Fuuuuu-sion DS! Dragon Ball Fusions is a 3DS Game based around a signature move also named Fusion from the Dragon Ball series. The game was developed by Ganbarion who develops mostly for Nintendo and Bandai Namco. Dragon Ball Fusions is a spin-off game set inside an alternate universe as are a lot of the other Dragon Ball series games.
In the beginning the player will be told initially to create a character at this has little effect on anything within the game once created we are introduced to two characters, the player and their friend/rival. These two have set out to collect the dragonballs, summon Shenron and make their wish come true. The wish is to create tournament grand enough to decide which of the two are the strongest. In the first 5 minutes the two find their last dragon ball, make their wish and are thrown into a strange world where teams of 5 characters battle it out to decide who is the most powerful. The main map consists of different floors each floor having various buildings that the player can access and speak to different characters. Accessing higher floors and some of the rifts guarding buildings requires using different colour energies the player can expand their total capacities of these by recruiting more characters to their team. After the initial navigation tutorial the player is separated from their rival to go and make their teams of various Dragon Ball characters to make it to the top of the tournament. As the player goes through the story they will get access to various fusion techniques ranging from basic fusion of two characters to fusion of the entire team. The problem with this is that in order to get the ability to perform lasting fusions which is the games main draw the player must go through a lot of the story but more on these lasting fusions later.
The battle mechanics are a little dull for a Dragon Ball game it includes only 3 types of characters and a turn based system of battle. The player will be told to select between 3 styles of fighting power, speed or technique each style being more effective against one of the styles making power more effective against technique, technique more effective against speed and speed more effective against power. The extra parts of the combat include having different levels for the characters and allowing characters to use some moves from the Dragon Ball series each character gets a total of 3 moves not including extra ones. These moves have different types from melee attacks, Ki based attacks and support moves with each type having different ranges and advantages. New moves are given at the end of each battle they can have different ranks and stat advantages some can only be used for certain races or genders aswell. The frustrating part about this is that you will get a lot of moves that you cannot use and need to find the right race of character to equip it to you can save these moves into a bank. However this bank also has some annoying qualities for starters it only stores 30 moves and with the amount you will be getting from fights that space will fill up extremely quickly it is simply not enough space. The bank should also be viewable through both screens instead of being crammed into one and only showing a limited number of moves at a time. There are extra things to do aside from the main story aswell for example you can buy clothes for your custom character, partake in quizzes about the series, uncover lore through rifts and accept any sub missions that appear. The best part is easily when the player unlocks the option to perform lasting fusions allowing the player to perform fusions between many different characters. These fusions last between battles and can be performed by fusing any two compatible characters creating a brand new one with a significant increase in power over the originals they can also be separated at any point the player wishes. This new character can use moves learned by its previous fusions and learn new and more powerful moves exclusive to fusion based characters.
The characters in the game are well designed for a handheld game and the choice of graphical style is in line with previously released Dragon Ball games. The characters used in the game include many characters from the main series aswell as other characters designed based off of races shown throughout the series. The fusions are an inspired part of the character design as the majority of fusions shown in the game are the result of a competition which had fans design the fusions. As an added bonus Dragon Ball Fusions includes an extra function that involves using the 3Ds inbuilt camera to fuse two people together and give you the estimated power readout of your fusion. Each fusion looks and feels unique while still allowing you to see some of the original features from the characters that initially made up those characters. The world map is also designed based off of existing places in the Dragon Ball universe from Kami house to planet Namek and beyond. This map design works pretty well and amalgamates a lot of these areas the textures for these areas have been designed pretty well for a handheld game. The downside to the map design is that the touch screen map gets pretty confusing and crowded especially since the map rotates with you which cannot be changed and can make the names of places overlap. Another problem is that since the map doesn’t show heights properly finding some of the things that appear on the map can be pretty hard at times. An extremely unfortunate point of Fusions is that while it is a 3DS game it fails to utilize the 3D system at all. Any Dragon Ball game not just Fusions that is developed for 3DS would be improved greatly by having 3D this would improve the look of certain attacks and make the combat look more engaging and epic. A huge graphical problem the game suffers from is that the fonts keep changing size mid conversation to fit all of what a character says into the box. This means if a character says a lot in one go prepare to strain your eyes trying to read the squashed up print. This problem is down to lazy design on the developers’ part.
The voice acting is very poor and only includes some minor grunts and singular words and while I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of voice acting for a handheld game the quality of what is in the game isn’t very good. A lot of the grunts sound as if they are done by the same person this makes the majority of characters sound the same. The Battle music in Fusions is meant to be blood pumping in order to make the combat feel more intense which is a very common theme for Dragon Ball games. The problem with this is that this type of music works better with fast paced combat instead of the turn based system that Fusions has. The rest of the music is well-fitting the world map includes some adventurous music that makes the player feel like they could be set upon by enemies at any point. This music changes in some towns to a music befitting a safer area however this music is the same in each area except the spaceship which sounds more grand which is befitting music of the players main base.
The online capabilities allow for the player to create teams with a limited cost and battle it out with other players in local or online multiplayer. It is also possible using the online capabilities for players to trade moves between one another. The player can also use street pass to find teams created by other players to fight while the 3DS is in sleep mode. Another capability of street pass is that the player can perform Freeform Fuses which requires the player to select one of their characters and fuse them with a character met on another player’s street pass. The downside to the freeform fusing is that you can only do 1 character per pass and there is an 8 hour cooldown until you can perform another. The other form of online capability comes in the form of the Ziku-Kan Radar which allows you to walk around in real life then open Ziku-Kan and find fighters in the area around you which you can recruit.
The games main story should take around 20-30 hours to complete but completing all extras and collecting every character and move will take a considerable amount more time. Dragon Ball Fusions has some interesting mechanics concerning the Fusions. They are utilised and designed well it is also fun and interesting to see how the fusion between two compatible turn out however it takes way too long to get all of these Fusion mechanics. If the combat was more interesting and made full use of the 3D it would be a game worth playing for the amount of time it takes to collect everything. Going in to this game I wasn’t expecting anything mind-blowing as its common for handheld Dragon Ball games to be of a lesser quality. It seems some things never change.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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