By Operation Rainfall Contributor / January 2nd, 2016
|Title||Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden|
|Developer||Arc System Works|
|Publisher||Bandai Namco Games|
|Release Date||October 16, 2015|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen|
Dragon Ball Z is a franchise many hold close to their hearts as the starting point into anime. The anime featured fast action and long, drawn out battle scenes featuring a huge cast of characters that fans could relate to. With so much source material, one would assume we’d be blessed with the greatest fighting video game franchise ever. Interestingly, that’s not the case. Though we’ve seen some good games here and there, Dragon Ball hasn’t made a huge dent in the fighting game community since 2002’s Dragon Ball Z: Budokai. Arc System Works, the minds behind fighting games like BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, have taken up the responsibility to deliver the 2D Dragon Ball tournament fighter video game we’ve all been waiting for. What we got sure was close, but sadly, Extreme Butoden falls short on some crucial areas that would have made this game amazing.
We’ve seen Arc System Works deliver amazing and in-depth fighting stories in the past, but Extreme Butoden is certainly lacking. There is some enjoyable banter between the cast, but it felt rushed, and the lack of voice over was definitely disappointing. The main story is concluded in 10 fights and covers a sped up telling of the original Dragon Ball Z story. Once completed, other story modes unlock that tell alternate versions of the Dragon Ball Z timeline, which is entertaining to see characters like Krillin be the star. Along with the Story Mode, you have the option to play an Adventure Mode that takes place after all of Goku’s enemies come back to life. This mode is clearly created as fan service, but I actually appreciated it for its rewards system. Though Adventure Mode is nothing too different from the fights you’ll encounter in the Story Mode, you have the option to S-rank fights that will unlock special support characters that you can use in Story Mode.
Extreme Butoden is not a fighting game that will resonate with many of the individuals in the professional fighting community. Each character practically plays the same with about 12 different combinations and special attacks all just an L-button press away. After a few hours, it’s easy to discover that each fight is practically the same no matter which character you choose. Having a simplistic fighting system is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is no depth in Extreme Butoden once you’ve learned the basics. I rarely felt the need to switch characters in a fight, but the option is there to add support and partners to your available roster. The awkward idea to have players touch the bottom screen to switch characters or call support was not a good one. When pulling off one of the longer attacks, it felt foreign to stretch my finger to the touch screen to call in another character in hopes of continuing the combo.
With that said, Extreme Butoden sure looks good. The roster is huge, and, if you could imagine a character in the Dragon Ball Z universe, they are most likely either a playable or support character. The simplistic battle system actually comes in handy in this situation. Learning characters is very easy and will allow you to switch and play as characters you might have forgotten about. This nostalgia is a huge positive that Extreme Butoden has to offer, and Arc System Works did not slack on including all these characters personalities and signature looks. They’ve also included a soundtrack that doesn’t seem to get dull after hours of playing.
There is an Online Mode that, assuming you have a friend who owns a copy of the game, you are able to play locally. Yes, Online Mode at this time is local only with a patch that is supposed to be released in Japan allowing for full online battles to have been announced. Fans in other regions will just have to wait for this feature.
I wanted Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden to be the Dragon Ball fighting game I have been waiting for, but the execution of the Story Mode and lack of a more in-depth battle system left this game to be forgotten after completion. Though the animations and large character roster adds to the enjoyment of the game, Arc System Works needs to focus on adding an element into the fighting system to keep players learning more and also allow playable characters to feel different from each other. I spent 10 hours playing the game to completion and felt no real need to go back to it. Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a step in the right direction when it comes to 2D Dragon Ball games, but it falls short in too many areas to be the true experience Dragon Ball fans have been waiting for.
Review copy provided by publisher
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