Review by PurestProdigy
"Average DBZ game, below average fighter"
Dragonball Z: Burst Limit is not exactly the greatest DBZ game, but it is far from the worst. Those familiar with Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 can easily see it takes the same mechanics from that game and basically makes them shinier. The graphics are top-notch, but the game cuts away a massive amount of great features that were present in Budokai 3 and adds a bunch of stuff that no one really asked for. The game's saving grace is in it's online but as of the time this review is being written, the online population is dead and gone.
The main problem with the game is that it makes changes without necessarily making innovations. This can be seen as a double-edged sword, but honestly there were few things wrong with the actual gameplay of Budokai 3 even though the balance between characters was nothing to write home about. When playing Burst Limit, you're very clearly playing a different game although the similarities to the original Budokai series are there: You take control of a DBZ fighter in a 3D environment and utilize special attacks to knock your opponent around in rapid DBZ style. You can take the fight to the air of course and there are still graphically impressive Ultimate moves that deal massive damage and whose devastation can be seen from space. Additionally, there's still beam struggles when two certain attacks meet. When this happens the attacks will collide and a player must mash buttons in order to have their beam attack pierce through their opponents.
The differences as was stated before are profound enough to make it a completely different game. First off, it is impossible to charge Ki. I don't know who thought this would be a good idea in a Dragonball Z game, but it is the most annoying thing ever and actually slows down the matches. Since you have to wait for the sluggish ki gauge to fill up on it's own or mash your opponent with attacks in order to increase it, the actual fighting feels sort of choppy.
Stages are also different enough to be worth mentioning. I personally thought how the stages were done was the neatest feature of the game; This time around, when you or your opponent is knocked high enough into the sky, you'll actually fight in a new part of the stage that is the sky. Basically the whole environment is changed and if you get hit hard enough again you'll see your character nosedive back down to earth. The stage destruction is still around and you'll also see the environment change if you or your opponent launch the appropriate Ultimate move. And the absolute best part is that the stages connect so if you knock your opponent around enough you could be fighting in the desert at one moment, the sky area of another stage after that, and then at the base of another stage. It's really a shame there weren't that many stages although familiar areas such as Namek and the Hyperbolic Time Chamber make a return.
Another difference is a gameplay element known as the Drama Piece. This is actually worse than the slow, plodding ki gauge but it can be turned off and is only really an issue for single player modes. Basically, in an effort to make the game even slower, the developers decided to interrupt matches with cutscenes when certain conditions were met. This can potentially make the gameplay broken since sometimes these Drama Piece will interrupt Ultimate Attacks and have little side effects after they're done such as restoring health or maxing out Ki. Most Drama Pieces are unlockable in single player mode and take a lot of guesswork in order to figure out the requirements which further unbalances the game when taken online since some players will have the ones that are harder to unlock, but thankfully playing with them is optional anyway.
And speaking of unbalance, this game is the king of it. Very few of the characters can deal with the top three characters in the game and the one's that do are way harder to use efficiently than the top tier ones. On a basic level the top characters can easily attain victory by spamming ridiculously and on a competitive level they have insane combos that deal a ton of damage. And this is completely disregarding how broken some of their Ultimate moves are.
The single player modes in the game are pretty standard. You've got a story mode which unfortunately only extends to the Cell Saga and the game's roster laughably doesn't even let you use all the major characters up to that point. The cutscenes are all nice and graphically shiny, but if you really want to get Dragonball Z's story I highly insist that you watch the anime. The story mode for this game cuts out massive chunks of plot. To be fair though, no DBZ game has really ever done that massive series justice as far as content except maybe Budokai 3.
There are also a few time attack modes, a score rush mode, and a survival mode that all have different leaderboards for settings both with Drama Pieces and without. Finally, there is a training mode where you can learn all the games new features, and of course a practice mode for learning combos.
Overall, Burst Limit is like the awkward middle child of the DBZ games. It fails at being a good fighter like the original Budokai series and also at being a good DBZ simulator like the Tenkaichi or Raging Blast games. Still although the style choice of the gameplay is still more fun than the simulator DBZ games, you should avoid this title unless you're a fan of the series.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/17/11
Game Release: Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (US, 06/10/08)
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