You would have thought that after so many releases there would be nothing left to say about the epic show that is Dragonball Z and you would be right. Take the game we are talking about now, which goes back to the beginning and starts the story all over again, but this time with a first person view and a rather unimaginative title - Dragonball Z for Kinect. Only just the other day someone commented if we ever scored below Good, well read on as this is one episode of Dragonball Z that even frenzied fans will have trouble enjoying.
With the power of Kinect you are now able to become the fists and feet of a huge array of weird and wonderful characters from the long running Dragonball Z comics and TV shows. In its relatively short history, fighting games that support Kinect have generally had a poor reaction, always over promising and not really ever capturing the realistic movements and functions that a real boxing or street fight offers, so how does an arcade fighter translate?
The main story mode will take you through some of the high points of Dragonball Z with fights taken from the Saiyan, Frieza, Android and Majin Buu sagas. What was surprising though is that this is very similar to Dragonball Z Raging Blast 2, in fact unless I am mistaken this is actually the same game, but from a first person perspective, with the controls now removed and Kinect functions replacing it; those of you who complain about FIFA's yearly updates take note.
The aim of each fight is just to batter your opponent with punches and kicks, each being recreated relatively well on screen with every swing of your arms, plus there are plenty of other moves in there, each requiring its own unique pose. Fights are split into two styles, melee, which caters for your close punches and kicks and ranged, with you firing Ki blasts or using special powers like the Smash Ki Blast, charged by placing you hand on your shoulder. With any arcade fighter, defence is just as important as attacks, with jumping and leaning evading most moves and blocks carried out by putting both arms in front of your body.
Well that's what is says during the relaxed training mode; as the problem with these moves is that pretty much none of them work, with the Kinect getting very confused in the heat of the battle, most of the time repeating any move as a punch, with the entire game turning into a constant left jab, right jab, left jab, right jab, wait for a short cut scene, left jab, right jab, left jab, right jab, over and over again.
The game has even given you an extremely, slow-to-power-up, Ki Charge that is supposed to grant you even more awesome powers, triggered by squatting with your hands beside your hips, though again this very rarely registers, ending up with you on the receiving end of a punch or other such long winded combo move. There is only one other time you need to position yourself in this way and compared to this game, my ablutions after a heavy curry session gain a higher mark than this game.
Aside from a story mode and a score attack mode that allows you to play as your favourite Dragonball Z character there is very little on this disc. What may tempt the fans to even consider this game is the previously unreleased special movie based on an unknown tale of Bardock, but somehow they have even got that wrong with a terrible hard to read font choice for the subtitles and absolutely no way to pause or even back out of this movie, the only way out is to return to the Xbox 360 dashboard via a controller.
Dragonball Z for Kinect is nothing but a cash-in to sucker fans into spending another few quid to boost their Dragonball Z collection, offering a copy of Raging Blast 2 but with Kinect functions, resulting in a very repetitive and slow fighting game that requires little to no skill.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox 360)