Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Dragon Ball Video Games Announced at E3

Three new games announced by Namco Bandai at E3 this past week show that Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z is still very relevant. An excellent, if a bit dated, anime (get it from FUNimation) the baby of creator Akira Toriyama really shone on the PlayStation 2 with excellent fighting titles under the Budokai name. There were other hits and plenty of misses but what DBZ did was put anime gaming in front of the casual gamer, a good gaming experience for more than just fans. Due to the anime having wrapped up years ago and the apparent passing of the anime gaming mantle to Naruto, the days of great, relevant DBZ gaming seemed long gone … not so fast. Atari was the publisher of choice on PS2, GBA, GameCube and Xbox but now its Namco Bandai’s turn. Three new titles, each unique and crafted for the DS, Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but it’s the angle each game takes, the story points, that is very interesting. Let’s take a look at each title, game play features and the timeline they encompass …

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast – The next-gen title for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, this is by far the most gorgeous of the titles. Fans of DBZ know that the animation from the Saiyan Saga to the Buu fights improved along with character design and this title reflects that perfection of design. This is an HD designed game that looks simply stunning and like Budokai titles before is all about fighting. The crazy flying, fighting, destructive environments seen in the anime are recreated in true HD. So what’s the hitch … the roster it seems. The screenshots revealed show Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta and Freeza and the setting seems to be Namek. Burst Limit for next-gen also had a limited roster and setting which for fans is a pain no matter how great a series looks. It’s a tough pill to swallow not having a larger roster for the price to be paid so hopefully more characters can be downloaded/purchased even if the settings remain in the Freeza era.

Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo – Created for the Wii and not that bad looking. This title takes a page from the handheld book and goes back to a younger Goku with a simpler look and feel with the original DB franchise which actually works better on the Wii. The game is a platformer and shows some origins a few gamers may not know about with these characters. It’s also nice to dispel some of the plot point Dragon Ball: Evolution established. There are RPG level-up elements and special attacks to be performed with the Wii-mote and due to the series layout it’s not as fast-paced or high-flying as DBZ, a good choice for Wii and younger for a more casual audience.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans – Ah, the handheld anime RPG. Strangely these types of games have worked and worked well as gamers relive the events of the anime turn-based style. New, unseen story paths will be included as seen in DBZ handheld titles before, the alternate what if angle and since this is just the Saiyan Saga there are more games to come and plenty of source material to choose from. Not too much more to add as the graphics are DS worthy, very pretty and the game play is an RPG. Dragon Ball Origins is a great DS title that flew under the radar but hopefully more gamers pay attention to Attack of the Saiyans.

Overall Raging Blast looks truly next-gen but could come up short with a limited roster. Revenge of King Piccolo could be the gem of the group with a storyline that’s not been explored on console and Attack of the Saiyans will also be of note due to the branching story paths. My only question is, with the support Namco Bandai has shown for PSP where is the DBZ fighter on PSP? How many Naruto PSP titles are shrunk down PS2 offerings? All things considered the greatest thing about these titles is they are all unique. Each takes on a different storyline and different game play type from fighting game to RPG to platformer. Will these games make DBZ a challenger for Naruto, hard to say, but with an established fan-base and unique offerings an anime gamer can hope.

1 comment:

  1. I think all games are great from Dragon Ball fans out there, which I'm not ^^ Anyway, if you have time, take a visit to my Free Games website.