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Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
Nintendo DS
Namco Bandai
Monolith Soft
Release Date
ESRB Rating
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Posted by:
Ryan Olsen
Reviews Director
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
Dragon Ball Z should do RPGs more often.
December 9, 2009 | 9:12 PM PST

Kombo's Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don't waste your time. This is why we've split our reviews into four sections: What the Game's About, What's Hot, What's Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game's About
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is the first ever Dragon Ball Z RPG. You take up the role as Goku and the most of the other Z fighters right after they defeated evil King Piccolo all the way up until the Vegeta saga. There is a lot of focus on the battles and moves with modes that allow you to equip skill and level your characters to become strong fighters as the sagas progress.

What's Hot
An RPG might seem like an odd fit for a DBZ game, but it actually is more of a perfect fit than you'd think. Sure, there are the epic battles and spectacular displays of power but between all that were a bunch of filler episodes that advance character development and story arcs. Just like RPGs. Attack of the Saiyans emulates this by offering a unique battle system that is more engaging than your traditional RPG. The key to battles are the active guard mechanic that allows you to block attacks to soften the blow. It may sound gimmicky on paper but in practice it is an effective tool for making the blow-for-blow RPG battles more alive and exciting.

Prior to battles, you can spend collected "AP points" to give your fighters new or stronger abilities to use in battles. You feel like you are given a great deal of freedom customizing your famous fighters while staying true to their signature moves and style. You can even equip some items to your characters to squeeze a little extra power out of them. Another thing you can do before battles is slot empty capsules. These empty capsules are another way to slot special items that can change battle dynamics or give you helpful abilities that shield you from outside forces in the over world when you are on your travels.

After the first act, the game picks up considerable steam as the battles get tougher and the fights become more epic. The dreaded RPG grind doesn't feel as arduous because it feels more like training for the next large boss encounter. To train, you are taken around the world in impressively drawn dungeons that meander around obstacles. The game, as a whole, feels really well balanced for a DBZ game and an RPG.

What's Not
This is mostly a cut and dry, traditional RPG. The active guarding system is about as exotic as the innovations get for Attack of the Saiyans. There is plenty of dialog and stat building to play this game the correct way. To add to that, DBZ is a heavy world to jump head first into. Without some basis of knowledge or a jumping off point with the Manga or Anime, Attack of the Saiyans is going to be confusing to say the least. There are some of you already thinking these aren't faults and that is probably because you are fans of DBZ and/or RPG games. For as solidly as Attack of the Saiyans is made, it isn't going to change minds.

Stylistically, there are a few points where Attack of the Saiyans could have improved. The over world you explore seems to look small thanks to the tiny sprites. The conversations and battles are impressively drawn but the movable sprites should have been more detail. When you are in battle, when your fighters execute their special moves, their voices sound really puny. When you want the battles to be tough and powerful, it is disheartening to hear high pitched yells coming from the DS speakers.

Final Word
Attack of the Saiyans is the truest game to the DBZ Anime I have ever seen. Not only it is true, but it is really good as an RPG. One thing is for sure, this isn't likely to win over any new fans but the game is so solidly build that existing fans of RPGs or DBZ are going to eat this game up like some Senzu beans after a fight with Raditz.
Great sprite representations of the characters and moves in battle.
Puny voices for the special moves.
No real touchpad use but it doesn't really need it.
A solidly built RPG top to bottom that sticks true to the source material.
Lasting Appeal
Lengthy adventure full of training.
This game should be proud to call itself Saiyan.
[not an average]
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November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009

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