Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit

By on June 15, 2008

Great like Goku, or useless as Krillin? We take a look.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

The Dragon Ball Z video game series has been known for it’s lightning-fast fights, which were thoroughly entertaining at the same time. It is a great relief that Burst Limit continues this tradition, along with a few changes and tweaks.

Burst Limit supposedly follows the saga of the Z fighters, which encompasses the whole Dragon Ball Z series. For those people who haven’t watched this anime, the single-player of Burst Limit would feel like a bunch of random fights against people who scream and say "DARN IT" at the drop of a hat. For others, including me, the single-player consists of all the fights which have played a key role in the saga. Nonetheless, some sort of backstory, or a short film from the anime, should have been added to atleast partially enlighten the large number of bewildered people who haven’t watched Dragon Ball  Z.

There is also a versus mode, where you can fight against another human opponent via Xbox Live or native multiplayer, or you can fight against the CPU.

Now, to the gameplay. As mentioned before, Dragon Ball Z is finger-breaking fast, literally. I had to put down the controller and play some Civilization IV (to keep myself entertained, while not straining my hand) after playing Burst Limit for about 40 minutes. However, for those 40 minutes, you will be completely engaged in the fights, as the moves in the game are both varied and very deep. There are rush attacks, strong attacks, Ki blasts, and blocks which are the basic moves you can pull off. In addition, you have a Ki meter. It fills up if you don’t shoot Ki blasts every time, or if you sucessfully attack your opponent. Once it’s completely full, you can use all of it to make a super-charged Ki blast, which will deal a tremendous amount of damage to your opponent, if it hits.You can even transofrm to another level, if you wish to. Doing this would make your attacks stronger but leaves your defense weaker. Also, you can use your Ki to block against enemy Ki blasts. However, using the standard block button wisely, and timing it perfectly, would give you much better results, such as countering your opponents attacks, or dissapearing and reappearing behind his back (where he would be completely vulnerable, for a half-second or so).

A brand new feature for Burst Limit is the collision of two super-charged Ki blasts. If both you and your opponent have unleashed an Ultimate attack at the same time, they would collide, and the winner of that collision would be determined by who mashes buttons the fastest. Seeing that you would literally mash the buttons in a fight, even if you DID know what you were doing, it is clear that Burst Limit doesn’t want to give you a moment’s respite. This is all well though, because it makes the game that much more engrossing.

Another new feature is the introduction of Ultimate Attacks. Once your ki has reached it’s peak, and you transform to a higher level, you can execute this Ultimate Attack, which is one the most over-the-top, yet visually satisfying move you can see in this game. You will rain down punches onto your opponent, and another button mashing sequence will start. If you can completely beat your opponent in button mashing, you will end the attack in great style, and almost obliterate him.

Another new aspect is the Drama peices. In the single-player campaign, these are story-oriented, so if you fight in a similiar way to the fights in the anime, these drama peices will be played. They have a small effect, either giving you a health boost, or maximizing your ki, or increasing your defensiveness etc. It isn’t a great addition, but it’s effect is negligible anyways.

Also introduced is the Fatigue bar. Although fatigue plays a role in the anime, there really wasn’t any need for one in the video game. Your fatigue bar fills up if you counter too many attacks, or if you keep blasting Ki blasts at your opponent and such. Once it completely fills up, your player will be immobile for sometime, and wont be able to attack or defend. Once your player is in such a state, you have to start mashing your buttons once more, so that he will regain his energy faster. This has happened to me suprisingly many times. The fatigue bar,if present, should be slower to fill in future games.

A great aspect of Burst Limit is, even if you aren’t a fan of the Dragon Ball series, or don’t know much about it, you can still play this game and enjoy it. Sure, you’ll be missing the whole point of the single player fights, but it’s the gameplay that counts. And Burst Limit shines in this area with an excellent tutorial that will teach you even the advanced moves of the game, without taking too much time. The six different difficulty settings also help in easing you into the game, without seeming too difficult, but neither too easy.

The entire single-player campaign will take about 6-7 hours, depending on your skill level, and the difficulty you choose. It spans the from the Saiyan invasion, to the Cell games saga. The Buu saga is not present, thankfully, as that was a disaster for the anime itself. Instead of that, a new character is introduced, and while it would seem completely out of league with the story, that new character is a blast to play with. Also, Burst Limit includes a few fights from the Broly anime movie.

Along with this series of fights, you can play versus the CPU in random fights, or you can play against someone else. You can even watch two CPU players battle against each other, although most probably, you wont be doing that. There is also a sparring mode, which is a basic practice mode where you can hone your skills.

The game deteriorates in it’s Xbox Live multiplayer, though. However cool the fights may be on single-player, the lag on Live feels like someone offering you a double-chocolate sundae, and at the last moment, throwing it on the ground and stomping it.

The graphics of Burst Limit are a mixed bag. One the one hand, there are the character models, who look exactly like their anime counterparts. The animation is extremely good too, and the framerate is silky smooth. On the other hand, there are the environments, which are merely used to set as a backdrop of the fight, and nothing more. Destructible environments were introduced in a previous Dragon Ball Z video game, for last-gen consoles, so it is unpardonable that it doesn’t exist in this. Cutscenes will look great and dramatic at first, but the effect will wear off, as many of them are repeated during the course of the game. Ultimate attacks are both flashy and over-the-top, and the game looks great at that stage. Ki attacks are extremely colorful, and are a joy to watch. The game looks especially great when two super Ki Blasts collide.

The game suffers from some garbage soundtracks (it wasn’t the game’s fault. Somehow the series creators thought that making Japanese "rock stars" sing English songs, in English, was cool. Aah, the 80′s!), and some pretty poor English voice-acting (this time, it was the game’s fault for sticking with the anime’s English voice actors!). On the other hand, the Japanese voice-acting kicks ass as usual, and there is an English subtitles option, so you can understand what they are saying. Other than that, the explosions, crashes, punches, kicks, etc. sound pretty decent, with nothing great or bad about them.

All in all, I would highly recommend this game to everyone who likes fighting games. No, this isn’t a game only for people who want to play this as a gaming fix before Street Fighter IV. Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit is a great game on it’s own, and should be a real blast for people who enjoy fast-paced combat.

The Scorecard
Burst Limit sticks to the series' fundamentals, and adding some cool new tweaks. Single player campaing would not be enjoyed much by gamers who haven't seen the series, though. Many points deducted for bad online multiplayer.
Smooth framerate, excellent animations, action-packed cutscenes and extremely colorful and flash fights make this game a treat for the eyes. The environments detriment the quality, though.
God-awful soundtracks and English voice-acting. Great Japanese voice-acting, though. Everything else is decent
Burst Limit is a real fun game to be played, with a challenging CPU and fast-paced action luring you many times after you have finished the single-player campaign.
Apart from Android 18, there doesn't seem to be any female character to be witnessed, except for the title screen. Playing as Bulma or Chi-Chi would have been fun.
A great game for anyone looking for a super-fast brawl.


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