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Jeremy Jastrzab
05 Jul, 2008

DragonBall Z: Burst Limit Review

360 Review | Reaching or breaching the limits?
Until the first Dragon Ball Z Budokai game was released on the PS2 in 2002, the perennial franchise had suffered a long line of video gaming flops. Mind you they weren't all bad, though they were generally only released in Japan. Since then however, the DBZ assembly line has been busily churning out simple but fun and authentic fighters. Come 2008, and the franchise takes its first steps into the HD arena, with the release of Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, the first DBZ games for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

After three Budokai games that had players fighting from a traditional perspective, the series went on a tangent with three Budokai Tenkaichi titles. These games had you essentially fighting from a third person perspective, which while it sounds odd, actually worked wonders for recreating the action from the series. DBZ: Burst Limit goes back to a traditional perspective, and is somewhat a cross between Budokai 3 and the Shin Budokai games on the PSP.

Dragon Ball Z finished airing a few years ago, but it seems that the fan base is still clamouring for some love, as evidenced by the success of these regular releases. If DBZ: Burst Limit were one of the first titles released, it would be very, very well received. As it stands however, a visual upgrade isn’t quite enough to mask over the fact that the game pales in comparison to its predecessors when it comes to treatment of the story and depth of content. That’s not to say the game is bad, but it certainly feels like it could have done more.

It's over 9000!!!

It's over 9000!!!
Close
The main single player mode in DBZ: Burst Limit is the Z Chronicles. Essentially, it’s a truncated version of the story, where you’ll play through a number of key battles from the Saiyan, Freiza and Cell sagas. Don’t know what these are? Then move along, as skimpy nature of the story will leave non-fans perplexed. Interestingly, you’ll flip between the good and bad guys, but at the same time, some battles are skipped and flipped around. This is partially due to the setup and partially due to the limited roster.

If you want to access to the entire roster when you go multiplaying, you’ll have to play through the Z Chronicles. Unlike recent DBZ titles, this mode isn’t anywhere near as long so playing through should be easily possible, even if your time is limited. That said, playing through will unlock the higher difficulties, which may be an incentive for some to go again. There are a couple of other single player modes as well. These include: Survival, where you battle 100 opponents and see how far you can go, Time Attack, where you defeat a series of enemies as quickly as possible and Battle, where certain attacks will give you points that are tallied up at the end.

Once you’ve had your fill of these modes, the best way to get a truly fair match is to grab a buddy, an extra controller and hit the multiplayer. Of course, DBZ: Burst Limit allows you to do so, so long as you’re willing to accept that you’ll only have a max of 21 characters to pick from. Sure, it pales next to 150 odd from Budokai Tenkaichi 3, but at the same time, it’s somewhat refreshing to have a lot of the ‘fluff’ removed. You have to also take into account the fact that the entire Buu saga is missed. Inevitably, this will be taken account of in the sequel.

Damn that was close.

Damn that was close.
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However, DBZ: Burst Limit is the second DBZ to offer online multiplayer, so your otaku buddies don’t need to be sitting next to you to play now. However, the only other DBZ online foray was Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on the Nintendo Wii, which was virtually unplayable. So while the network code will hopefully see a minor update in the future, to clean it up a bit and make finding sessions a bit easier, DBZ: Burst Limit boasts the first fully operational online mode.

The main addition to the fighting engine has been that of Drama Pieces. Basically, these can be equipped to your fighters, and when a certain condition happens, it will activate. For example, if you’re low on health, a drama piece could activate and you take a senzu bean, or if you’re Piccolo or Cell, you’ll regenerate. Others will boost your attack, others will have others jumping in to help and so forth. They are a dynamic addition, fairly varied and there are plenty to unlock. However, they work both ways, sometimes for you but they can be really annoying when they get in the way. They are probably the most annoying in multiplayer, as they often break up the flow. We ended up resorting to turning them off.

The fighting engine in general has gone back to what it was in the original Budokai games, though as mentioned, it’s very similar to the Shin Budokai PSP spin offs. Special and Ultimate attacks are very easy to pull off and every character has the same set of commands. What DBZ: Burst Limit manages to do however, is to have the best variety of character handling and effectiveness of certain combos. That being said, the game is no fighting classic, and the appeal does lie with fans and button mashers, and the old complaint of each of the fighters being ‘samey’ is not avoided.

That's DEFINITELY over 9000.

That's DEFINITELY over 9000.
Close
As far as faithfulness and recreation goes, DBZ: Burst Limit does it’s job well. However, the simplified fighting engine will be a downer to those who got really good at the Budokai games, as it isn’t as involving. Even with six difficulty levels, the AI still gets away with being able to block and pull of moves too easily. It can get rather frustrating at times. In further comparison to previous titles, the game is very low on content as well, with only 21 characters and five (dynamic) stages to pick from. As far as versions go, the Xbox 360 version is fine if that’s your only choice, though the controls are slightly clunky. Still, it is the first DBZ game on from the developers on a Microsoft platform.

