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Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z ditches the usual one-on-one fighting and goes team-based. Featuring different classes and a leveling-up mechanic, this newest installment will probably appeal to the loyal fan base. Unfortunately, I found the whole thing to be a shallow, simplistic, incoherent mess. Battle of Z may be boring, but at least it looks incredible. Rating: 57%
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
As somebody who has been burned by bad Dragon Ball Z games, imagine my surprise when Bandai's newest installment actually left a good first impression. I was blown away by the game's strong presentation and it seemed like the emphasis on multiplayer battles was a step in the right direction. Is it possible that Battle of Z is the rare instance of a Dragon Ball Z game getting it right?

Not so fast, Piccolo. Like so many Dragon Ball Z games before it, Battle of Z quickly runs out of interesting ideas and relies entirely on your nostalgia for the source material. The gameplay is shallow, the battles are repetitive and no attempt is made to tell a coherent story. It may look good, but Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is yet another middling anime fighter.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (PlayStation 3)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unlike past installments, Battle of Z ditches the usual one-on-one formula and opts for fights built around four-player co-op. Taking a page from recent multiplayer-focused adventure games, this new Dragon Ball Z title adds different classes and a leveling up mechanic. Ideally, players will want to balance their team with fighters that complement each other. You may pick Goku for the close-ranged melee combat and Vegeta for a more long-range approach, with Kid Gohan sitting back and healing the others as a support player.

Through 60 different missions, Battle of Z tells the story of the Saiyan Saga, Frieza Saga, Cell Saga, Majin Buu Saga, Another Age, Extra Age and Special Age. Many of these sagas offer different paths, such as the Cell Saga allowing players to play through the Z Fighters story or opt for the Androids route. You can also jump between the different sagas, though players will have to unlock most of the stages as they progress through the story.

Did I say story? Don't let my liberal use of the word fool you; there isn't much of a story here. That's surprising given how many different sagas this game runs through. At most, we're given a short text description of each story beat. This, along with the nonsensical back-and-forth conversation that starts each fight, simply isn't enough information to tell a proper story. Battle of Z hopes you are more familiar with the source material than I am, because this Dragon Ball Z game often comes across as incoherent.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (PlayStation 3)Click For the Full Picture Archive

On top of featuring different classes, each character is able to be upgraded by equipping special cards. These cards are earned through playing (and replaying) the various stages, giving players incentive to revisit the different sagas solo and with friends. Some cards require powering up a character to a certain level, which is done by using that fighter in battle. This is a novel idea that is implemented well. Sadly, being forced to repeatedly grind stages only underlines the main problem -- the actual combat is repetitive and shallow.

Even with a roster sporting nearly 70 "different" characters, everybody in Battle of Z plays the same. Each character has a melee hit, a projectile and two special moves. You are also able to perform more powerful attacks by holding the L1 and pressing a face button. There isn't much variety here, and pulling off moves is never more complicated than pressing a button or two.
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