Dragonball Z fans with a Kinect Sensor should be Kamehameha-ing themselves with the latest release for use with motion controls on the Xbox 360 console. Featuring a fully loaded Story Mode, Score Attack Mode and even a special Dragonball Z movie on disc, if you’re a fan of the anime series then there’s not a lot to disappoint you here, but for non-fans this doubles up as a pretty neat cartoon fighting game in the first person perspective with lots of bright colours splashing about on-screen with each punch. If you have children pre-teen, then this would make a great gift to introduce them to the special powers of Kinect on Xbox 360
The menu interface being solely for Kinect only (so if you don’t have Kinect do not buy this game) is very simplistic and easy to navigate with either your left or right hand to select an option and then slide out approach. This method as used in many other games is one of the best and simple methods for correct navigation because there is nothing worse than a non-responsive options screen as also found in other Kinect games that we shalln’t mention here just now, (but Just Dance 4 is a nuisance). It always pleases me when a game that relies on your hands has something simple and straight-forward to navigate, with this being aimed primarily at children, it’s possibly the reason why – but it works well.
Enough about the menu, but a great place to start in Dragonball Z for Kinect is at the Tutorial screen which will teach you how to perform the correct moves, attacks and methods of defence against your foes. By learning the moves here it doesn’t matter if you get them right or wrong as it’s a learning curve, by taking the skills you master such as the Kamehameha, Vegeta’s Final Flash, Spirit Bomb, Special Beam Cannon and Gohan’s Masenko into the main story mode where you’ll be mastering the skills to become a Super Saiyan in no time. Without starting at the tutorials it’s going to be a guessing game as to how to approach your enemies within the story mode correctly, some combo’s and super charged moves will assist in a difficult battle scenario, so I can’t recommend it enough to take the extra time out to learn them.
The story mode will allow you to enjoy battles and events following the complete story of the Dragonball Z saga. You get to interactively participate in dramatic battles use anime-style camerawork and with the magic of Kinect your character will follow your moves in the same way as and aim to perform the same attack or movement from a particular famous scene. Following on from a few mini battle fights you then get to enter into a giant boss battle which quite literally takes the wind from beneath you – you better have some stamina as a constant requirement to punch and kick your way to victory is needed. Once you’ve completed one saga story, another unlocks for you to enjoy.
To take a breather from the Story Mode, but still to enjoy the fighting scenes from Dragonball Z, Score Attack will allow you to defeat opponents 1 on 1 with the aim of trying to get a high score, and then with the objective of you beating your previous score. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but unless you have unlocked a particular Saga Story in the Story Mode, you will be unable to play it in score attack. With what you have unlocked, you get to choose a specific battle (such as Goku vs Raditz, Krillin vs Saibamen, Goku vs Nappa) and re-play the battle to perfect your scores for the leaderboards.
One of the noticeable flaws to Dragonball z for Kinect is that for the simple moves of close range attacks Jab, Uppercut, Hook, Charge Ki, Guard, Kick – the Kinect sensor picks up on it really well and is very responsive, but for the more technical moves in Dragonball Z such as the Kamehameha for instance, it takes a bit of time before the Kinect knows what you’re doing. This seems to become an ever increasing problem with Kinect – it’s really good for voice controls and basic simple moves, but anything beyond a kick and a punch is a massive fail. Visually though the anime style artwork, characters and backdrops have been well presented and execute really well. Unless you’re a child who adores the Dragonball Z series, this game isn’t really going to be for you as there are a lot of better fighting games on the market right now.
Dragonball Z for Kinect plays well for most of the time, looks really great on-screen to present itself as an interactive story from the Dragonball Z Saga with you as a main character fighting your way through one Saga to another, but it can become a repetitive and at rare occasions unresponsive with the Kinect sensor. Only worthwhile if you’ve a child who’s a die-hard fan of the series.