Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World Review
Remember a few months ago when Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit came out? If not, you probably aren't alone; the game just didn't turn out to be very good. Or particularly memorable The drama piece system unnecessarily broke into the game's bread and butter – the fighting – and the combat simply wasn't interesting enough to keep most gamer's attention in check. In addition to that, the cutscenes that were meant to tell the story were unintelligible and left all but the most rabid of DBZ fans in the dust. When I reviewed that game, I went back and forth: what would win out? My love and borderline obsession with all things Dragon Ball? Or my credibility as a reviewer and duty to let you, the reader, know just how good or bad some games end up? In the end, my reviewer side won, as I take this whole reviewing gig pretty seriously.
Skip forward a few months and Atari has released what they referred to as a summation of sorts of the DBZ franchise on the PS2, Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World. This time, I have no qualms over which side of things to report from: Infinite World is a downright awful game with almost no saving graces (there is one, but I'll save it for the end), and debatably rivals Ultimate Battle 22 (PS1), DBZ: Taiketsu (GBA) and DBZ: Sagas (PS2/GCN/Xbox) as the absolute worst game baring the Dragon Ball Z license ever produced. And remember, I'm a HUGE DBZ fan.
Much like the previous DBZ: Budokai games (the Budokai Tenkaichi games were a bit different in a few ways), Infinite World is billed as a 2.5-D fighting game. You can move your character a full 360 degrees, but the combat remains centered on the screen and freedom of movement is fairly restricted (the Tenkaichi games gave the player full 3D environments and the control to explore them semi-freely). If that doesn't paint the picture, just imagine an older fighting game like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat and add the ability to sidestep, rather than just 2D forward and backward, and you've got the Budokai games. And also like those past games, Infinite World's fighting remains solid, even with its rather simplistic nature. Punch, kick, block, fireball, etc… you know, the basics. Even the special moves seem to be earlier to activate. But that only counts if you make it to the fighting, and a lot of players never will.
A fighting game without fighting? Well, sort of. Right from the start, the 1 and 2 player duel modes are available, as is the classic tournament mode. These play almost identically to the previous Budokai games, which is to say… not bad. Not great, but not bad. But since Budokai 1, 2 and 3 are all currently on the market (and extremely cheap to pick up used), I won't go into these modes too much, mostly because there is nothing new to report.
What is new is the Dragon Mission mode, which is the main 1-player campaign that will take you through the entire DBZ story. This mode is truly an abomination. You'll plopped onto a world map and forced to run to any number of locations, none of them interesting or outstanding. This is where everything goes to Hell. The first of these missions has Goku, and I'm not kidding here, running through a set of 11 rings before the time limit runs out. Have we learned nothing from Superman 64? All these "missions" tend to do unnecessarily break up what could have been a pretty good fighting game. The Dragon Mission mode is, amazingly, more about the "missions" and less about the actual fights. And they aren't a one time only thing; there are ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FORTY-ONE of these never-fun distractions, and no where NEAR that number of actual battles.