Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z – Demo Impressions (Vita)

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z – Demo Impressions (Vita)

The latest Dragon Ball Z-based videogame is due to hit early next year. Battle of Z boasts everything you’d expect from a Dragon Ball Z game, with a few interesting additions to the core fighting experience to boot. For example, the game features a heavy focus on team work and the synergy between multiple characters, with skills and roles being assigned to various faces familiar to the Dragon Ball Z universe. It’s a mechanic that puts something of a fresh twist on what has become a slightly dry gameplay experience.

Inside the game, each mission allows the player to choose which characters they want to take into battle. Mixing abilities and roles reduces the threat of any challenge presented. The demo does a decent job of showcasing how the different roles and skills in the game work together to create an effective mix. The likes of Krillin fill up the support role by feeding energy to other characters and reviving those who have fallen in combat. The rest of the game’s roles lean somewhat to the offensive side,  with some being purely damage-focused and others acting as ‘interrupters’ (essentially harassing enemies constantly).

The character roles give the core combat a much needed sense of depth, even if it’s still slightly shallow. The combat is a mixture of spamming triangle in order to pull off simplistic combos until the enemy either flies away or admits defeat. Thankfully, the combat is broken up by one or two events that allow the other characters to chain attacks together that prompt combo chains. Also, there are various special moves that each character can perform, most of which come with a great sense of satisfaction. Special attacks are gained via a meter presented at the bottom left of the screen, which is filled by performing combos and receiving energy from support characters.

After each battle has been completed. the opportunity to give energy to players around the world presents itself. Tapping the circle button allows the player to send as much energy as they wish in return for premium points. These points can be used to purchase various items that help boost stats or attack types. The points can also be used to buy cards which give the user certain perks. It’s not a hugely expansive element of the game (in the demo at least), but will no doubt play a larger role towards the later stages in the full game.

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Battle of Z‘s demo allows players to try a handful of story missions along with co-op and battle modes. The former is a little shallow in the demo and doesn’t do a whole lot to sell the feature, whereas the latter and story modes are much more enjoyable. The story missions act as a way to teach the player how to play and show off some of the core features and elements to the game. Battle Mode, on the other hand, is a straight-up brawl between multiple players that is simply crazy. The fast-paced nature of the combat results in some truly insane battles between players when online. The only real issue is that some connections die mid-game, but this could simply be an issue found only in the demo which will be rectified later on for the full release.

In terms of production values, the demo is impressive. The visuals look fantastic on the Vita’s display, with the characters really popping off the screen. The bright colour pallet and crisp animations, accompanied by fantastic audio, allow the game to almost trick you into thinking you’re currently watching the TV show. Each character looks and sounds like you would expect. The battles even carry that distinct Dragon Ball Z feel and sound to them; it’s a truly impressive feat.

On the whole, the demo for Battle of Z does a decent job of showing off what the game has to offer. The combat is simplistic but the fantastic controls allow each battle to feel both energetic and fun. The role system works well and gives each encounter a nice sense of variation. The most impressive element Battle of Z has at its disposal, however, lies in its production. As previously mentioned, this is the closest a game has come to looking and sounding like the show. The Vita’s features may not be used all that much but its power is on show with the gorgeous visuals Battle of Z showcases. The demo leaves the player wanting more–more battles, more spectacle, more game–and that’s exactly what a demo is supposed to achieve. The trailers claim that Battle of Z will allow players to experience what makes Dragon Ball Z awesome, and the demo does exactly that.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is due for release on January 24th 2014 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Playstation Vita. Demos for all three versions can be found on their respective online stores.

 

 

Sean Halliday


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