The Surprising Popularity of Dragon Ball Heroes

 

 

Durgon Booru 2
If you can name all of the characters on this cover, then you are officially the alpha-nerd.

Dragon Ball is one of those shows that will never go away, due to its massive worldwide popularity. This epic action series about a goofy alien dad and his constant need to get stronger and fight gods has captured the hearts of millions of people. The story of Goku, his sons, his friends, and the adventures he goes on have entertained the masses for over three decades at this point.

With a franchise that has had so many iterations, continuities, and characters, one may wonder: What if there was a single series that combined all these iterations? Well, that’s Dragon Ball Heroes! This Japanese exclusive game was Japan’s attempt at selling trading cards based off popular Dragon Ball characters. How the game would work is that you would buy booster packs of cards, take them to an Dragon Ball Heroes arcade machine, scan them, and then use them in the actual game.

Durgon Booru
Three Goku’s?! That’s a lot!

What made Dragon Ball Heroes interesting was that everything was canon to it, and I mean EVERYTHING! The movies, games, spin-offs, and even that obscure arcade game from the 90s are all canon to this one sub-series of the franchise. Of course, Heroes isn’t canon to anything in particular. This hasn’t stopped characters and elements from the game making it into other series, such as Xenoverse and Dokkan Battle.

Heroes revolves around a young human boy named “Beat”, who is pulled into the Dragon Ball Heroes game in-universe. He ends up in an amalgamated version of the Dragon Ball universe, and has to ally himself with various characters from a multitude of different realities and continuities. All the while, he seeks to improve both himself and his newfound Saiyan abilities.

PBBS-02_530x@2x
A badass nerd in a trench-coat, that’s new!

Heroes isn’t solely focused on Beat, as the game boasts thousands of different playable characters. Unfortunately, having this many characters in one game comes with a catch: You have to buy them all separately. You see, the game works by scanning in Dragon Ball Heroes trading cards. You buy packs of them at the store, scan them, and are then allowed to use them in-game.

While Heroes is popular in Japan, the game never left its home country. A lot of this comes down to the fact that most people won’t buy dozens of individual trading cards just for one game. Another part of it could do with the machines themselves, which are pretty pricey to make and ship. Games with characters from Heroes in them have been removed from the US releases of recent Dragon Ball games, due to Bandai-Namco not wanting to advertise the game out of Japan.

Despite this, Heroes was still able to be enjoyed by people outside of Japan. Due to the widespread nature of the internet, hardcore Dragon Ball fans were able to get their hands on various pieces of Heroes material. This included the trading cards themselves, the 3DS ports of the arcade games, and the animated shorts made to advertise the game.

On top of this, fans were able to watch the Dragon Ball Heroes anime on Youtube, and enjoy a show that was only meant to be seen in Japan. Due to Dragon Ball’s overwhelming popularity, fans clamor for anything related to Dragon Ball. As a result, Heroes has caught the eyes of many American fans.

Despite Bandai-Namco’s decision to not bring the game over here, it still hasn’t stopped fans from trying to get their hands on it. Pretty much any YouTube video on the game usually has at least 50 messages that read like this: “PLEASE bring Dragon Ball Heroes over to America!”

It’s ironic that in Namco’s attempt to not sell/advertise the game over, they ended up making the game semi-popular in America in spite of it. I think a lot of that comes down to it being the “Forbidden Fruit”, a game that will never officially be released here. People want what they cannot obtain, and one such thing is Heroes.

Still, that doesn’t mean that a release will never happen. For example, most people weren’t expecting Metal Wolf Chaos to get a US release, but it’s finally getting one after all these years! So, maybe there is hope for Dragon Ball Heroes to be released in the West. After all, if a game about the president piloting a giant robot can get released here, pretty much anything can!

Advertisements

My Thoughts On Dragon Ball Super Episodes 109-110

Dragon-Ball-Super-Episode-109-110
The ultimate head-butt!

Sometimes, hype can be a good thing. At least, that’s what the recent Dragon Ball Super 2-parter has shown me. If you’re any sort of Dragon Ball fan, or just an anime fan in general, then it’s more than likely you’ve heard of this recent event. Toei animation put forth two Dragon Ball episodes on the same day, in order to build some hype for upcoming fights. Not only did they do this, but they also introduced Goku’s brand new form!

Yes, the alien hillbilly martial artist received yet another overpowered transformation. I mean, it’s to be expected at this point! At this point, Goku’s power-ups are essentially his wardrobe: He has one for every day of the week, as well as one for every season. So, Goku receiving a new form was inevitable. Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this episode, please keep in mind that there will be SPOILERS. It’s hard to talk about this episode without getting into the specifics, so please keep that in mind.

First off, let me give a brief summary of this arc, for those aren’t following the subtitled version of Dragon Ball Super. Goku and friends are engaged in a “Tournament of Power”, where the only prize is survival. 8 of the 12 universes are fighting against each other, with only the winning universe surviving.

The two parter begins by having Goku fight Ribrianne, who is this walking parody of magical girls. Goku fights her for a bit, she transforms, Goku knocks her away, then she becomes irrelevant for the rest of the two-parter. She barely does anything and is just kinda there, just like 90% of the cast in this art thus far. So, after Ribrianne becomes irrelevant, Jiren shows up.

dragon-ball-super-episode-109-en-9-660x330
Well, he certainly did not skip leg day.

Jiren is a character that hasn’t done that much at all yet, aside from look intimidating and punch a few guys. Here, Jiren manages to push Goku to his absolute limit. Goku uses all of his forms (except for Super Saiyan 3) against the interdimensional alien, but is unable to do much to him. Not even the “Super Saiyan God Blue Kaioken X 20” wasn’t able to do any damage.