Visually, the game is easily the best looking DBZ recreation around and we were particularly pleased with the silky smooth running speed and attention to recreating scenes from the show. Even so, the animations seem to have been recycled and there is something not quite right about the characters without any black edges. Both versions of the game are near identical on this front. Apart from the terrible English dubbing (remedied with the Japanese voice option) and a suitable but forgettable track, the sound effects are all spot on, so you could be sitting in the background and get the impression that someone is watching the show.

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit continues in the tradition of the Budokai games by providing a decent fighter, but we’ve all been there and done that by now. Everything functions as it should and as far as series recreations go, this ranks as a good one. However, a shiny coat of paint isn’t enough to hide the fact that the depth in the fighting has been somewhat compromised, the game is the lowest on content since the original Budokai title and the least friendliest to those who aren’t fans. So if you are a fan, DBZ: Burst Limit will somewhat satisfy your DBZ fix, but we wouldn’t blame you for holding off until the inevitable sequel.
The Score
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit provides good service for the fans and a decent fighting game but does really do or provide anything other than a shiny coat of paint. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related DragonBall Z: Burst Limit Content

DBZ Burst Limit demo coming May 29th
23 May, 2008 Game also dated for Australia.
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit announced
17 Jan, 2008 Dragon Ball Z coming to the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3.
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai Review
20 Oct, 2006 Take over the universe on the go.
5 Comments
5 years ago
Great review mate!

I got pretty bored today so I finished off the entire Chronicles mode including all the movie chapters and I'm happy to say that it was a blast to play through. The story mode brought back so many fond memories from the Budokai titles on PS2 especially the first title in the series. I love the way they present the stories with the in game cutscenes especially when they are part of a mid way battle - it really makes you feel like your watching and controlling an episode of the show. Especially because of the awesome graphics which are probably the best I've ever seen in a anime game.

The things that really dissapointed me about the game were:

- The English voices, I mean some of the voices sounded spot on but others sounded completely wrong. Vegeta is a great example, I know its the same voice actor but susposedly the guy got into heavy smoking and is voice really dosen't sound 100% compared to the show's version.

- The Amount of characters, Its not really a bad thing that there is only a handfull to select from but after playing Budokai it seems so weird to have so many less characters and I know in the long run its going to affect the amount of time I'm going to be putting into the game.. The same can be said about the levels - they really need to release more in the next installments.
5 years ago
GroovySamurai wrote
and I'm dissapointed with the game at all.
Did you mean your not disappointed? I was thinking about getting this game, but I am not to sure. I might end up getting it one day when it is on sale.
5 years ago
Sambo110 wrote
GroovySamurai wrote
and I'm dissapointed with the game at all.
Did you mean your not disappointed? I was thinking about getting this game, but I am not to sure. I might end up getting it one day when it is on sale.
Yes I mean't not dissapointed icon_razz.gif It has a great story mode and the game plays out great but.. If your not a big fan of Dragonball Its probably best to hold off untill it goes down in price because there really isn't enough content in the game to warrant the full RRP purchase, that is unless your planning to really get into the online mode.
5 years ago
GroovySamurai wrote
- The Amount of characters, Its not really a bad thing that there is only a handfull to select from but after playing Budokai it seems so weird to have so many less characters and I know in the long run its going to affect the amount of time I'm going to be putting into the game.. The same can be said about the levels - they really need to release more in the next installments.
Yeah, I have to agree with you there, more characters are a must. The selection is decent, and it's good to see that most of the characters are fairly unique (multiple ultimates for each character was a good move), but characters from the Majin Buu saga would add a lot.

As for the voices, I had no particular issues with them, I happen to like the English dub and all the voices sounded ok to me. The only thing I noticed and found strange was Cell's voice in his first and second forms. The correct voice was used during the cutscenes, but not during the battles, only Perfect Cell's voice is used then.

Anyway, all in all I think it's a great game which most DBZ fans should definitely enjoy, the story mode, while a bit on the short side, is well done, but as the review says, I definitely couldn't blame anyone if they held off until the sequel, which should feature more playable characters and hopefully a couple more improvements. I'd give this game an 8 out of 10.
5 years ago
I finished this game off this morning and really enjoyed it. Personally I'm gald that it stopped before the Buu saga as that's when my interest in the series really dropped. I had barely touched the other DBZ games so perhaps the stalesness or whatever didn't effect me.

The graphics were pretty insane though. A lot of it looked just like you were watching the TV show.

And I agree with you Groovy about the english voices, some of them were alright, but some just really annoyed me.

Nice review Jeremy, I'd give it the same score as you, it's a really fun game for any DBZ fan (I'm not even a big one and not usually a fan of any fighters outside SFII and Smash Bros) would enjoy it.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  3/7/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
Publisher:
  Atari
Genre:
  Fighting
Year Made:
  2008

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