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Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Review

If there is one thing manga and anime do well it is fighting, with the majority of titles resulting in fisticuffs at least once an issue/episode and so making them perfect to translate over to the consoles in the well-trod fighting genre. One such title, Dragon Ball has had numerous games based on the long running saga of Goku and his quest to gather the seven Dragon Balls and later, his numerous battles against his long lost mysterious race, the Saiyans. It is in the latter part of the tale that we yet again join the fight, with Battle for Z covering the Saiyan, Freiza, Android and Majin Buu saga's, which to the non-informed means fighting against a huge range of weird characters. Considering this era of Dragon Ball has been covered in numerous games over the past few years the developers Artdink have taken a slightly different approach, so how do you improve on the tried and tested 1 vs. 1 battles? Well how about 4 vs. 4.

With an already solid game engine in place that places these usually 2D characters in full 3D on your screen and a wealth of history available, this game has pretty much already written itself. The same can be said for the actual controls, as on the whole they are very similar to what has come before in a Dragon Ball Z game with a basic ranged and melee attack that when combined with the shoulder buttons creates a variety of powerful moves. Fought on a huge battlefield, Goku or whoever you chose is easily able to navigate the land either on foot or by flight, using the square or cross buttons to alter your altitude.

As mentioned earlier, the main difference here is the team element, which even in single player works really well. The main menu has a series of missions that you unlock as you play through, each one picking certain fights from Dragon Ball Z lore and changing them slightly to allow multiple characters, starting of with Vegeta landing on earth in search of Goku and moving along to battles against Cell, Ginyu Force and even boss style battles against the Great Apes. Before you jump into battle you are able to select from your unlocked roster of characters, with the likes of Kid Gohan, Guido, Goku and Cell filling the ranks, each one having their own power set and special moves.

The actual battles are just as hyper fast as the shows and the previous games before them, mainly thanks to the simple controls, you are pulling off intensely satisfying moves that knock your enemies all over the place. It is not as technical as other fighters out there; with fights resembling a button masher over a technical vs. style game but it is still very enjoyable. With numerous enemies on screen and more appearing as you defeat them you have plenty to deal with, but thanks to your team mates you are never really overwhelmed as the AI is spot on, your team taking out the smaller enemies allowing you to focus on the larger baddies; they even take on roles similar to MMO's with tanks taking large amounts of damage and support dishing out health and Ki power to keep the battle flowing. The AI are also just as keen to get into the fight as when in the right position or setting up the correct special move your teammates link their attacks, creating massive chain combos that deal with most foes with relative ease. Of course all of this is made even better when online is implemented, allowing an organised team of four to create the perfect team and tackle some of those later, much harder missions.

As you progress through the man missions you will slowly earn rewards like experience points that not only increase your rank but the AI team members as well, plus you collect an assortment of cards. The ranking up essentially allows you to use more powerful cards which in turn grant special bonuses. Under several categories, each character has varying different spaces available, with cards boosting stats such as Ki power, speed, health, melee and specials. There are also premium cards available that boost you even further, but with these you need to spend PP points on them. PP points are earned when Goku summons your help to share your energy that you have earned during battle. These appear seemingly at random, requiring a simple button bash to syphon of your energy, the more you give out, the more PP points you earn. Way back over on the title screen you will see Goku orbiting the Earth, slowly gathering energy, each orb highlighted with the players name that donated it. It is not all one way though as the more you share; you may even get bonuses whilst in the battle.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is an interesting take on the team battle genre and it really does work, keeping it simple enough but with plenty of crazy action to keep you interested: my only real issue is one that appears often with these games and that is the alienation of newcomers. Previous Dragon Ball Z games would cater for the uninitiated and offer plenty of cut scenes or talking heads to give some info as to why you are fighting but here, it is just mission after mission with no real attempt to link them together which gets confusing when you consider just how many characters are involved in this game.

With a long running single player mode with alternative stories and horde modes that you can mix with online team play and loads of cards and characters to collect and rank up there is plenty to do here and is yet another fun venture into the Dragon Ball Z world, however story wise it is getting to the point where we are just covering old tracks over and over again.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3/PS Vita)


+ Fast paced fighting action.
+ Lovely looking anime engine.


- Covers the same storyline as many other Dragon Ball Z games.
- Camera can struggle to keep up with the fast paced action.

Edited On 23 Jan, 2014

( 7 )
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Question is: Is the full game better than the demo? Cos after a while I didn't enjoy it much
Ash Buchanan 2 years ago
You also have the ability to play online but otherwise the action is relatively the same, just loads more characters and cards to collect.
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
I'll get it & if I don't like it that much I'll sell it & re-buy it when it is cheaper. I just need that Goku Figure
Akemi no Zero 2 years ago
Ill give this an wait until its cheaper. But the demo was good, just need to give it another few plays.
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Dude this is the best way to switch the accountS on PSV
Akemi no Zero 2 years ago
Now too lazy to send me the link threw my ps3 or 360 huh. Lazy nox-tan but many thanks still.
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Too lazy to log onto & way too lazy to msg you on PSN without a keyboard

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