With his options exhausted, Goku has to rely on the “Spirit Bomb”. The Spirit Bomb is Goku’s ultimate technique, despite it barely working half the time. Much like the fights against Vegeta and Frieza, Goku is unable to kill Jiren with the attack. Jiren pushes the spirit bomb back, and not even Goku’s power can stop it. After a fruitless struggle, Goku is overwhelmed by his attack. This causes a massive explosion with trippy effects that presumably kills Goku.

Goku disappears, leaving a crater behind. Just when everyone thinks he’s dead, Goku returns once more… In a new form. We don’t much about this form other than the fact it’s called “Ultra Instinct”, but what we do know is that it is powerful. It allows Goku to fight on the same level as Jiren, and even overpower him!

Eventually, Goku’s new form wears off and he is knocked out. After escaping, Goku comes across Frieza, who prepares to attack the injured Saiyan. The episode ends with the alien assassin Hit about to face off with overwhelming and overpowering obstacle of an obliteration oracle. In other words, next episode will be “Hit Vs. Jiren”.

Now, that was just a small summary of this episode. If I were to go over all 40 minutes of this special, we’d probably be here for a decade. Regardless, it’s about time I go over my thoughts on this special. It was decent, though nothing truly amazing. The fight against Ribrianne felt really pointless, like it didn’t need to happen at all.

Ribrianne has no emotional weight in the narrative, Goku could’ve easily fought anyone else and it would have the same amount of impact. To be fair, no one came here for the fight with Ribrianne. The audience just wanted to see Goku fight Jiren, which was the big draw of this event. So, was it worth it? It was, but only somewhat.

Now, the reason I say “somewhat” is because we did get that fight, but Jiren didn’t have anything to spectacular going on. He was just overwhelmingly powerful, which is disappointing. He has no special techniques, weird powers, or unique gimmicks. He is just stronger, faster, and more powerful than everyone else.

This makes for a great obstacle for our heroes, but a disappointing combatant for Goku. Why? The reason is because Goku is just climbing yet another mountain, while slowly reaching the same power level as the foe who stands in his way. The build up to Goku’s transformation was tremendous, while the animation, music, and visuals complimented the ascension very well.

The way Goku didn’t talk at all while attacking Jiren like a machine was truly amazing; one of the few times Super has managed to give me chills while watching. The problem is that Goku just gets this new form at random. Goku summons a Spirit Bomb, gets a ton of power when he accidentally absorbs it, and is suddenly uber-powerful. The buildup is there, it’s just the execution that felt rushed.

So, would I say this 2-parter was good? Yes, it was exceptional. Despite the recycled animation, somewhat rushed delivery, and pointless opener fight, the special managed to keep me fully entertained. Could it have been better? I think so, but anything could be better if given enough time and effort.

As much as I enjoyed this special, I’d say to wait until the arc finishes and watching the two-parter along with the rest of the episodes. As good as it was, it feels like most of the episodes that came before it. Due to the humongous length of this arc thus far, I’d say waiting until the arc is finished and watching it over the course of a few weeks.

If you do what I do and watch it on a weekly basis, you’re mostly likely going to burn yourself out on it. Unlike other Dragon Ball specials, this one does not function as a standalone prequel story. You’re only really going to get a kick out of it if you’ve enjoyed the arc thus far. Like I said, it’s best to wait until the arc has finished before going on a binge.

Top 5 Bandai-Namco Published Games

20170707113944_1.jpg
Time for a game of “Spot the Super Sentai reference”!

Who loves Pac-Man? Who loves Dig-Dug? Who loves a ton of awesome Japanese games only 5 people have played? That would be me! I’m a huge fan of the game company known as “Bandai-Namco”. They’ve produced countless good games over the years, some of which are my personal favorites! So, I thought that it would be a good idea to tackle a top 5 list of my favorite Bandai-Namco games. Now, please keep in mind that Bandai-Namco is a game publisher, not a developer. All the games that will be listed here were made by other developers.

Still, the games that are published by Bandai-Namco tend to be really awesome. They are one of the few publishers that hasn’t really gone off the deep end, and one of the few that continue to publish really good games. While Namco themselves used to make a lot of games, I wouldn’t be including those here. I will most likely do a separate list for Namco games, if I ever get around to playing them, that is. I’ve only ever played a couple. So yeah, let’s get into this list!

5. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

It’s hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this game! Cyber Sleuth is a turn-based RPG spinoff of the classic Digimon franchise. It plays a lot like the Pokemon games, though it does some unique things. It has a fun story, that sadly falls apart halfway through. Still, it’s definitely entertaining!

While the game is certainly a grind, it packs a ton of punch. It has over 300 different Digimon to collect, and writing that pays homage to various parts of the series. The game also sports some nice graphics for a Vita game, and manages to capture the original designs of the Digimon well. What stops me from putting this game higher on the list is the aforementioned somewhat weak story, coupled with the boring and annoying dungeon design, and constant grinding. Still, this is a solid and fun game that I think any hardcore Digimon fan can get behind.

4. Chroma Squad

I’ll be completely honest with you guys, I’m not the biggest fan of Power Rangers out there. Sure, I loved it back in the 90s and early 2000s, but haven’t really watched the show since. Still, when I heard about this little tactical RPG that takes elements from Power Rangers and Kamen Rider, I found myself intrigued. So, I decided to grab this game and was glad I did!

This little Indie game named Chroma Squad is made by the guys behind “Knights of Pen and Paper 1” and it’s somehow even better than that game! This is a game that combines simulation elements with strategy RPG elements, and puts a Power Rangers spin on it. The game is fun, albeit short.

On top of this, some of the more ridiculous elements tend to water down the game’s already silly narrative. Still, this is definitely a fun game, and it’s art-style reminds me a lot of older games such as Habbo Hotel. I feel fourth place is definitely a good place for Chroma Squad. It’s an extremely fun game, but I wouldn’t feel right putting it above the next three. This game is an awesome homage to Power Rangers, but isn’t anything too spectacular.

