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Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit

David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-05-28 02:55:16

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit - Rank C


Developer: Dimps
Publisher: Atari
Date: 6/10/08

Also available for PlayStation 3

I need to preface this review with the proclamation that I despise Dragon Ball Z. I find the tedious exposition, interminable flexing and posturing, and mindless aggression of fights that extend over several episodes to be truly wretched. For those of you completely unfamiliar with the source material, here's a snippet of dialogue:

-What's with your face? I don't like it.

-I will never...forgive you!!! HAAAAAAAAAA!

-Wh-What?!

-His power level's at... 7000... 8000! Impossible...! It's over Nine THOUSAND!

-That can't be right! Cause there's no way you're stronger than me!

Shakespeare it ain't. However, these elements that make for horrid television are not entirely inconducive to a videogame. We shouldn't expect weighty plots or character development from fighting games.

Unlike many fighting games, Burst Limit is fairly accessible. A thorough tutorial guides you through the fundamental moves and explains the purpose of all those meters and bars on the screen. The mechanics aren't particularly technical, and most players should be able to execute impressive looking moves in short order with any of the characters. Combos and counters just require basic timing, without much in the way of strategic depth.

Like most fighters, Burst Limit includes a story mode. However, instead of forcing you to beat a tournament with each combatant, Burst Limit recreates over fifty Dragon Ball Z duels from the series. This provides agreeable shifts of pace, giving you a taste of the various fighters. In addition to unlocking extra fighters (21 in all), the story mode also unlocks new abilities, partners, and "drama pieces". These are little cut scenes that break up the action if certain conditions are met. For example, an ally might intercede and absorb a punishing blow intended for you. Or you might spaz out and burst with extra power. You have no control during these animations, but they're succinct enough to not overly interfere with the action; you won't have time to leisurely put down your controller. You can then customize your chosen fighter with different combinations of these unlocks. More fighters should feature such individualization.

I can't gauge the quality of online play, because I wasn't able to find any games on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. I am led to believe by anecdotal accounts that Burst Limit suffers from significant lag, but few fighters escape that fate. Even the slightest drop in connectivity can butcher a genre that relies on individual frames of animation. If you're debating which version to get, I give the slightest of nods to the PlayStation 3. Its controller is slightly superior, with a better d-pad and buttons more responsive for fighters.

As fighters go, Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is adequate. It's definitely endowed with more style than substance. It generally looks better than the show, and distills the best moments of the show into a concentrated hyper-kinetic form. If you're looking for a technically rewarding fighter, better options abound. But if you're a Dragonball Z fan (God help you), you'll likely be pleased by this game.

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