Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Namco Bandai
ESRB Rating: T
The latest HD Collection I've gotten my hands on is the Dragon Ball Z Budokai Collection. I'm a huge fan of the show, movies, and the tons of games that have the DBZ name attached to it. The Budokai games have always been my favorite, and I'm glad these were the games that got the HD remake.
Story and Presentation:
If you're a fan of the show, then the different story arcs of both games are basically the same as the show. DBZ Budokai starts at the Saiyan Saga, and continues through the Cell Saga. DBZ Budokai 3 starts from the beginning as well, and continues all the way through to the Buu saga, and even features a lot of the GT story as well. A lot of the move characters are featured in Budokai 3, Broly being one of my favorites. I love these stories, even though I've experienced them multiple times. If you like a good action based anime, DBZ would be my first recommendation. The visuals have gotten a huge upgrade, everything just looks cleaner and crisper. It features some pretty impressive cell shaded graphics, just like any other anime game, and it really benefits the game when you play it in HD. Budokai 1 is a good looking game, but when you switch over to the third game, there is an obvious jump in the visuals. This is expected since its the first title, and over years of improvements, 3 just received so many improvements. The environments have so much more color now, and the level of detail has been heightened. The game features all the original voice acting from the original games. The voiceovers have always been one of DBZ's strong suits, and its still great. The music on, the other hand, is still forgettable. The opening songs of both games get really old, since I've heard them all before countless times. Overall, the game definitely benefits from the HD, and it really shows.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
The gameplay hasn't changed really at all, its still some of the most fast paced action in a fighting game. It features the 2.5D fighting, with a lot of verticality elements mixed in. Its pretty similar to games like Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive, not really 3D, but pretty close. The combat can feel stiff if you haven't played the game in awhile, or if you've never played it, it'll feel really static. If you can't string together punches and kicks, then be ready to have your character take a lot of awkward pauses. If you're a button masher, then you'll struggle. DBZ has always been a technical fighter, and you'll need to practice to be successful. Both games are tough, even on the easier difficulties, you still need to know a little about your fighter. Budokai 1 features just over 20 characters, while 3 features over 40. A lot of your time will be spent in the two games' story modes, as you progress through, more characters and abilities will begin to open up. The story modes feature a lot of cutscenes, although they're pretty static in motion, its nice that they have the full narrative included. Other than story mode, you have your World Tournament, Practice, and versus modes. No online in these games, but I expected that. Playing with a buddy on the same couch is where a lot of the fun is at. I have to note that the Practice mode is still deep, I love how you're able to customize every aspect of the mode. The gameplay is still solid and fun, and a lot your time will most likely be spent in Budokai 3.
Final Thoughts:The upgraded visuals look great, and the solid framerate keeps the gameplay fast paced and smooth. The Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection is a good HD remake, and fans of the original games will be satisfied with the package.
S&S Rating: 7.5/10