3. God Eater Resurrection

I’ve made it no secret I love God Eater. The original game on the PSP was a fantastic little gem, that unfortunately did not get a lot of attention. However, it was eventually remade and released on both PS Vita and other consoles. God Eater Resurrection is a damn fine game that adds so many refinements and modifications to an already strong formula.

This is a game that’s essentially a Monster Hunter clone, but adds in things such as enhanced maneuverability and better customization options. Heck, you can even make your own custom bullets in this game! This game also packs a ton of quests and missions into one cheap little package. That’s right, the Vita version was only 20 bucks!

It has such good value for its cheap price. In fact, if it wasn’t such a steal, I probably wouldn’t have bought it! It’s got a ton of new content and improvements, but at its core it it is the same game. With a new story mode, a newer and much more improved English, and several new weapon types, I can say that there is still a lot here for people who played the original game.

I’ve gushed about this game, but it does have problems. Some rather glaring flaws that made me push it further back on the list. For one thing, there no optional Japanese voice-acting option. Now, this is more of a nitpick, but it’s something that does annoy me. When I replay games, I tend to try the other language options, so I get a slightly different experience when I play through it the second time. Sadly, this game does not allow for that.

Couple this was constantly reused monsters, a lack of new creatures, some bits of awkward voice-acting here and there, and a somewhat underwhelming mutliplayer experience, and you have a game that misses the mark on occasion. Still, there’s enough good here that it out-weighs its negative features.

2. Solatorobo: Red The Hunter

I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve never heard of this game before! Why is it on the list?” I’ll tell you why: It’s awesome, unique and interesting! Ever wonder what would happen if Sherlock Hound was a video-game and had giant robots in it? That’s pretty much this game in a nut-shell! You play as a “Hunter” named Red, who is a dog-like being in a world filled with anthropomorphic felines and canines.

After a job goes awry, Red ends up saddled with a mysterious child named Elh. It’s up to Red, his sister Chocolat, and Elh to save the world from 2 different impending disasters. That’s right, two! For you see, much like an anime multiple story arc, the game is split into two parts. Even the second story arc introduces enough new things to keep the experience fresh.

The game’s combat, story, graphics, music, and characters are what elevated this game so high on the list. Here we have a game with a good story and a ton of rich lore, and manages to link back to an equally obscure game called “Tail Concerto”. That’s right, Solatorobo is a shared universe, but you don’t need to play the other games to get it. It is its own story, and a damn good one at that!

Playing this for the first time, I had inklings of what would happen. However, when I reached the end of both story arcs, I was pleasantly surprised! The gameplay is no slouch either, as it introduces a mechanic that lets you throw enemies at other. In fact, most of your time in combat will be spent picking up enemies and tossing them at each other. I always loved this style of combat, and it makes for some refreshing and inventive battles.

With all the good this game has, how come nobody ever talks about it? Well, this game does have a few glaring issues. For one thing, most of its side-quests are superfluous and pointless. The game also forces you to do a large majority of them if you want to progress in the main plot. On top of this, some boss battles are bit on the underwhelming side. The game likes to toss you against a blimp boss a lot, where you have to throw the rockets he fires back at him. That’s whole fight by the way, and there’s little permutations each time you do this.

Also, the game was not marketed well. Despite getting a whopping 100 commercials and airing them all in Japan, the game still flopped hard in its native country. On top of this, Bamco didn’t really advertise this game at all in America or other countries. As a result, it barely sold well at all. Nowadays, the game is hard to find and rare, mostly because nobody really bought it.

It’s really sad, honestly. This is a game that was made with more polish than modern games would get. Yet… Nobody played it. That’s why I feel so comfortable about putting this game so high. This isn’t a game that brings too many new things to the table, but it’s still a fun action RPG with an entertaining and somewhat dark plot. The game may be difficult to find, but if you can get it used I highly recommend you do!

1. Dragon Ball Fusions

People may wonder why I chose Fusions over Xenoverse, which I claimed was a superior game in a previous top 5 list. Well, for one thing I’ve felt I have been talking about Xenoverse way too much lately. On top of this, while I think Xenoverse is a superior game, I had more fun with Fusions. Dragon Ball Fusions is a unique beast, as it is a Dragon Ball video-game with monster collecting elements.

This game does not focus on Goku, but on your own player this time. Goku’s there, but he’s a side character. That’s what I enjoyed so much about this game, is that it feels like your story. All the other Dragon Ball heroes are just along for the ride. The problem with Dragon Ball games (especially Xenoverse) is that it never feels like your own story. This time, they changed it up and made it a lot more refreshing.

On top of this, the game also has a unique turn-based strategy RPG play-style. It’s difficult to describe how this game plays, it’s like an RPG meets a pinball game! That’s a bit of an exaggerated comparison, but I find it difficult to fully explain how this game plays. It meshes so many unique elements and manages to be extremely refreshing.

The game’s customization is its strongest point. You can customize how your character looks in so many ways, even choose the colors of each individual outfit piece. You can choose from five distinct races with enough options to make a character that truly suits you. Sure, the choices aren’t infinite or as robust as Xenoverse, but there’s definitely a good variety.

The game also has a stellar soundtrack and fantastic visuals, especially for a handheld game. I honestly love this game, way more than other game on the list. Despite this, I can still acknowledge its flaws. Battles are way too slow and can often take 15 minutes to half an hour if you aren’t careful. This game is also very grind-heavy at times. On top of this, the game’s unique “EX Fusion” system is cumbersome, despite it being one of the most fun parts of the game. It takes forever to defuse characters, and some of the requirements to get certain fusions is downright insane.

For example, to even fuse Cell with yourself, you have to complete all 16 quizzes. This requires you to complete a lot of busywork and will most assuredly take you a month of real-life time in order to pull it off. Sadly, a lot of fusions are like this. The game’s worst aspect though is the online multiplayer, which was patched in later.

