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Dragonball Z: Burst Limit

Dragonball Z: Burst Limit

‘Chi’, or as they call it in the Dragonball world ‘Ki’, is the force that sustains life. It surrounds us, pervades us and it can also be manipulated. Trained souls can thus fire a concentrated beam of energy. This principle has been demonstrated many times on TV by Goku and his friends. With this, they have defeated intergalactic tyrants like Frieza and the organic android Cell. Their stories have been told dozens of times in both games and the popular anime. Now it’s finally time for the next-gen consoles. This in the form of Dragonball Z: Burst Limit.

Enjoyable, but in moderation

As always, you will continue to play through the story of the series here. Fortunately, this time you will not be presented with everything again. Burst Limit only tells the Saiyan Saga up to and including the Cell Saga. You play almost every fight in the series between the available characters. This is of course very nice for fans, but for newcomers the game will come across as very unclear. You are thrown into a fight right away, without any introduction of the characters. Most things are obvious, but to really understand it it is useful to have seen these sagas. In addition, entire sections are skipped. For example, the Android, Cell and Cell Games Sagas are merged into one Cell Saga. In this way you have completed the ‘Z-chronicles’ quite quickly. When you’re done with the whole story on one difficulty setting, you can still get some fights from the DBZ special ‘Bardock, Father of Goku’ and the movie ‘Broly’s Second Coming’.

As you probably could have imagined by now, you can also play with Broly and Bardock in Burst Limit. However, there are only 21 playable characters in the entire game. These are very few for a DBZ game, while that is what always made the games fun. For example, in Budokai Tenkaichi 3 three you had 101 characters. A problem that always arose with that was that many characters have the same attacks and also play the same. In Burst Limit you already have a lot less of this, but it still occurs. Fortunately, the characters are much better balanced. For example, Krillin and Gohan are fast and very small, so they are less good to hit. Nappa and Broly, on the other hand, are very big and clumsy, but powerful again. This way it doesn’t matter which character you play with and it is very accessible for everyone.

Timing is everything

One thing that further enhances accessibility is the controls. With the square you perform rush attacks and with the triangle button you attack with a more powerful punch. The circle button is for Ki-blasts and blocks are done with the cross. So in the first instance you can easily start button-bashing, without this really causing any problems. It is even possible to beat advanced players this way. However, when you play the game a bit longer, you will discover that it also goes quite deep. There are some combinations in the game with rush and heavy attacks, but the amount of these is very disappointing. However, what Burst Limit is all about is timing. For example, you can stop Ki-blasts, but with the right timing you can also knock them away. If you block exactly when you are hit, it is even possible to reflect the energy ball to the opponent. When two super attacks hit, usually the person who fires their beam second wins. Sometimes it also happens that two jets collide with each other and then there is a fight to win. You do this by pressing the four attack buttons like crazy.

This also involves a bit of strategy. However, it is not all very extensive. A new feature in Burst Limit are the ‘Drama Pieces’. These are short cutscenes that pop up in the middle of a fight. To activate them, a certain event must have occurred first. The Drama Pieces ensure that the tide can be turned in a fight. For example, after taking a lot of damage, Picollo can recover some of his health. However, they are usually very annoying and often appear just when you are about to attack. This also greatly affects the tempo of the game. Therefore, players will turn them off before using them.

You will not often encounter this in online mode. You can choose between Player Match and Ranked Match. The first is just fighting without any consequences of the outcome and in the second you influence your worldwide ranking. For the rest, there is no difference between the two modes. The online battles work very well on the PS3. Occasionally you can get a bit of lag, but this really only occurs with large distances between the players. With local opponents, on the other hand, there is usually no difference between computer players and real players. Unfortunately, there are not multiple options for fighting online. You always only fight with one character, so the team battles from the Tenkaichi series are unfortunately a thing of the past.

Back to classic

Fortunately, everything looks much better in Burst Limit. The graphic style in which the characters are drawn is very similar to the style from the anime. So in the cutscenes you really get the feeling that you are watching parts of the series. The voices help even more with this experience. These are in fact recorded by the original voice actors of Funimation. However, the environments in which you play are no longer so free. The game has gone back to a classic fighting game, in which you can circle around your opponent, but otherwise only move from left to right. Another downside is the scarcity of playable stages. In total you can choose from five different environments. They also don’t change the strategy you choose to fight. In all five stages you fight in a large open area in the environment and you are therefore not bothered by obstacles. A little more could have been done with this and there is therefore not much variation.

This is actually the only problem with Burst Limit. The Z-chronicles have been kept very short this time, so that the story for newcomers will not be made very clear. This is mainly because there are only 21 characters playable and so only the battles with these characters are present. The controls, on the other hand, have been made very accessible. A button-basher can even beat an experienced player. Yet there is also depth to it, because everything revolves around the timing of the attacks and the blocks. The Drama Pieces, however, cause the necessary irritation, but can also be very useful. In any case, it all looks beautiful and with the online mode it is also playable for a long time. Burst Limit is certainly not a bad Dragonball Z game.

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Author: Robin Kooistra | Genre: Fight | Release: 25-06-2008 | Publisher: Namco Bandai | Developer: DimpsGraphics: 8.0 † Sound: 9.0 † Gameplay: 7.5 † Controls: 7.8 † Playback: 8.0 8.1