Dragonball Z Budokai HD Collection Review

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Dragonball Z Budokai HD Collection

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The Dragonball Z Budokai series put the combat of the anime into the hands of fans last generation, but this collection shows that the simplicity within that fan-fared series will only be enjoyed by fans and deter new players from starting.

We like

  • Re-enacts moments from the series very accurately
  • Capsule ability system is admirable

We dislike

  • Very inconsistent throughout
  • Intended only for nostalgia's sake
  • Lacks any intended depth

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...stops all basic attacks, which means there's no need for directional blocking; and combos often conclude with animations that do more damage than their effort is worth. The reward is high for minimal input, but that intensity soon fades as the fights fly by. Budokai 3 mixes it up a bit by giving players the ability to counter at the cost of Ki. Pressing X while moving toward your opponent will allow you to teleport behind your foe and hit him or her, thus ending his or her combo and evening out the playing field. This can be done up to three consecutive times by each player in one instance, and the only limitation besides that is the amount of Ki that each player has stockpiled. Ultimately, this mechanic overpowers a combat system that doesn't really deserve it.

Both titles include a World Tournament mode, which pits players against random unlocked characters in three difficulty modes, those being Novice, Adept, and Advanced. I remember spending a fair amount of time in my youth repeating the World Tournament for in-game cash, called Zenie, so I could buy all of the capsule abilities, and I didn't have many problems doing so. That was because the tournament allows for ring outs, so fighting strong characters is still fairly simple. What makes the mode frustrating is that the harder difficulty appears in the last round of Adept and the last two rounds of Advanced difficulty; this means that any difficulty above Novice simply extends past the lowest difficulty so the challenging modes aren’t programmed into the natural progression of the game. The inconsistencies in difficulty also carry into the story mode, where the final battles are always exponentially harder than any fights along the way. The sheer spontaneity of challenge is really off-putting to the whole experience, since most of the road along the way is a cake walk.

The main strength of this collection is that it's incredibly easy to pick up and start playing, but it doesn't really give new players many reasons to stick around for long. Since this game compilation only holds a strong appeal for avid fans of the series, it's not really a surprise that Budokai 2 wasn't included. The sheer appeal of the two games is pointed toward 3, which is the best game in the trilogy. The first Budokai game, which is dry in delivery and basic in execution, puts the third title in a false hierarchy, since the comparison is so dynamic. I can only imagine that the polarity between these two titles was utilized in order to emulate a major improvement; so, if the second game would have been included in the collection, the third game wouldn't have looked as good, since cel-shading was introduced to the series in the second title.

Essentially, this collection is for the fans only, which is disappointing. The Dragonball Z series has always been known for taking a thousand episodes for each fight, but the Budokai games fly right past each fight on its way to the credits. Though the combat has sight inklings of complexity and discipline, the games themselves don't really give players any reason to pursue that expertise. Remember, this is a fairly easy game, and the platinum trophy is even easier to get, but the brief experience that is the Dragonball Z HD Collection doesn't really give those unfamiliar with the series any reason to pick it up. Unless you know what to expect, proceed with caution.

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