It’s horribly unbalanced, and it’s possible to lose in just a few turns if your team isn’t overpowered as all hell. The best way to describe it is that its like a game of Chess, but with as many variables as a tabletop RPG. It’s insane, and it definitely sucks a fair bit of fun out of the game. It’s also impossible to find a forum where people aren’t complaining about this tacked-on feature.

Regardless, I don’t think you’ll find a more refreshing and accessible modern strategy RPG. Despite the fact that its mostly geared towards a younger audience, I think any hardcore Dragon Ball fan can get some enjoyment out of it. It’s a game that really shows what Bandai-Namco is capable of as a a publisher.

In Summation

That’s my list of my top favorite Bamco games! Keep in mind that while I am a massive fan of Bandai-Namco, I do acknowledge that they have faults. Their handling of Dokkan Battle was less than stellar at times, and bordered on feeling like a bit of ripoff at times. While I do enjoy their work, they are by no means a perfect company. Regardless, I’ll keep buying their games because I am wildly supportive of what they do.

So, what’s your favorite Bamco games? Feel free to tell me in the comment section! If you guys have any suggestions for specific types of top 5 lists you’d like to see, let me know below. Have a good day and keep it as sweet as syrup!

Looking Back At The Dragon Ball Craze of The 90s

20170714104205_1.jpg
Now this is a crossover I’d love to see!

Yep, I’m talking about Dragon Ball again! This is series that I really can’t get enough of, though I’m not as big into it was I was in the 90s. The 90s was definitely the height of Dragon Ball’s popularity in the West. Sure, it’s still popular in North America today, but nowhere as much as it was back then. In the 90s, Dragon Ball was a powerhouse. It made millions of dollars for Funimation, and was one of Toonami’s breakout hits. We’re talking about a series that really changed how westerners viewed anime.

For those who don’t know what Dragon Ball is, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the series: An alien warrior named Goku fights against powerful beings for the sheer thrill of it, while having the occasional adventure and saving the planet. This simple premise alone was enough to sell people on this show. Dragon Ball was one of those rare anime series that managed to get 95% of its content localized.

So much Dragon Ball stuff that was originally only Japanese exclusive was brought over here. Just think about that for a second, think of how many long-running anime have had almost all their content translated and brought over. I’m talking ALLLLL the content, not just the shows. We’ve only had a few One Piece movies dubbed, when there’s actually a ton of them only available in Japan. Likewise, OVAs of shows like One Piece and Bleach never made their way over here.

Dragon Ball has received so many games, shows, and movies that have all made their way over here to America. Sure, there are several things we didn’t get, but the amount of comment we did get was staggering. Now, back to the 90s for a second, how much content did the average cartoon at the time have? Most seasons were about 13-26 episodes long. That’s when the Dragon Ball series came along, with almost FIVE-HUNDRED episodes split between three different shows.

That’s not even including all the films, specials, and OVAs that came along too! One of the reasons I believe Dragon Ball was such a hit in the 90s, was due to just how much content was available. With all the various iterations of the franchise making their way to America around the same time, there was enough content to keep a person busy for years.

Not only that, but Dragon Ball’s focus on action and comedy also made it popular with kids and adults alike. Things like this really lead to Dragon Ball’s success! You had those cheesy toy commercials, ads for the games, and also those sweet DBZ bumpers on Toonami. Dragon Ball wasn’t as big of a craze as something like Pokemon or Tomagatchi was, but was definitely popular.

At one point, Dragon Ball even had a couple of magazines! Yes, I’m serious. There were two different Dragon Ball magazines, at least from what I can recall. They had all these promos and contests in said magazine, along with adverts for the trading card game. Surprisingly enough, Dragon Ball never really seemed to be polarizing with parents. This was surprising, as other anime at the time like Pokemon and Digimon were considered “satanic”.

Dragon Ball never got too much flack from parents (outside of it being too violent, which was a commonality at the time) and was also rarely featured on the news. I think this lack of infamy really stopped the show from progressing into an even bigger phenomenon. You see, when something like Pokemon is getting flack on the news, it’s getting advertised in some way. So, even if the newscaster is decrying it, people are gonna get interested in it regardless.

I never really saw Dragon Ball that much on the news, probably because it came out later on in the 90s. The early-to-mid 90s was more obsessed with controversy, and Dragon Ball didn’t really gain a lot of popularity until about 1998-1999. So around that time, anime such as Dragon Ball wasn’t seen as being all that bad in terms of content. So, how come Dragon Ball isn’t as popular today?

Unfortunately, like a lot of cool things to come out of the 90s, Dragon Ball was just a fad. It’s popularity died down after a while, especially after Funimation ran out of content to bring over here. For a long time, the only thing keeping the Dragon Ball name relevant in the West was the video-games. Thankfully, DB has seen a resurgence in recent years and is starting to become a fad once more.

Still, I’ll never forget the height of its popularity back in the day. I remember having the toys, posters, various episodes on VHS, as well as Legacy of Goku for the Game Boy Advance. I kind of wish Dragon Ball was bit like that again, but who knows? Maybe Dragon Ball Super and the constant flow of DB games will bring an even larger fan-base to it. The 90s was amazing for Dragon Ball and its fan-base, but I’m totally looking forward to what the future holds!

Top 5 Dragon Ball Games

I know I talk about Dragon Ball a lot, but lately I’ve found myself getting more involved in the series. The quality of material the franchise is churning out is fantastic! It’s surprising considering how old the series is. This is a series that has lasted over 30 years, and is still receiving new shows, manga, and movies. Today though, I want to discuss the Dragon Ball games.

