Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit Review

If story were all video games were about, though, it would be a sad state of affairs indeed. I mean, a game you barely get to play at all could get perfect scores from dozens of reviewers… wait a minute… Sad but true jokes aside, Burst Limit isn’t a deep enough fighting game to match the kind of craziness you’ll see on screen. The problem lies with the fact that the controls – and the attacks tied to them – just aren’t varied enough. You have weak attack, strong attack, energy shot, throw, transform, block and a knockback move. All pretty standard moves for a fighting game, but there isn’t much of an extension on them. Every throw is a throw, every strong attack is a strong attack, etc. Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, Mortal Kombat and every other fighting game uses the d-pad in conjuction with the attack buttons to pull of stronger moves, in Burst Limit, you can hold forward, hold back or simply let go of the d-pad (or analog stick) and you are pretty limited to just that. The character’s movesets just aren’t varied enough in and of themselves and/or from one another to make the game feel like a fully fleshed-out fighter.

Another issue I had with the game was that button mashing seems to be the gold standard for getting through nearly any fight. Opponents can block, dodge and counterattack all they wish, but the difference between victory and defeat almost always seems to be that little attack snuck in here and there and/or pulling off a special or ultimate move, often completely by accident. While this is more annoying while playing against another human (online or off), it still grates on the nerves that you’re supposed to be in control of the universe’s strongest fighters and all they can seem to do is block, sidestep and punch and kick at either empty space or the opponent’s crossed arms, resulting in no damage to either fighter. For example, when playing as Krillin and fighting Ginyu/Goku, you’ll find that the best way to win is pound the two attack buttons until you catch the enemy off guard, resulting in minor attacks slowly whitling down his heath bar. What should be a planet-shaking confrontation comes off as an exercise in who can hit block and attack faster. Not exactly exciting.

And since I just mentioned it, the game’s online mode isn’t really as slick as it might seem. The 360 version of Burst Limit has considerably less lag than the PS3 version, but the game’s biggest problem is universal – disconnectors. While it can be tough to find an opponent near your skill level, it can be even tougher to find someone who won’t immediately jump offline if the battle isn’t going their way. A lot of other games penalize players for this kind of behavior; in fact, the ones that do probably outnumber the ones that don’t. In Burst Limit, the only penalties you incur are if you actually stay online to lose the match, you get no marks on your record if you simply turn off the power. A couple of hours playing online on a Saturday afternoon yielded ONLY THREE completed matches in a time of about two hours. To me, that kind of record makes Burst Limit’s online mode a HUGE waste of time.

This last bit is something, again, that only a huge DBZ fan would notice. If that isn’t you, you can go ahead and skip this bit. Burst Limit, along with most all the recent DBZ games, has all but dropped a feature that previous DBZ games wore like a badge of honor – new animation. Atrocious games like Dragon Ball GT – Final Bout and DBZ: Ultimate Battle 22 became instantly worth my time and money because they included something that is all too rare these days – brand new, hand drawn animation sequences as intros to the game. These days, you can find them on youtube, but back in the old days, buying these games was the only way fans could see these all-new sequences. For all the effort that obviously went into making Burst Limit look and sound better than any previous 3D DBZ game, it would have been nice to see Atari go the extra mile and include this staple of awful DBZ games from the past. Oh well. Maybe someone will read this review and suggest it for the inevitable sequel.

If you are keeping score, Burst Limit’s fighting is shallow, the single player is ok if you have pre-existing knowledge of the show’s plot but unintelligible if you don’t and the online play is marred by disconnects and/or lag issues. That doesn’t exactly add up to the fighting game of the year. If you’re a huge DBZ fan, Burst Limit looks and sounds nice enough to make it worth the price, though after a few long sessions, you’ll find little reason to pick it up again. If you don’t know Piccolo from Yajirobe, I’d recommend either the Wii DBZ games or simply waiting until Soulcalibur IV hits shelves next month.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 62%. For DBZ fans, Burst Limit is a 71/100. If you aren’t a fan, the game is a 62/100.


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