Dragon Ball Z for Kinect – Review
Follow Genre: First-Person Fighting
Developer: Spike ChunSoft
Punlisher: Namco Bandai
Platform: 360

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: A good work out, Dragon Ball Z!
Bad: Storyline misses too many details for newcomers
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Prepare to kick some air (or imagined ass) with Dragon Ball Z for Kinect. The game has been released by Namco Bandai and is an Xbox 360 exclusive. The Kinect has offered us both sides of the coin, which side will Dragon Ball Z be on?

1

Story:

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect guides us through all our favorite story arcs from the anime, which is surely a trip down memory lane for those who actually saw the anime series. This means for those who are not familiar with Dragon Ball Z the story will seem rather incoherent and with hardly any structure. The game show us scenes from the anime but doesn’t really tie them together to make it seem like one whole. In total there are 4 story arcs: The Saiyan saga, The Frieza saga, The cell saga and The buu saga. I have to admit it’s fun to refresh your memory about the entire series instead of just 1 story arc but a little more structure or detail would have been a serious plus. The developers tried to please their fans by choosing a lot of ‘famous’ fights but they kind of forgot to think about reaching a new audience (when it comes to the storyline).

Namco Bandai threw in a little bonus, (sadly, again only for those who already have a decent background when it comes to Dragon Ball Z) namely a short anime episode about Bardock, which is Goku’s father. A short yet great episode about the history of the saiyan people and why one should fear them on the battleground. Sadly it does not show us the entire Bardock history and is pretty much a sequel to the original Bardock story, which you will kind of need to see before you watch this episode.

Overall the game tried to offer us a lot but sadly because of this the structure seems to have been forgotten. (I realise it’s a Kinect game and it’s all about quick play, however this does not mean there should not be more story content.)

2

Graphics:

I can keep this segment of the review pretty short. The graphics of the game always stay true to the anime and just feels like they added another dimension to play in. Some areas might look simple or some attacks may cause the same kind of destruction over and over again but you will simply not care because the characters will be the most important thing for you when you’re actually playing the game. The animations when hitting an opponent may not always look/feel like the effect it actually has and this may sometimes look a little les spectacular compared to the rest of the game.

Sound:

For some reason some of the voices don’t remind me of what they used to be but then again I may just be getting old. The voice acting seems to have most of the original cast and just adds extra effect to the Dragon Ball Z spirit and just gets you pumped up to start kicking your digital opponent. There is not that much more to be said about this category except for that the game feels authentic.

3

Gameplay:

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is a single player fighting game that is played out of the first person perspective. I have to be honest I was afraid on how good the game would work after seeing a lot of the action was rather fast paced and I was pleasantly surprised.

The game is pretty much a punching-fest, meaning your basic attack is just punching your opponent when he gets in range and when you do, (if he’s not blocking) you will see a small bar fill to start a bigger attack. When the bar is filled you will trigger a stronger attack and during this attack 3 new bars will appear (in sequence) for you to fill in time to keep your attack going. In the early levels you will have a decent amount of time to actually make it seem like you’re performing punches in real life. In the later levels it will just turn in to a slap fast where you wiggle your butt  and arms in the momentum to fill those bars. A little less cool but still very enjoyable to do, even though you will need a break every few levels if you do not want to die from exhaustion. Don’t worry the game offers a lot more than just simple punches. Outside of melee range you will be able to do those same punches but they will turn in to shooting attacks, you will be able to charge your ki to perform super attacks, (KA-MEEE-HAAAAA-MEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAA…) a similar movement to perform a jump attack and so on. Some of the previously mentioned actions will also trigger situations where you will need to keep on punching to fill a bar or perform certain actions (ducking, punching, guarding, …) to actually make your attack or defense succeed. In some cases you will be able to perform more actions depending on how much Ki you have.

Note: All characters have their own moveslist when it comes to their super attacks.

Now the most important part is, does all of this actually work? The answer to that question would be: pretty much, yeah. Overall during the several hours of gameplay I only had problems with around 3 or 4 of the moves the game desires you to do to perform certain actions. The main annoyance for me was the attack you trigger when jumping. For some reason the game always thought I wanted to perform a Ki charge instead of a jump even when jumping so high that half my body didn’t even appear in the sensor anymore. This made sure it got me annoyed several times when trying to create or close distance between me and my opponent. The second ‘big’ annoyance was when the jump actually worked it triggers a sequence in which you have to perform one of the right moves presented to you to actually perform your attack instead of getting countered. However some of the options presented to you have an animation that is rather unclear on what to do and will make sure you doubt to long to actually perform the action in the desired time.  The  Other minor ones were simply other characters their special moves that seemed a little awkward to perform. All of this sounds like a lot of bad gameplay elements but they will not ruin your overall gameplay that much. One thing I noticed (and it might be a personal opinion) is that the Kinect sensor seemed to pick up my movements better with artificial light instead of actual sunlight. Which is pretty good news for all of you that live in a cave or if you’re locked up in a cellar and happen to have a Kinect and DBZ closeby.

The main game consists out of you playing through the 4 story arcs which are 6 fights per arc. Each of the levels will only take you a few minutes depending on how you play. After completing each level you will unlock the next one and the one you just played in the Score attack mode. The score attack mode are pretty much the same levels all over again but now before each level you will be able to make a choice on with which character you want to play with. Overall all of the characters will fight the same but tend to have different actions you need to perform to use their super attacks.

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect also has a Card Reader option which I wasn’t able to test because of the lack of an actual DBZ QR-card and I’m not really sure on if they will actually see that much daylight in Europe. If they happen to find their way here or get popular even, you will be able to unlock extra characters/power-ups when scanning these cards. A fun extra gimmick but personally I rather have the content without having to plow through countless sites to actually acquire a few of these cards.

Conclusion:

I was a bit mild when it came to grading the game because of the fact I really enjoyed the game except for a few minor annoyances. Keep in mind this is a Kinect game and there aren’t that many out there yet that offer that much different content when it comes to the actual gameplay etc. The fact the developers tried to implement a decent amount of story content was a nice gesture but sadly it wasn’t how it was supposed to be. The actual gameplay of the game is awesome and will make you feel as if you’re actually doing something and honestly, if you have a Kinect and don’t know what game to try out yet, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is a decent choice.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Dragon Ball Z for Kinect - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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