There are over 100 Dragon Ball games in existence, with new ones being churned out on a yearly basis. With such a constant stream of Dragon Ball video-game content, I felt it was time to discuss what my favorite entries in the series are. I’ve narrowed it down to five games specifically. I’m sticking with 5, because I haven’t played that many Dragon Ball games. I’ve played several, but I’ve missed out on some of the really big ones. Without further adieu, let’s get started!

20170706100043_1
It really does.

 

Honorable Mention: Dragon Ball Online

Dragon Ball Online is of a rare breed: A Korean MMORPG that I actually enjoy quite a bit! DBO is a game with its own unique plot and setting, wrapped up in an MMO package. With three different races to play, and a variety of different lands to explore, DBO definitely feels like a large and fulfilling experience. However, I find it impossible to place on this list.

For one thing, I played this game on a private server. This particular server was in beta, so the translation wasn’t finished. It’s hard for me to play a game who’s plot and story I couldn’t fully understand in the top 5. Also, this game still has quite a bit of bugs and glitches. Once the server is fully finished, I may add it to the top 5. Still, for now I feel comfortable enough to place it as an honorable mention.

5. Dragon Ball Z Budokai 1 (2002)

While I’m not usually a fan of 2D fighters, I gotta say that I love DBZ Budokai! This game was my childhood, it was one of the few games that really captured the feeling of the show at that time. I remember this game shipping while the English dub was still in mid-broadcast, so characters we hadn’t seen yet (like Great Saiyaman) showed up in the game. So, what is this game exactly?

Well, it’s a 2D fighting game, featuring story arcs from the show that are recreated in 3D. The game’s beautiful (for the time) graphics mixed with its action-packed gameplay were certainly things to behold. Of course, Budokai 1 is not without its problems. The fighting itself can feel bland at times, especially when you have to do unnecessary combos just to pull off a special attack.

On top of this, the game hits some huge difficulty spikes halfway through. While the “What If” stories are definitely a welcome addition to this game, they aren’t as fleshed out as the ones that appear in Xenoverse. On top of this, the game’s graphics have not aged super well. Still, I can definitely say that I have fun with this game and continue to do so. Unfortunately, the game’s flaws keep me from putting it higher on the list.

4. Dragon Ball: Z Legacy of Goku II (2003)

Let’s be real here, the first Legacy of Goku was a train-wreck. It had a ton of flaws, including limiting the player only playing as Goku, having a cumbersome combat system, having even the weakest enemies able overpower you, not to mention the awkward full-motion video. Legacy of Goku was a mess, an attempt by an American company to create a cheap cash-in on a beloved series.

Despite this, the game sold like hotcakes. Not only that, but a sequel was churned out just a year later! Legacy of Goku II was nothing like the game that came before it, Webfoot Technologies definitely learned from their mistakes. The combat has been vastly improved, there are now multiple playable characters, you could now charge your melee attacks, you could now transform into a Super Saiyan, along with various other improvements.

Legacy of Goku II felt like a true improvement over its predecessor. Not only that, but it covered the Cell Saga, which was one of my favorites! The game certainly has problems, such as the graphics engine not having changed all that much, and the fact that you barely play as Goku at all, but the good far out-weigh the bad. I think this is an action RPG that anyone can get behind.

3. Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3

It’s hard to put into words how much I love BT3, but I’ll try. This is a Dragon Ball game that really gets crazy, especially when compared to those that came before! BT3 is a fully 3D fighting game, with over 150 different characters. You heard me, over 150! There are so many choices when it comes to the kind of character you want to play as. Almost every Dragon Ball character that existed was playable in the game. Of course, there are exceptions to this.  A fair amount of characters from the original show are noticeably absent.

Still, the roster is massive enough to make up for this. BT3’s large roster of characters isn’t its only draw, you can also create custom move-sets for each individual character! Not enough for you? The game also offers a story mode, covering each individual arc. Heck, even the movies and GT get their own arcs in this game! The game is truly all-encompassing when it comes to the amount of things there is in it.

As awesome as this game is, it does have its fair share of weaknesses. Most characters have a tendency to play exactly the same as each other. This comes down to the absurdly large roster this game touts. Also, most of the characters are horribly unbalanced. I can’t really picture BT3 being played at tournaments all that much.

That being said, I still greatly enjoy BT3. You may be wondering why BT3 is only the third spot of this top 5 list. This is mainly due to the fact that I feel the next two games greatly surpass it in terms of both customization and things to do. As much as I love this game, it pales in comparison to these next two entries.

2. Dragon Ball Fusions (2016)

Imagine a game where you can create your Dragon Ball character, send them into a mismatched world filled with other such characters, and fuse with anyone you want to become stronger. This is Dragon Ball Fusions in a nutshell! Dragon Ball Fusions is a game that not only lets you create your own character, but also explore a series of large open areas. Here, you participate in the story, level up, and recruit new characters to join you.

Including fusions, there are over 1000 different characters you can get! The free DLC adds even more characters to the game, allowing for further party customization. Couple this with a character you can customize to your heart’s content, fun gameplay that manages to combine elements of pinball with strategy, and fun tongue-in-cheek writing, and you have a charming little RPG that is begging to be played.

Fusions manages to take characters from all over the Dragon Ball franchise and present them in an entertaining and fresh way. DBF is a fantastic game, but it is also a flawed one. Online multiplayer is horribly unbalanced and lag-filled, the story is too short and not detailed well enough, and some side-quests (like the ones requiring you to fly through hoops) feel very tacked on.

To be fair, I wasn’t really expecting perfection from a children’s game anyways. This is a super easy game, but it was something I got a massive amount of enjoyment out of. It’s one of those few Dragon Ball games that I can easily say feels wholly unique. That being said, there is 1 Dragon Ball game that I feel outclasses it in a lot of ways. And that game is…

1. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 (2015)

Despite the dumb and rather nonsense name, I feel like Xenoverse is one of the best Dragon Ball games ever! I still have yet to play its much better sequel, but I definitely enjoyed my time with this first iteration. Imagine a Dragon Ball game that is part fighting game, part MMORPG, and part action RPG. Xenoverse blends these elements together and manages to make them feel unique.

