• To anyone above a certain age, Dragonball Z is just another one of those weird kiddie fads that 10-14 year olds get into for 6 months before they start discovering girls and emotional music while trying to grow an unconvincing bumfluff moustache and goatee.

    Dragonball Z; Burst Limit is a scrapper based on the Toei animated series. The hero of the hour is Son Goku, an angular-haired superbeing capable of kicking arse royally, defending the earth from various nasty alien protagonists who want to enslave our women and children, and get up to various nefarious misdeeds while shouting mock obscenities at everyone within earshot.

    To properly prepare my middle-aged bones for tackling the game and the review I consumed the following:

    One (1) medium sized Domino’s veggie hot pizza.
    Two (2) litres of Mountain Dew, normal flavour.
    Six (6) packets of Starburst Sour Chews.
    One (1) family sized pack of Maoams Stripes Chews.
    Two (2) Starbucks Grande Lattes with six sugars in each.

    Now on a massive speedfreak sugar rush, I felt properly able to handle the sheer speed of the battering this game dishes out to your aural and visual senses, turning you from a vaguely respectable IT bod and games journalist into a fast-forward ninjitsu cyber-warrior.

    First off, the game doesn’t do any lengthy preinstalls which is nice and means you can leap straight into the action. In the game’s chronicle mode, you’ll get the best spread of playable characters to test out before engaging in any proper VS battles, so it’s a good place to start.

    Chronicle Mode allows you to take control of Son Goku, but also gives you a taste of what it’s like to play as Vegeta, Oolong and a whole plethora of other DBZ characters.

    Each chapter in Chronicle Mode basically pits you against an adversary in a straight one on one combat situation (unless you’re fighting those irritating little Saibamen, who are so tiddly and weedy that they fight in fours).

    Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit

    Combat is beautifully handled, and although there seems to be a massive wealth of combos and special moves to learn, it’s very possible to bluff your way through as I did, by keeping just a few moves uppermost in your mind.

    First up, lightning fast blocks and kicks will work to your advantage in close combat situations. Most AI / VS opponents spend so much time tryng to chain together their special moves and unleashing them at you that you can just playfully dodge to one side of the 2D / 3D battlefield and then get in close to unleash a flurry of blows.

    Now and again when the pace of the game slows down to what we lovingly refer to as “cheetah speed” as opposed to its normal pace of “Speed of Sound”, you can ready your own massive powerful bonus moves and sap an enemy’s energy bar substantially.

    Defeating each enemy carries you forward to the next chapter in the Chronicle.

    What’s nice here is that the fights basically take place on the usual side-on arena, the way fight games have been done since time immemorial. Added to that though are interspliced animated cut scenes that recall the original Anime, and give the game just a little bit more depth and atmosphere than any other brainless licensed scrapper. Put simply, if you’re a massive fan of the original series then you’re going to love what they’ve done with the source material here.

    As you play, you unlock various extra characters and bonus items. Character wise, you can then start off the game’s other major mode, VS Mode, playing as any of the characters you’ve defeated / unlocked, each with their own inimitable style.

    Playing the game through on the easiest level soon gets boring, but upping the ante by playing on any of the more challenging skill levels begins to reveal DBZ: BL’s strengths as a multi-layered fighting game.

    Dimps / Namco / Bandai have done an excellent job of representing the original animated series with some truly stunningly put together visuals that accurately recall the look and feel (and speed) of the TV show. The action jump-cuts and switches so quickly at times that you’ll feel like you’re playing it while being flashed with a strobe light. As I detailed earlier, there’s absolutely every reason to load yourself up to the gills with sugar before tackling this as at times you’ll need the button-mashing response times of a robot ninja to cope with the pace of the game.

    Tackling the game’s online mode proves to be more of a sticking point, as finding online matches can be a fiddle but worth persevering with. Failing that, VS mode for local one on one matches is good enough, and if you know a sugar-fuelled 10 year old with reflexes like lightning you should find the game more than adequate for the task of settling those arguments over which character’s got the most bizarre haircut.

    Joking aside, Dragonball Z: Burst Limit is a surprisingly satisfying and accomplished scrapper that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has multi-level appeal for both button-mashing novices and seasoned scrappers alike. It more than does justice to the intellectual property it’s based on, and even stands up as a reasonably accomplished PS3 title on its own merits.

    Score: 7/10

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