If you’re looking for roleplaying games this generation the Nintendo DS has, without doubt, the largest selection. The latest entry in this list is Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans. Based on Akira Toriyama’s works of the same name, the game follows the adventures of the “Z Fighters” from the final chapter of Dragon Ball through the first chapter of Dragon Ball Z with a few additions just for this game
The game utilizes a traditional console roleplaying game turn-based combat system. Each round Fighters choose from either a standard attack, using an item, running from combat, or use their limited “Ki” to use special attacks like Goku’s Kamehameha wave. There are further special attacks called “Ultimate Attacks” which are just that, but you’ll have to figure out how to unlock those before you can use them.
Combats are initiated through random battles with familiar enemies like animals, dinosaurs, spirits, and even the red ribbon army. Rewards come not only in the traditional forms of experience and items, but also skill points. When fighters gain enough experience they achieve a new level where their attributes rise. They’ll also receive a few points to spend as you see fit. The skill points the fighters receive spent in a variety of ways to improve the character from bonus hit points, to higher level special moves. Ki, like health, can be replenished in combat through the use of items, or out of combat by leveling up.
Another interesting feature is that in combat the fighters regain an amount of health each round based on their recovery attribute. This brings about interesting strategies in both combat and character building. Finally, special attacks can be combined in various ways when your characters rage level raises enough elevating the fighter to “sparking”. If you’ve ever watched Dragon Ball Z, you’ll recognize this as a way to describe a character at a higher power level.
The active party of fighters consists of three members at a time, with the ability to swap out for reserve characters with single command. All of Dragon Ball’s main characters are represented, in fact the first few chapters focus on characters other than Dragon Ball’s main character Goku. The dialog for these characters closely follows the source material, which at times can become annoying as you find your reading more of the story than playing it out.
Since Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is based on a licensed material, it’s not surprising to find that the game is incredibly linear. While some exploration is allowed, the game is following the source material allowing only a single outcome.
The long dialog sequences with no user interaction will have you quickly skipping through so you can get back to the action. That said, I still found it fun to play through the events myself. As a fan of the series I enjoyed the fact that some of Toriyama’s potty humor carried over. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the Japanese voice track was used in for the only voicework in the game, the special moves. These things will mean much less to those with little experience with the series.
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is a fun little roleplaying game for fans of the Dragon Ball series. However, if your just looking for another rpg for your DS there are many other great RPG’s to choose from, including a few who also feature the artwork of Akira Toriyama.
- Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
- Publisher: Namco Games
- Platform: Nintendo DS
- MSRP: $29.99
- Buy it from Amazon.com
- Disclaimer: This review is based on on a review copy of the game.