Xenoverse lets you customize your characters to an insane degree, far outclassing even Fusions in what you can create. On top of this, there is so many things you can equip your character with to change his look. The fighting system is definitely fun as well, albeit a tad bit unbalanced. Xenoverse also present an entertaining “What If” story mode, filled with all kinds of fun and entertaining stories.

It’s not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. You can beat the story mode in a few hours if you know what you’re doing, and some of the side-quests are brutally difficult for no reason. Still, this game’s sizable roster, character creation system, and fun game-play make up for its shortcomings. This game isn’t a masterpiece, and I doubt it ever will be. Still, it’s a solid action RPG that kept me engaged for 33 hours so far! That’s why I can definitely say this game is deserving of the number 1 spot!

Sweet As Syrup: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 Review

You know what I love? Quests, epic quests that entangle our hero in a grand mission to save world, his girlfriend, or fulfill some kind of arbitrary task. Another thing I love is the Dragon Ball anime series. What happens when you combine epic questing with Dragon Ball? You get something akin to Dragon Ball Xenoverse, a game that is a mix between RPG, fighting game, and MMORPG. It’s a game that mixes several genres together in an attempt to make something wholly unique.

I’ve made it no secret that I love the Dragon Ball franchise. While I gave up on the series for a while, a couple years back, I found myself getting interested in it again. While I can definitely say elements of this show haven’t aged well, it’s still still an entertaining watch. The games are definitely where I find my interest in nowadays. So, I thought I’d take a look at Xenoverse, which is undoubtedly my favorite Dragon Ball game.

20170629095102_1.jpg
It’s Casper The Unfriendly Ghost Saiyan!

Background Information

Dragon Ball Xenoverse is an action RPG/ MMORPG / Fighting game made that was released on both the previous generation of consoles, as well as the current one. The game was original advertised under the code-name “Dragon Ball New Project” and was officially released in February of 2015. The game became a huge hit, selling over 3 million copies world-wide. It sold so well, that a sequel was released the following year.

Plot

Unlike most Dragon Ball games, which tend to retread the same old tired plot-lines, Xenoverse takes a unique spin on the formula. The game takes place in the future, over a hundred years after the end of the original series. The adventures of the Saiyan warrior Goku, as well as those of his family and friends are long over. However, an evil is stirring and starts altering history.

This results in major alterations affecting the primary timeline, to the point where several key members of the original cast end up dead. The time-travelling warrior known as Trunks has joined a futuristic police squad known as “Time Patrol” in an attempt to fix the altered timeline. The purple-hair warrior realizes that he’s in over his head and decides to call for some reinforcements.

Apparently, ordinary help is out of the question for Trunks. Instead of doing something logical like putting out a “Help Wanted” ad, Trunks decides to gather the seven magical Dragon Balls. Using these, he summons the dragon Shenron and summons your custom character to his time period. From there, you are sent out to various parts of the Dragon Ball timeline, in order to fix all that has been altered.

It’s not a super original plot, but it definitely is an entertaining one. All of the “What If?” scenarios presented by the game add some much needed variety to the game. After all, there’s only so many times you can tell the same Dragon Ball story-lines over and over. Considering this game was made in a time when Dragon Ball games were mostly rehashing the same tired plots year after year, it was a much welcome change of pace.

Thankfully, Xenoverse does mix it up quite a bit. It re-purposes elements from a game I previously review, which was Dragon Ball Online, and managed to do something unique things with it. Cut-scenes in this game are packed with all sorts of action, shenanigans, and surprise twists.

However, even though I enjoy the attempt at a new story, it sadly lacks the finesse of a common Dragon Ball arc. The story took me about 10 hours to beat, including grinding and sitting through all the cut-scenes. The story is just way too short, to the point where I felt that I wasn’t getting the full experience. Scenes from the show would play out in background dialogue, robbing me of the experience of viewing them through cut-scenes or game-play.

The plot is really nothing to write home about, but it does manage to freshen up the Dragon Ball franchise. As previously mentioned, Dragon Ball games had a tendency to play things a bit too safe. Having a game that at least attempts a new story is definitely something I can appreciate. While the plot feels like its written primarily for fans of the show, I thought it was definitely entertaining. Not good or fantastic, but enjoyable enough that I don’t often find myself skipping past cut-scenes.

20170629095143_1
Moral of the story: NEVER TRAIN WITH CELL!

Gameplay

This is the bread and butter of what makes people love the Xenoverse series so much. The gameplay on display is definitely entertaining, but not without its faults. Let’s go over the good first, that feels like the best place to start. Xenoverse plays like the fully 3D dragon ball fighting games that have come before it, most notably Budokai Tenkaichi 3. You control a singular character, and can have up to two allies fighting by your side.

However, some missions are special, and will occasionally pair your with three to four other allies in order to square against a really powerful enemy. Action unfolds in the third-person, and mainly focuses on a two button combat scheme. You can do light attacks and heavy attacks, and string them together to pull off some sick combos. It’s a stupidly simple system, but it’s easy enough for most people to get the hang of. Toss in things like grappling, ki blasts, and special attacks, and you have a simple system with a fair bit of complexity.

Unfortunately, combat can get super repetitive after a while. Sure, you have new moves and characters being thrown at you to spice things up, but I won’t deny the fact that it starts to feel stale after a while. The fact the combat feels like it relies too heavily on button-mashing is a rather large detriment to the game itself. It definitely doesn’t stop the combat from being fun, but it does water down the experience a bit.

