Tag Archives: bandai

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Review

DBZ main

I have always been a fan of the animation TV series of Dragon Ball Z, followed each version and the animated films that have sprung from it. The natural spin off for that franchise has been its many video game series released over the years. Some have been good and some have been utterly terrible. I have played a good few of those games, none really captured me as a fan of the source material though. Could ‘Battle of the Z’ be the one to finally grab my attention?

Dragon Ball Z : Battle of Z is a team focused mission based Action game. You will get to recreate all the big fights from the Dragon Ball Z sagas as you put your team of either AI Controlled or human controlled via online co-op, against the big evil characters from Dragon Ball Z history. The missions vary from taking out low level goons to mixing it up with stronger challenges and characters leading into boss battles before moving on to the new saga. The missions will dictate which characters are available for selection. You will play as both sides, good or evil, as the missions progress with some characters being unlocked as a result of completing the missions.

As a fan of Dragon Ball Z, on paper the above should sound like music to my ears. What better way to celebrate the show you enjoy by getting to recreate its biggest battles in a video game. Sadly, the execution of the idea leaves the experience more then just a little flat. Each character has their own special moves but I found the combat to be nothing more then a mess of button mashing trying to get something exciting on the go during the fight. Taking out waves of entry level enemies for some missions quickly became tiresome and repetitive. The game’s targeting system feels clumsy when dealing with multiple enemies near you and hot switching to the next enemy after you have dealt with one often leaves you targeting an enemy further away then the one you can directly see. When facing stronger opponents I found I could get hit with a special move sent from off screen that would send me flying across the map forcing me to have to try and get back to the action


Being a team based game, if you are using AI controlled team mates,  you can command the strategy to use by using the DPad with options to be more defensive, go full power, combine powers to take out an enemy or to leave that target to you. With three other characters supposedly under your control, I wanted to feel as though they were working with me and following my strategy I set with the commands but for most of the time it just felt like they were doing their own thing, especially when I was being ganged up on and called for a more defensive strategy, not once did I have the sensation that any of my team were coming to my aid. That only adds to the frustration of the combat system never making you feel as though you are really in control of anything you are doing on screen. Taking on a boss fight and your own team could end up being no help at all but more as a result of the weak damage theirs and your attacks do to the enemy, even when ordered to combine attacks the spectacle that a Dragon Ball Z boss fight should have and did have on the show is lost behind the grind just to try and do enough damage.

Characters can be upgraded and have their abilities boosted by way of the Card bonus system the game uses. Which is strange as the show never used a “card system” but had the fighters go off training. It would have been a nice touch if you could upgrade fighters by using the “Hyperbolic Chamber” from the show instead of cards obtained by completing missions and defeating characters. There was no tutorial into how these cards worked which I found limited my knowledge of them to the point where I had completed ten missions before knowing I could even use them to enhance the characters.

dbz 2

The level locations for the battles and missions are visually fluid with the style of the show but they are often rather tedious and bland examples. Large areas for movement but just that. With the big battles of the show often seeing characters being slammed and smacked through mountains it is quite underwhelming to not experience that during the battles in the game. Moving around the maps often use the flight ability of the characters, controlling going higher or lover using X or A feels strange and limits melee attacks to Y and powers to B. A Double tap will have you flying a little faster but knowing the show, it is frustrating that the speed is only just above that of a hover and it is again a grind to move around to get to a target with such restrictions on speed.

I did try the multiplayer and to bring in other players for co-op but suffered some serious lag issues from the other players despite my 60mb Fibre Optic connection. A few times the game even crashed as players lagged out completely. Trying to get a good cohesive game going was impossible for the five times I gave it a chance during my review playthrough. It all adds up to an experience that could and should have been much better but just failed to live up to the quality of the show itself.

dbz cards

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is a game that had so much potential for me as a fan of the show, but its poorly executed. Everything felt such a chore to make anything cool happen on screen and blended with the clumsy and often unresponsive combat system, the experience proved more tedious then fun. Missions were a grind to get through the lesser “just hit Y a few times to defeat me” enemies before getting to a more challenge character but then the game fell down when trying to get  your team to either help you or follow  your choice in strategy and I was just left with an overall feeling of just…meh, after missions were completed.

As a fan of the show, I know what action in battles the game should have, and even changing up the characters I used, at no time did I get that wow feeling that I had when watching the same battles in the show. Using a Super Saiyan should feel amazing, but when I hoped I would be able to change during a battle to have a true sense of Dragon Ball Z, instead the super versions of the characters in the game would be made as selectable characters instead of a change mid battle. A side effect of the idea of building your own team giving you the option of making a team of each version of Goku’s Super Saiyan stages instead of leveling Goku up as a character to change into them during a fight which would have been a true fanboy moment.

On paper this could have been the finest example of a video game adaptation of the Dragon Ball Z show but instead its a mess of confusing control system, bland missions to grind through and a complete experience that only succeeds in making you want to watch the show again to experience how Dragonball Z should really look and feel. Not the worst Dragon Ball Z game in the franchise but it is a glowing example of what happens when you fail to get the basics of a game right before trying to over complicate it with gimmick ideas.

