By Jonathan Falu / December 12th, 2016
Fusions are taken to another level when you advanced far enough in the game. Not every character is compatible for this, barring the main character, and you do need to have some requirements, like having sufficient energy, solving certain quests or achievements, etc. Those that can fuse can create a much stronger fighter capable of learning even more moves, though still limited by the special move slots. There’s no real negative to doing this, and you are encouraged to find new and more powerful fusions. Though I also felt certain characters were stronger than the fusions, like Bardock. The visual style of the fusions are also cool, and don’t just feel like a cheap palette swap. Plus they also give far more abilities than a regular fighter, so there’s really no reason not to fuse!
The overall difficulty of the game isn’t really balanced, and even felt like it spiked a tad when meeting the Ginyu Force in the finale of the second world. However, with side quests, it balanced out…and quickly went in my favor when trying to recruit people, only to end up grinding as a result. As the story progresses, you do eventually learn how to get more members. Any character that can be recruited will have a star next to their name, and they must be finished off with a Zenkai Attack. There is a meter right above the team’s health. By having just one bar filled, they can use the Zenkai attack, and the fighting perspective changes radically, turning into a bit more of a 3D battle where you can throw ki blasts, teleport, and punch the enemy, though they can do the same to you. Doing this can increase your ki to pull off more moves and if full, will just increase the overall attack power of the move. This is also a mode I never got used to, and it never felt consistent in difficulty as the AI switched to beating the hell out of me to just taking hits too easily.
The Zenkai Attack is not the only thing that can be used. You can also perform a five-way fusion instead of a Zenkai Attack. While you cannot recruit characters, this does help in not only reviving a character in a fight (divides health between them all), but it creates a whole new giant character. From here, you have a few seconds to blast and rush the enemy to do damage. When the time is up, or all of their HP is depleted, the enemy will take extra damage by a giant ki blast. Due to the range and how it can take in multiple people, it’s definitely one of the most powerful skills to utilize. Plus the fused giant person can change hair and species depending on which character initiates it on their turn.
In addition to fighting normal fighters, there are occasional battles with giants such as the Great Ape Ozaru, Hirudegarn, and more. These battles function mostly the same as regular encounters, though these enemies are harder to ring out, and usually have attacks meant to hit hard or target multiple people. There’s unfortunately not much else to them, save for Hirudegarn, and I hope more is done with them in the future. They are cool in terms of presentation though, and satisfying to beat.
As for the extra things, this game is loaded with content. This includes finding new characters to add to your party, new fusions to implement, and of course, new quests to complete and test your skill. The main story will likely take about 20 hours, while the side-quests so far easily add in several more; I am currently over 40 hours and still not finished with all of the side quests or getting all of the characters. This is good in that the game will be a massive time eater while you try to get more characters. There’s more motivation with the achievements, which actually act as training. The more you complete, the more boosts your characters will gain in combat. It’s not necessary to beat the game, but it’s an interesting idea that I like as you are rewarded for doing these things. You can also take quizzes based around the show, though there are some translation issues that do ruin some sections. They are still fun enough and offer rewards, though can only be done once a day. After you beat the game, you can also use the Dragon Balls to change your appearance or ask for other things, but it will take three real-life days to hunt for them again.
The bad news is that finding characters can take an absurdly long time. Outside of Zenkai attacks, the only way to find new characters is through opening rifts. In order to do this, you must fight a few regular fights and hold down the X button. Then you will have the option to open a rift ranked from A, S, or G. These usually produce powerful fighters you can recruit or get better moves. The problem is that these are not always set, so it can take a very long time for a character you want to recruit to show up. And even with that knowledge, some may still need a side quest to finish. Not to mention I needed a guide in order to find out where a specific character was and how to recruit them, then fight through battles until I found them. By that time though, your character will likely be over-leveled. And recruited characters tend to start between levels 20 to 60, so they will require some grinding to be decent for endgame content.
Multiplayer is not online sadly, and is mostly just matches to fight other players. Not much else I can say on it as no one I knew had this game. What I can say is that there is a patch in the works to add in an online mode, as well as Goku Black and the blue-haired Trunks from Dragon Ball Super. The only other noteworthy thing about multiplayer is the ability to do fusions by making use of the 3DS’ camera by having yourself and a friend’s faces on character cutouts. It’s mainly a gimmick, though necessary to complete some achievements. There is also only one save slot, and the game lacks 3D functionality, though the latter likely won’t be an issue for some.
Despite some problems here and there, Dragon Ball Fusions was an extremely fun experience, one I haven’t had since Budokai 3 for the PS2. As a fan of the series, I was far more invested in this title over Xenoverse, and am praying Fusions continues to have more games. Given that the game admits that there are multiple universes, I would be psyched if we got something like the multiverse tournament manga. This new series is filled to the brim with possibilities both serious and silly! It may not convince non-fans to try the series due to all of the references and such, but anyone who is a fan of Dragon Ball will no doubt enjoy Dragon Ball Fusions, even if they hated certain other series. For the value of $29.99, I walked away entertained.
Review copy purchased by author.
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