February 17, 2017
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Give us your best Kamehameha, it’s Dragon Ball Fusions time!
Dragon Ball Fusions is the latest in a very long list of games from the hit Manga/Anime series. DBF is an action RPG for 3DS, however unlike most other Dragon Ball games, this one does not follow any particular Dragon Ball storyline, and instead creates a “what if” scenario where all possible characters, regardless of timeline, are brought together in an imagined setting to fight.
Pretty much the basis of most fighting games rather than a RPG.
The glorious thing is, albeit possessing a story that is seriously lacking depth, this is an insanely fun game to play, and I forgot how immensely camp and “before its time” Dragon Ball was. Being a fan of Dragon Ball helps immensely to truly appreciate this game and to recognise all the characters and why they are important.
Upon starting the game, you are asked to create yourself. Or whoever you wish to be in the Dragon Ball universe. You can choose to be an Earthling, Saiyan, Namek, an Offworlder (beings from another dimension), or one of the Alien races. There are no negative biases based on gender, and indeed there are certain bonuses from being male or female depending on the race chosen. As with most RPGs nowadays you can customise your look and voice, and if you are like me you then start the game wondering if you made the right choice. I mean, Piccolo was one of my favourite characters in the cartoon, but how can you turn down the chance to be a Saiyan or even an alien to rival the likes of Frieza?
Never fear, this won’t be an issue. Welcome to Dragon Ball Fusions.
The game begins with your character and your friend/rival Pinich who are out collecting Dragon Balls (as you do). They summon the dragon Shenron and as a result of a wish are transported to an imaginary world where all dimensions are fused together. The beginning of the Fusion theme.
The premise of DBF then becomes quite simple. You build up a team of five fighters who then travel around battling other teams. There are quests of sorts, but most are lead-ups to hilarious dialogue and cut-scenes rather than developing any real plot. If you haven’t seen or read Dragon Ball before, you may be shocked by some of the camp outlandish characters that have fun playing with stereotypes (in particular the notion of masculinity) in a very Japanese way.
In true Dragon Ball style, each and every fight is over the top and involves a lot of punching, quick steps and energy powered attacks. The battle system at first sounds quite daunting, but is quite intuitive and a genuine attempt has been made to add variety to every battle. Perhaps the only aspect that is confusing at first is the ‘fighting style’ you need to adopt (Power, Speed or Technique) that have advantages over each other in a Rock-Paper-Scissors way.
Each fight is turn based, but not sequential, and is instead based upon each character’s speed and the number of fighters left in the battle for that team. Attacks vary from basic melee and energy attacks, an impressive list of possible special moves, and powered up attacks that require you to fight your opponent(s) in real time for a few seconds. The latter really adds to the cartoon feel of the game.
“Do a Five-Way Fusion!”
Now comes the fun, and at times, hilarious fusion system. Two characters can fuse into a new entity, becoming more powerful as a result for the remainder of the battle. Also, all five members of a team can fuse for a brief moment where the new character wreaks havoc upon the opposing side.
You win a bout by knocking out all members of the opposing side. Knocking an opponent out of the ring is an important strategic move in this game, as it not only causes significant damage but causes the opponent to lose their place in the turn queue.
You can also learn new special moves from each opponent who you knock out of the ring, and combining a KO and a ring out is very satisfying to watch.
After winning a battle you also gain energy of a colour type depicted by the energy aura surrounding the opposing team as they flew around looking for a fight (yes, I said flew). You need to build a quota of certain coloured energies to unlock barriers allowing you to continue with the game.
While travelling, you can also find new members of your team, and pretty much every character who has graced Dragon Ball is available either as a foe, potential ally or NPC.
Now to the flying. Again, in Dragon Ball style, you tend to fly rather than walk, and exploring the floating island worlds gives a more epic feel to the game. The controls are also quite easy to master, thanks to the ability to lock onto target teams.
The worlds created do look true to the cartoon, and overall the graphics are very well done. The fight scenes are also quite amazing to watch, and I have to say DBF has some of the more fluid graphics and animation I have seen in a 3DS game.
- Made with Dragon Ball fans in mind
- Fluid graphics and fighting system
- Hilarious and camp to guarantee a laugh
- The energy collection system is not needed
- Not much of a storyline
- Being offered the same moves to learn over and over
As the developers Bandai Namco state, this is “The first ever ‘Collect and Power Up RPG’ Dragon Ball game for the 3DS”. This being said, you will either be the type of gamer who will bore of this game quickly due to its repetitive nature, or you will become captivated with the possibility of adding -that character- to your line-up and creating the perfect team and move set.
It is a game of addiction. You have been warned.
Check out the US announcement trailer for some great visuals of the action scenes!