What makes combat so fun is the insane amount of super moves you can pull off. Every playable character has his own set of special moves that he/she can use in combat. This can range from moving so fast you create a large blue hurricane, to even tossing miniature meteorites at your hapless opponents. Each set of moves is tailored to how that character fought in the show. For example, Frieza has access to his “Death Ball” attack, and has a combat style focused on both speed and power.

There are about 57 characters in this game, if you include DLC as well. There are also a ton of different forms, costumes, and move-sets for each character. This increases the amount of playable characters quite a bit, and adds some variety. The characters you can choose during combat level up with your character. The stronger your character is, the stronger the characters you play as will be. It’s a nice little touch that makes it so other characters you decide to play as are just as viable during battle.

The game’s main draw is its custom characters. Xenoverse allows for an insane amount of customization options. It’s easy to lose 10 minutes just messing around in the character creating, making something that looks absolutely silly and weird. Want to make an orange Namekian? Go for it. Want to make a Saiyan with silver skin and green hair? Go nuts. The game is just insane with the amount of bizarre characters you can make.

There are five different races to pick from, each one coming with its own specialties and limitations. Certain races have different advantages over others, such as different starting stats and access to race-exclusive abilities. Most characters handle the same out of the gate, but eventually become varied enough to stand out from the other races. For example, Frieza’s race is extremely fast, while Majins can use magic-based special attacks.

Character customization does have it limits though, especially in the amount of hair-styles and faces your characters can have. I hear that the character options are much better in the sequel, though I have yet to play that version. Regardless, what’s here is definitely welcome. The custom options go beyond just creating his look, you can also choose from a variety of outfits and different skills to use.

Sadly, the costumes have locked stats. You can’t change the stats, so you’re sometimes stuck with outfits of your favorite characters with abilities you don’t want. It’s definitely one of the weakness this game has, though it’s from the biggest offender. The biggest problem comes from online. Battles online against other players are largely unbalanced, with characters having builds that are broken and overpowered. While certain moves and abilities have been dulled down, a fair bit of attacks still remain stupidly strong.

This completely destroys the flow of online combat with other players. It gets worse when you factor in the insane amount of lag that occurs if you enter a match with another person that has a bad connection. Worse still is the game’s difficulty spikes near the end of story mode. Characters become stupidly overpowered, and gain the ability to spam ultimate attacks to an insane degree.

This gets worse in the “Parallel Quests”, which act as this game’s version of side-quests. The last few PQs are so immensely broken, that they are near impossible to beat offline. Characters can gang up on you constantly and bash you into a bloody pulp, using both overpowered energy attacks and cheap cornering tactics. This isn’t me being bad at the game either, this is legitimately broken in terms of difficulty. Thankfully, most of the really hard stuff is completely optional.

Another complaint I have is with the city itself, which is more of a small hub than anything else. It’s only three areas, which are strung together by loading screens. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city, aside from take quests and buy items. Thankfully, despite this game being an MMORPG, you are never gouged by micro-transactions. Sure, there is DLC, but you don’t really need it to beat the game.

All things considered, I definitely had fun with the game’s combat and character creation. Sure, the combat can get dull pretty quickly, but its insane amount of different specials moves makes up for it. While the online play could use a lot of work, it’s still a fair bit of fun to work alongside friends and strangers to beat tough missions. If you can get past the grind-y nature of the game, the very low item drop-rates, and the insane difficulty spikes, then I think you are in for a good experience.

20170704113522_1.jpg
Definitely not Kansas anymore.

Visual Stimuli

The game looks fantastic, truly fantastic. The art-style definitely captures the look and feel of classic Dragon Ball Z, while adding a bit of its own flavor to the mix. Despite the good graphics, facial animations are pretty awkward. Everyone looks overtly creepy every time they smile, almost like they are faking their smiles in a strange sort of way. Backgrounds look pretty nice, even if most of them are completely static.

The soundtrack is pretty solid, having a fair bit of tunes that sound like they would fit right in with the show itself. The game’s sound-effects are also pretty nice, having the right amount of punch to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were lifted from the show itself! The game seems to run pretty smoothly, though there have been times where I was randomly booted from the server. Also, certain moves can cause the frame-rate to chug considerably. An example of this is the Blue Hurricane move, which can cause the frame-rate to dip considerably.

Special attacks look flashy and powerful, just like how they are in the show. I especially love how certain attacks can cause damage to the area, it’s such a nice attention to detail. One of the game’s biggest faults come in both the voice acting and the translation. Funimation’s usual top-notch voice cast is playing the Dragon Ball cast, but it seems they lack direction. It was like Cell’s voice actor was told just to ham it up, so he rolled with it.

Several other characters just seem to say things they wouldn’t normally say, which can definitely get distracting. It has a certain charm to it, but it leads some scenes to feel pretty awkward at times. I can’t tell you how jarring it is to complete a mission where the villains of hell invade, only to be greeted with your mentor saying “I would totally hug you, if that was a thing I did!” It’s not terrible, just rather jarring.

Still, the voice cast is solid overall. The main problem with the game comes in the spotty translation and bad grammar. For some reason, the dialogue in this game is peppered with all kinds of spelling errors. From multiple commas in a single sentence, to words being improperly spelled. It’s very distracting, especially to someone like me, a person who gets distracted easily by such nonsense.

Translation overall feels a bit spotty, with voice-acted clips never really matching up with what the text-boxes are saying. Couple this with the aforementioned bad grammar, and you have dialogue that just feels tacked on. So, while I can say the game looks nice, it suffers from some issues in terms of both voice acting and translation. Direction-less voice-acting and multiple spelling errors pepper the game, but it doesn’t distract too much from the overall package. The game still looks and sounds great, despite its various hiccups.

20170704111906_1.jpg
Ginyu Force: Only the silly may apply.

In Conclusion

Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a game that lets you make your own character, partner up with your favorite mentor, and live that ultimate Dragon Ball experience. However, its translation and voice acting issues, its repetitive gameplay, its broken loot system, and its huge difficulty spikes will turn a lot of people off. While I find these to be big weaknesses in terms of game design, I still feel this game is awesome and very unique.

