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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans

Does the game stand out among its JRPG competitors?

By Joe Law (MarikLaw)
Posted on December the 16th 2009 at 04:28:00 AM

Seems like there’s been a rash of Dragon Ball games released as of late. Most recently, a new roleplaying game from Monolith Soft and Namco Bandai came out which centers around the tail end of the original Dragon Ball series and leads into the entirety of the Saiyan Saga. But how does it stack up? We’re about to find out.

Gameplay

Attack of the Saiyans is a fairly typical, turn-based JRPG. You can have up to three characters in your party and they each have their own unique skills and attacks. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of variety as to who you can put on your team. It’s hard not to optimistically hope for a larger cast, including some of the B-List Dragon Ball Z characters like Yajirobe and Chiaotzu, but the only characters you can select from are Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien. Yup, basically everyone on the cover of the game is playable within.

There is also a specialized combat system that uses the game’s Rage bar. It fills up whenever you deal or receive damage. Once your Rage bar is filled, you can use special tag team attacks with your other party members. While this may seem pretty cool at first, in all honesty, it’s been done better in other games. On top of this, in Attack of the Saiyans, there is no simple combo menu you can view. Instead, you pretty much have to guess by selecting a special ability for each of your characters and hoping they trigger a tag team move. A filled Rage bar can also be used to execute super moves, but you don’t get the ability to use one until pretty far into the game.

The one plus the game has going for it, however, is its length. There are about 86 chapters and each chapter takes anywhere from ten minutes to thirty minutes to complete. Even if you estimate using the low end of that range, that means you’ll get a good solid 14 hours of play time which, in the end, is a good thing since this game has very little replay value after that. If what you’re looking for on the DS is something that’s going to take you a while to beat, then this game will be your best friend.

Graphics & Sound

There are those who believe that expecting a lot from the graphics and sound in the DS is a bit futile, but I disagree. Games like Kingdom Hearts 358/2 prove that DS software doesn’t have to look terrible.

Attack of the Saiyans, however, fails to utilize either cutting visuals or any kind of decent sound. The game instead opts for a more old-school feeling RPG, using still frame images and 32-bit looking sprites. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the game is a typical JRPG, in a sea of JRPGs available for DS, it would have benefited from a more standout, unique art style. My biggest complaint with the graphics is that not all of the NPCs and characters you interact with have character portraits, and all you see is their text dialogue.

Value

At $35 CAD, Attack of the Saiyans isn’t a must have for DS owners or even JRPG fans in general. That’s not to say that the game isn’t worthwhile, but if you’re not a Dragon Ball fan, there are plenty of other, better, JRPGs on the DS. If you are a Dragon Ball fan, however, and really dig the turn-based role-playing genre, than this game is definitely worth the loot.

Conclusion

If you are a huge fan of Dragon Ball and equal parts JRPG fan, you can’t go wrong with this game. It’s a competent JRPG and offers a ton of portable role playing content. That said, if you aren’t already a fan, this is one game you can safely avoid.


Pros

+ Extended story is a must-have for Dragon Ball fans.
+ Takes a fairly long time to complete for a DS game.


Cons

- Fairly average JRPG for non-fans.
- Good deal of NPCs lack character portraits.


Final Verdict

Breakdown :
Presentation :
8.5
8.5
Graphics :
7.0
7.0
Sound :
6.0
6.0
Gameplay :
7.5
7.5
Replay Value :
7.0
7.0


Our review : 7.2
Your verdict [0 vote] : Do your own review
System :
Publisher :
Developer :
Category :
ESRB : E10+ - [GameFocus' ESRB Guide]
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Here's a small guide to help you understand our evaluation of games.

PRESENTATION GRADE
Can be from the game's box to the contents of the booklet, and even the game introduction. (Intro, menus, options, etc)

GRAPHIC GRADE
Up to what point the graphics have been worked on my the developper. The design type, the effort used for textures and environments, as well as animations and framerate.

AUDIO GRADE
Is the soundtrack a good match to the game's style, he ambient sounds keeping with the gameplay and the sound effects clear and convincing?

GAMEPLAY GRADE
Placement of the controls and the inferface that the player with be using during the game.

REPLAY VALUE GRADE
The most important factor in the evaluation of a game. It identifies the lifespan of the game and the fun of coming back again and again.








The latest reviews
Platform :
Nintendo DS
Type :
Role Playing Game
Publisher :
Namco Bandai
Developer :
Monolith Soft

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