you thought about taking your time and whittling down the enemy's health, you're straight out of luck. Recklessness is sometimes your only option, which will get you killed.
Death isn't the end... mostly. You can revive a few times during a fight. The problem is that this amount of times is limited. Alright, understandable. You and those you bring in the fight also share this revive. The most I've seen is 4 revives. Apart from that, you can revive your fallen allies or be revived by your fallen allies... which is the bad part. Most allies are dumb. Not sure if its the AI or a special character, but most times my allies will leave me and our other allies to force a respawn, lowering our spawn count which could have been avoided. Most fights is me just flying around, hoping the enemy doesn't spam its attacks so I can revive my fallen allies. Another problem is the tactics. You can chose from four different tactics: Go all out, Focus on Defense, Link moves and Let Me Handle It. The first three work fine, but the last doesn't. I just wanted my allies to sit back during a difficult fight but they just went for broke. Rushing a boss' attack that kills them easily.

Honestly, not a bad game. In fact, I enjoy it. Though the difficulty ramps up far too often for my taste, and this is coming from someone who has beaten Dark Souls 2. There are ways to subvert the difficulty which makes sense and is nice, but ultimately some fights go from being awesome to being that annoying blockage keeping you from the rest of the game.

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