Dragonball Evolution Review - May 15th 2009

Dragonball Evolution is a game based on the movie of the same name. This may already have put people off as we all know how movie tie-ins normally turn out, however this time the movie is based on the anime series which has a longstanding series of fairly successful games. So how does DBE compare to previous series outings?

DBE follows the story of the movie by giving you control of different characters as you play out fights from the film. These fights are interspersed with 'cutscenes' that involve a picture of each of the characters and scrolling text, which is disappointing. However this problem can be overlooked, but the game provides others that are more deeply rooted and can't be bypassed so easily.

Let's be positive and start with the good factors about the game. The fighting mechanics are taken directly from the past DB PSP games so anybody familiar with these will be able to pick this up with ease. Also, like those games, the fighting is in fact extremely fluid, fast paced, and can be intricate if you exploit the full potential of the mechanics. This lays the foundations for a great fighting game, but it's a shame that the good points stop here.

You can get along way without altering your combos at all.

The biggest problem is that it doesn't feel like Dragonball, and this will upset fans. This may be due to the fact that it is based on the movie, which only has limited relation to the series, but it is still disheartening. To begin with, the lack of colourful animation that was present in previous games is annoying. Instead we now get bland textures that are totally destructive to the feel of the game. Furthermore the character design seems shoddy and rudimentary. The resemblance to the movie cast is barely apparent and the sprites themselves are extremely blocky, giving the impression that their design was a half hearted attempt. Not only are the characters badly designed, but the lack of them is disappointing. DB games have been known for their fairly broad character rosters, but DBE offers very few characters for players to experiment with.

The game is also very easy. Despite the intricacies in the fighting mechanics that I mentioned earlier, when facing the AI you will find that using the same moves over and over will be enough to defeat them. Although the fighting animations transfer fluidly from your usual attacks into your specials (like Goku's Kamehameha), using the same technique over and over will become extremely tedious. Previous DB games have been known for providing both ground and aerial combat, however this game being true to the film (which is supposed to be a more realistic depiction of the DB universe) does away with any aerial combat so you are permanently rooted to the ground. Another mechanic the game loses due to being tied with the film is the ki blasts that DB is famous for. In DBE only certain characters have the ability to use ki blasts (like Piccolo), and this is another disappointment, as it limits the player to close combat.

It can be quite bland at times.

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