By Philip Dunkley
I never really got into the whole anime thing. Not on a huge a scale anyway. I’ve watched a couple of the series and movies, bought a few figurines and enjoyed the artwork more than the actual content. I have however followed some the Dragon Ball Series, and quite enjoyed a lot of its content and storyline, but not been a huge follower. The series has spawned a plethora of various games, which I have only slightly dabbled in; yet this fighting game caught my attention quite a while ago.
So I would normally head into a story section here, and while DBZ: BL does have a slight story mode, throwing the player into some of the more epic battles of the series, it is definitely not one of the games strong points, and in fact, the single player is not a highlight of the game either really.
It’s a basic string of fights put together, and if you have no idea of the story, it’s not going to make much sense to you, but it’s at least a little more entertaining than most fighting games, setting the scene for the battle you are about to engage in. And that’s the story, but like I said earlier, this is not where the game shines.
The mechanics of this fighter are different. Let me explain. Firstly, sit down with a friend, jump straight into a battle against each other, and the random key presses will wield some very interesting results, with combo’s making no sense, and the fact that you are suddenly flying in battle and crazy blasts and moves are coming out of each player, just don’t add up.
Now, move into the tutorial section, understand how all the moves are closely linked to each other, and you will find a fighter that has some surprising depth and strategy. You have all the basic moves that can be strung together in combos, but you also have some really cool power moves, controlled by a Ki metre on the bottom of the fighting screen. The game also features some really well thought out countermoves, which, if timed well, will release a huge counter attack on the enemy. You will also have access to some drama pieces, which are selected before each battle, and these present themselves within each battle, and have various effects on the outcome of the battle, but not in a negative way, and it does not influence thing that much, but it’s a nice touch, and adds a little spice to each battle.
The graphics in this game are good, and each character is accurately depicted from the series, and the animation is as smooth as hell. At no point did the engine take any strain during battles, and although it’s mainly 2D, it has its 3D’ish feel, and has surprisingly nice sceneries. It’s also a nice change from the normal fighting game levels, portraying the Dragon Ball Z world very accurately.
From a sound point of view, you will experience all the expected screaming and shouting from the series and the characters voices are true to the series as well. The battle sounds are over the top as one would expect from this type of game, and it pulls off particularly well. It’s not mind blowing, but it’s good nonetheless.
It took me a while to understand this game, and at first I thought this was aimed at kids and fans of series only. What happened to me after that, I have no idea, but when I got the hang of the complex combo’s and seriously cool power moves, I found myself enjoying this game immensely. It will definitely replace most of my other fighting games, and I will happily play this game for quite a while to come.
If you like the series, you will like this. If you have no clue on the series, you might like it even more, but remember, this is for two players, not one.
Gameplay: 8/10 [Loads of fun]
Presentation: 9/10 [For this style of game, it’s excellent]
Sound: 8/10 [Very capable]
Value: 8/10 [2 Player Madness]
Overall: 8.5/10 [I was very surprised]
Last Updated: July 18, 2008