After playing Dragon Ball Fusions, I didn’t think I would find a game that could top it. While Xenoverse plays more like a typical Dragon Ball fighting game, it somehow manages to do enough interesting things to keep it fresh. That’s why I can say that it is definitely as sweet as syrup!

Recommending this game is a hard thing to do, since it is mostly made with Dragon Ball fans in mind. If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball, I recommend checking this out. However, if you’re looking for a balanced fighting game experience, I suggest you check elsewhere. All in all, I can definitely say I had fun with this game. I hope to one day pick up and play Xenoverse 2, since I hear that the game manages to improve on a ton of faults with the first. Anyways, thanks for reading, and have a Super Saiyan day!

Started Playing Dragon Ball Xenoverse For The First Time

Steam sales are a magical thing, without question. I’m a guy who limits himself to 20 dollars at a time while buying Steam cash, and I had my eyes on one game: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1. I was going to get the second game, but that was bucks extra, and without DLC included. So, I thought I’d start with the first one instead. So, I grabbed the first XV game, along with all its DLC.

I have made it no secret that I’m a huge Dragon Ball fan. I’ve been watching this series since I was a kid, and fell out of love with the franchise for a while. In the past few years, I’ve been getting back into it. So, what is Xenoverse? It’s basically an MMORPG, that you can play offline or single-player. It’s an action-RPG mixed with a fighting, similar to Dissidia, but with far less cinematic fights.

I’m loving the game so far! I made a character who was a member of Frieza’s race (pictured above), the villain from the second arc. It’s fun to run around and level up and gain new gear, typical RPG stuff. It’s got problems, sure, like stats being tied directly to your clothing and not being able to transfer them. I hear that the sequel fixes this, but I have yet to actually try it for myself.

Xenoverse is this special kind of MMO, one that lets you be your own custom Dragon Ball character and go on adventures. That’s a pretty solid idea on its own, but Xenoverse takes it a step further with its insane customization features. You can tailor a moveset to your liking, choose from hundreds of different clothing sets and accessories, and even choose which items to bring into battle.

There’s a lot here, more than most of the Dragon Ball games that came before it. While Xenoverse has some archaic design choices (such as only giving you one character slot until you beat the game), it’s still one of the most entertaining games based off an anime that I have ever played.

I want to give this game a full review at some point, but for now I just want to say that this game is fantastic. It’s got problems, quite a bit in fact. That doesn’t really detract from the whole package here. It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering the beef dip. Sure, it isn’t the greatest thing on the menu, but it’s freaking delicious. Especially with the Au Jus… Oh god, I’m making my mouth water!

Anyways, I highly recommend if you haven’t played Xenoverse, to play it right now. You can get the first game and all of its DLC just for 19 bucks on Steam’s summer sale right now. It’s worth every penny, trust me! I hope you all enjoy the sale, and your summer breaks. Keep it real, and thanks once again for taking the time to read what I write.

My Thoughts On Dragon Ball Super’s Universal Tournament

Last year, I put up a couple of posts on my blog noting my grievances with the current state of Dragon Ball Super and how I felt it wasn’t improving in the slightest. After having watched the most recent episode, I regret saying those words. Dragon Ball Super has definitely improved, at least for now. We have a better theme song, a more unique art-style, better animation, and a setup for a multiverse tournament.

Honestly, it’s what I want in this kind of story-arc. Goku and his friends are going to enter this tournament and fight against opponents, both old and new, along with characters who are twists on old favorites. The episode setting up this new arc I felt to be rather well put-together. It was paced expertly, it didn’t feel too slow or too quick. It focused on developing Goku and really showed his flaws and how they affect those around him. I especially loved how they subtly compared the similarities in Goku’s childish demeanor with that of the Zenos.

Goku’s desire for battle is what has become his weakness. Time and again, it’s show that Goku’s own power is what draws a lot of enemies to him and the earth. This episode shows how much Goku has fallen, how his own childish nature and immaturity has changed aspects of him. Goku even flicks a bullet into the head of a human who shot at him, something Goku would normally do! In fact, this move was first used by Goku’s evil brother Raditz in the first episode of DBZ. I think this is some clever foreshadowing and that we’re going to see in future episodes how Goku’s negative traits are working against him.

I love the new art-style and intro was well. The art seems somewhat more stylized with somewhat thicker lines and I definitely like the style they are going for! I also found the intro to be extremely entertaining, with some music punctuated with that unique aforementioned art-style. That’s not even to mention the noticeable animation upgrade they’ve gone though!

I’ve gushed a lot about what I liked about episode 77 and the route the show is going, so what didn’t I like? Well, not a whole lot really. Aside from some parts of the episode that dragged, there wasn’t a lot for me to complain about at all. It also ended on a cliff-hanger, which helps build tension. However, this is only the first episode of a 20-30 episode arc. While it seems promising, I have a feeling it may not live up to expectations. After all, people got hyped for the Goku Black arc. I liked it, but I’ll admit that the second half dragged and that the ending felt rushed.

So, what is it about this arc that gives me hope? It’s the acknowledgement of Goku’s flaws, the somewhat darker tone, the better theme song, and the increased character development. I’ll watch a show regardless of quality if I find that the genre appeals to me. Super could’ve remained mediocre to somewhat good for most of it’s run, and I still would’ve still watched it. I feel that I am now officially invested in what the show has to offer.

That’s why I can say that this is easily the best episode in Super thus far. It got me interested in the proceedings and allowed me to put aside my cynicism for once so I could fully enjoy the project. That’s why I’m looking forward to this arc. Depending on how the arc goes, I may discontinue my Dragon Ball Super rants. It really depends on if Super can keep up the quality from this single episode into future ones. I guess only time will tell.