Ah the memories of playing Dragon Ball Z fighting games, let’s just take some time to think back. There was no better feeling in the old PS2 Budokai games than having a team of Cell, Freeza and Buu while your opponent was trying to defeat you with Mr Popo, Krillin and Chiaotzu. So now you can understand why I and fans of Dragon Ball Z fighting games were so excited for this Extreme Butoden, but unfortunately it was far from extreme.
Extreme Butoden plays like the old DBZ fighting games, in the sense that you have a team of three selected characters and battle while alternating between them. My favorite part about these game was the wide array of characters you could be from all over the Dragon Ball universe, and that’s why I was so excited for this game. From the trailers I had seen for this game, and as the cover art suggests, it looks like there are a lot of fighters available. However, this unfortunately this was not the case, most of the unlockable characters where pushed into the ‘Z Assist’ category.
Z Assist works the same as assist trophies do in Super Smash Bros: a character of your choosing pops out for a few seconds to deal some damage or cause a distraction, only to disappear straight after and have you wait a certain amount of time before whipping them out again. I thought it was understandable that characters who aren’t necessarily “fighters” are put in the Z Assist list, but people like Tien and Yamacha really could have been full characters. The way the character selection works is that you effectively have 6 slots: full characters take up 2 slots, and Z Assist characters take up 1 slot. What I did like is how this gave you freedom with strategy, as there are quite a few possibilities (especially with the amount of Z Assist characters).
There are also a lot of modes to choose from, so you can battle again friends or just battle the CPU. You can also do Z Story Mode which allows you to follow the journeys of certain groups or individual characters within the Dragon Ball Universe. After playing that for a bit you unlock Adventure Mode which makes you follow Goku on a quest to retrieve the ultra-Dragon Balls to banish all of Goku’s old enemies to where they came.
Seeing as there are lots of characters to unlock, one would think that you could get them by the simplest of tasks. But this is not the case, in mission mode you have to achieve an S Rank to unlock a new assist character. This challenge seems quite easy, but it’s almost unfeasible to expect people to be able to execute hardcore combos on a small 3DS. But this gives you all the more reason to train, which is what I enjoy as it means I have motivation to play the game more.
The art is good, but unfortunately not great in the sense that a lot of it was fuzzy. Compared to other 3DS fighting games, again Smash Bros springs to mind, the graphics are all that stunning. Despite all this I did very much enjoy the game’s aesthetics, and they managed to capture a lot of the atmosphere from the anime in the fighting stages.
The character sprites look really good though, especially when selecting your fighters. One bad point I did notice, and this may have just been me, was that the sound quality was poor. Now I understand this could but purely up to me, as I do have the first 3DS, but the character voices still seemed lost to be just a murmur.
Overall, despite not being as strong as one would have hoped, I very much enjoyed playing Extreme Butoden. If you have fond Dragon Ball Z fans to play this with then I would suggest buying it, the single player aspect is good but I wouldn’t buy the game solely for this purpose. After a while the game can test your skills in combos, but also your sanity after playing the same mission over and over again. For these reasons I’m going to give Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden a 6. Fun with friends a looks average, however, there is a distinct lack of fully playable characters.
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