By David Cabrera
This article originally ran on otakuusamagazine.com
It is a testament to exactly how popular Dragon Ball videogames are that the franchise can house multiple distinct series, each by a different small developer, that cover the same material in the same genre (fighting), usually in the exact same format. Dimps has one, Spike has another, Namco has one in the arcades, and this game is by Artdink (A-Train, Carnage Heart). Artdink is coming off a long run of very – suspiciously – similar arena combat games based on Macross, Gundam, and Madoka, and given the style of gameplay they've been working in it's not a surprise that they were given Dragon Ball Z.
The combat is reminiscent of the previous Tenkaichi Budokai titles by Spike, fighting games with wide-open arenas that the player can fly freely around like the characters do in the anime. Controls are as basic as fighting games get, with everything from a teleport to a Kamehameha being performed with simple two-button combinations.Fights are large-scale team melee affairs that get extremely chaotic, as it's impossible to have your eye on everybody on the map who's trying to punch you in the face.
Aside from the signature moves and so on, the coolest trick is definitely the DBZ trademark smash-and-teleport move: a team that's got it together can take turns batting an unfortunate foe around the sky like a soccer ball.
The demo gives four levels (mostly tutorial) of single-player battle and two online modes (versus and co-op). It's generous for a demo, giving exactly enough content to grasp the basics... and, of course, to make the player really want the full game, with its full roster of DBZ characters and more stages than the admittedly classic DBZ standard “empty grassland.” Fans will just have to settle for fighting seven other Gokus in that wasteland until the end of January.
Source: Official Site