Would like to thank Xbox for the review copy given to ThisisXbox.com

[rprogress value=60 text=”ThisisXbox Score 60%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”Xbox360″][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Review

Naruto Logo

An abundance of popular Manga series’ have been adapted for television and video games, but none have been more successful than Naruto. I know, even more so than Dragonball. These games are usually adventure and fighting games. What happens when you combine the two? Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (which I will now be calling Naruto Ninja Storm 3 for the sake of my own sanity) begins right where Ninja Storm 2 left off. One of Naruto’s greatest friends, Sasuke Uchiha seems to have taken a bit of a turn to the dark side. Naruto sets off on a journey to clear his friend’s name, and to stop a sort of Ninja model UN from attempting to kill his friend.  From this point on, Naruto sets off on an epic adventure involving numerous ninja battles, godlike astral projections of giant animals, and a lot of animated crying.

Naruto Screenshot

Akin to the game’s predecessors, it looks fantastic. Graphically it looks exactly as this should. A living manga come to life straight from the pages of the books. It really is a testament to the hard work gone into the game that you can have something beautifully resemble a cartoon whilst being on a three-dimensional plane. It seems strange to say, but they haven’t attempted to improve the graphics since the start of the series. That alone offends me in a way, but I also feel myself asking ‘why mess with success?’

Sound in the game is pretty good too. The score suits the content throughout and captures every mood that is on the screen. It’s nothing to shout about, but it’s definitely not bad. The entire cast of the television show have reprised their roles of these insanely popular characters, so fans will have a great time with that. The purists even have the option of selecting the original Japanese voice work. This has its own drawbacks as it makes the lip syncing almost unbearable.

Naruto Screenshot 4

This is where I feel this may be a controversial review. I’m no fan of Naruto. I’m not even a fan of anime. The furthest I have gone in that respect is checking out Death Note and the Devil May Cry series. But the story, understanding it is not as simple as reading a synopsis before you give the game a go. Not even playing the first two in the series is enough to catch you up to speed. No, you need to be aware of Naruto’s history, watching the hundreds of episodes that have been created just to hope to stand a chance of understanding what’s going on. However, I took this in jest and tried to enjoy it for what it was. The story mode just became long and tedious. With lengthy cut-scenes that would put Metal Gear to shame and more ninja themed pseudonyms than there are acronyms in a Bourne movie. You will find yourself becoming engrossed in just trying to understand what the hell they are talking about.  There also seem to be important plot points that drop out without any conclusion. I’m not sure whether this is poor writing, or if it’s just something I am expected to know by watching the anime, I’ll go for the latter as I have heard that Naruto is quite a well written series.

Naruto Screenshot 5

First and foremost, this is a fighting game at its core. They game won’t let you forget it, with a smooth system and wonderful boss battles that leave you wanting more. I just wanted to skip the story altogether and fight beast after beast. The fighting mechanic is reminiscent of Tekken, being able to start combos without finishing them, and mix and matching them with other combos. This enables you to start your own sort of super combos. Pulling off a sweet 50 hit combo that you’ve had stored in your head is one of the most gratifying things you could ever do in gaming.

The boss battles are what make this game, using all of your know-how to dodge all of their attacks and use your greatest combos to despatch your foes can be tough.  Once you’ve discovered their weaknesses and caused enough damage, QTE segments will appear. It is not annoying QTE, however and it is tastefully done. Quite reminiscent of Asura’s Wrath. It seems to capture cinematic moments that I would assume are in the anime without breaking up the flow of the fight. Hitting bonus objectives that are listed before the fight will bring up a prompt to end the match with a ‘Jutsu’ (Naruto slang for a special move). This will bring up a quick extra moment that will develop the character’s emotions further.

Naruto Screenshot 6There is a point where the story mode becomes quite dull. There are a large amount of free-roaming sections that serve almost no purpose other than breaking up the action and story. You can spend this time collecting items and money hidden throughout the world and interacting with characters to hear their useless dialogue. There are also shops where you can purchase other items to use throughout your quests. Honestly, this is one of the most boring additions I’ve ever seen to a game. It boggles the mind as to why this was ever included in the first place.

For all of its complications and its giant cast, Naruto Ninja Storm 3 is actually quite easy to pick up. It’s very casual friendly and its combos are easy to master. It can be a bit overwhelming with the long list of options that are at your mercy, but once you learn a thing or two that is useful, it will become a seamless part of your repertoire that you can hit without breaking a sweat.

Naruto Screenshot 2

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is quite a good game overall. It features a 10 hour long campaign with a ton of extras to unlock, including characters, art cards, and further backstory to Naruto lore. It doesn’t seem to be much different from further iterations; I’d go as far as to say the only difference is the story itself. The versus mode is a ton of fun as it is strictly the fighting part of the game. This is where you can truly see the depth that is in the fighting mechanics, taking your character online and pitting yourself against truly superior players lets you see that there is a lot that you can learn from this game. The story covers the anime extensively which will garner much praise from its fanbase.  The graphics are the biggest win here as they capture the tone of the anime perfectly. I will say that this game is not bad at all, but I would also say that to truly enjoy the game, you have to be a fan of the manga and or show. Be warned, this title is for Naruto purists only.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”Score6″][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]