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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review Package Art
Monolith Soft
Namco Bandai Games

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard scoring criteria.

Time and time again, games based on television shows, movies, and books fail to live up to their source material; and, far too often, they not only fail, but fail miserably, despite the source seeming to be such prime fodder for a video game. Luckily, for fans of Dragon Ball Z, this has not necessarily been the case, as they have been rewarded with some solid games over the years. Ultimately, Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is no different, as it is a very deep RPG that will satisfy both fans of the franchise and of the genre.

The events of the game parallel those of the manga and anime series: Goku and his friends are training to become masters of the martial arts. After encountering Piccolo, who vows to train even harder and surpass the strength of the legendary Goku, Goku's brother Raditz appears, and explains to Goku how he is of an alien race known as the Saiyans who were sent to destroy all life on Earth. After defeating Raditz, who explains as he dies that more Saiyans will come, Goku dies as well, thrusting his friends into a quest for the seven dragon balls, which upon their being collected will grant a wish, in order to bring Goku back to defeat the Saiyans.

For fans of the series, the story will no doubt be a treat, as the events of the game are interwoven and concurrent with the events of both the manga and anime. For those in the dark, however, there is an uphill battle to figure out what roles the characters satisfy, and what all the terms mean as they apply to the fighters and their world.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Screenshots

That having been said, RPG fans will find themselves right at home with the game, as it sticks to the roots of the genre while bringing enough to the table to make itself stand out from the crowd. There is the standard overworld/dungeon crawling game, as well as the fighting mechanics. The overworld system is set up simplistically, allowing the player to use Ki blasts when necessary to forge new pathways in the world. Cinematics of the game are handled via simple images or with the game's own engine; given the anime, it would have been nice to see some actual scenes here or there, but given the scope of the game, it's understandable as to why the developers chose to omit such scenes.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Screenshots

The battle system of the game is incredibly robust. You have up to three players on the screen at a time-- there are also up to five vacant slots for potential people waiting in the wings. Like most RPGs, there are the standard attacks and usable items that perform a variety of roles, such as healing or launching their own attacks. Where the battle system really takes off however is with the Ki attacks.

The Ki attacks are handled similarly to magic attacks from other games, wherein these are more 'advanced' attacks that use up a given amount of Ki. While that seems like nothing new, by utilizing the property the developers introduced the ability of 'sparking' for individual characters. If your character is sparking, you can then perform an ultimate Ki attack, which is more powerful than the standard Ki attack. Furthermore, if two or three attackers are sparking, if you select the correct attacks, they will all attack together, unleashing a powerful barrage. It was really neat to see this implemented so well.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Screenshots

The game is not without its flaws, however. The aforementioned Ki attacks bring with them a mini-cinematic that takes well over ten seconds; while that may not seem like much, by the end of the game you just wish you could turn it off, as you will have seen them all hundreds of times prior. Also, the game jumps around with who you may control at any given point-- while this allows for some differentiation, it also causes one to feel disoriented, especially when you are attempting to establish what level your character should be. Luckily, all the items you had prior to the character switch remain, as if you are an overseer of sorts for the party. While logically inconsistent, it's certainly a must for a game of this scope.

A game like Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans will, for many, have some lofty expectations to overcome, and on the whole the game succeeds valiantly. While there were some points of the game to nit-pick, you would also be hard-pressed to find a more sufficient game package this holiday season. It's worth a look if you're wanting a good game; it's a must buy if you're a fan of the genre or series.

final score 8.8/10

Staff Avatar Robert Thompson
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"Henshin-a-go-go, baby!"

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