Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection Review

Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection Review

Licensed games don't exactly have the best of reputations - they're often a complete waste of time and money. However, they aren't always like this and the Dragon Ball Z Budokai series is one such instance where this was true. Since then, years have passed and we've had countless Dragon Ball games that have been disappointing fans who just wanted things to go back to the good old days with Budokai. Now Namco Bandai has listened and has decided to re-release Budokai 1 and 3 in an HD collection, but do these classics still hold up even without the second game?

If you have ever even heard of Dragon Ball before, then you know that the story is absolutely massive. The games cover the story the best they can by showing the highlight moments through each saga ranging from the Saiyan saga all the way to the Buu saga. Still neither game is meant to be a substitute for watching or reading Dragon Ball, but fans who know the series will definitely get the most out of the story.

Both games included offer a completely different approach to telling the same story and with each approach comes pros and cons. The original Budokai tries its best to replicate the anime and this leads to many cutscenes in between fights. There is no off switch on this nimbus ride though. Once you get started the game doesn't put the brakes on until you finish each saga. This actually isn't a bad thing since the story can be played through in a day and leads to an enjoyable, nostalgia filled afternoon.

Budokai 3 on the other hand decides to give much more content in its story, but the trade off comes in presentation. The cutscenes are now replaced with character portraits that turn into talking heads. This actually streamlines things a lot and just gives you enough story to fight and most of these never seem to last more than a minute as long as you don't need to reflect on.

Each game's approach to telling the overly crazy and dramatic story of Dragon Ball fulfils you with nostalgia overload, to the point that you may just want to pop in some old VHS tapes and watch some classic DBZ with friends. All the characters you know and love return once again (or for the millionth time) to tell a story that defines many 90's kids childhood such as my own and holds up just as well today.

Most of the fun that comes through going each saga is hands down reliving every classic fight that ramp up as you continue on. While putting the characters and moves from the show into a fighting game sounds simple enough, many games have failed and some still do to this day finding the right way to do it. Even in the original Budokai, this remains true with the somewhat clunky mechanics.


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