Dragon Ball fans have been spoiled this year with the release of Xenoverse, the new TV series Dragon Ball Super and the release of the new movie Resurrection F in UK cinemas. Hot on the tail of Resurrection F comes Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for the 3DS, a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up which seemingly offers plenty of choice in the never-ending quest for replayability.
Forgetting the sometimes over-complicatedness of the battle system in recent games, Extreme Butoden
is reminiscent of the great DBZ
fighters of old, such as seen in the Budokai series. Fighting is pleasingly simple - the usual pressing and sometimes mashing of certain buttons to attain combos, counter attacks, defensive moves and special attacks that take a bit more efficiency to pull off but are definitely worth learning.
Characters can be switched out and support characters used by touching their portrait on the bottom screen, requiring fast reflexes so as to not leave your character defenceless as you do so.
The roster of characters in this title is surprisingly lacklustre – around 20 characters to use in battle, with an extensive list of ‘support’ characters that can only be summoned to use a special attack and then disappear. The majority of these support characters have to be earned through the Adventure Mode, being unlocked as rewards for attaining the highest ranks as you fight your way through.
I was quite disappointed in this as I was looking forward to destroying everything as Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Vegeta, only to learn that you can only use him as a support character, forcing me to stick to his normal Super Saiyan form. This can be quite a blow to DBZ
fans, seeing as we have been treated to increasing character rosters in recent games, only to be presented with a chosen few in this iteration.
Filling in the great void left by the lack of usable characters is the impressive number of modes to choose from – Z Story, Adventure, Extreme World Tournament, Battle and Versus Modes, so you’re not lacking of things to do. It's a great thing to see, especially in a fighting series as long running as DBZ.
Most of the modes are not accessible until you complete the first scenario in Z Story Mode. Each scenario has ten battles, working through the iconic battles from the TV series. This mode has been done to death, which makes working through it a bit of a chore.
Once the main story is complete, more scenarios are unlocked, focusing on different characters’ ‘What If?’ stories. I was quite excited to play through this mode, wondering at how far they had gone to change the story to fit the character that you had chosen. Which was... not at all really. This gave me major grumpy cat face as I was looking forward to seeing how things would play out if someone other than Goku was at the helm. Turns out he ends up saving the day in these scenarios too, making them a pointless addition. The saving grace is that the battles in these scenarios are more challenging than the main story scenario, which really makes you work for your victory.
Once the main scenario in Z Story is completed, this unlocks Adventure Mode. This mode is the main meat on the bones and features a new alternate story – Omega Shenron is using Minus Energy, which has created a strange world where past and future mix, which means all of the enemies that Goku and co. have defeated in the past are alive once more.
Goku must set out on a quest to gather the Z Warriors and to find the Ultimate Dragon Balls to restore peace and save the Galaxy, as per usual. As you fight your way through this mode, new support characters are offered as rewards for achieving the highest ratings in battles. Some support characters are also unlocked by speaking to certain characters, a nice addition for the fans as we get to see some cameos from popular characters. Once all the enemies have been defeated in one area, this will unlock the next area.
Completing Adventure Mode will unlock the Extreme World Tournament mode, which isn’t half as extreme as it sounds. This World Tournament is mixing things up but not in any surprising fashion as you face off against tag-team opponents of around two to four fighters.
Fight your way to the finals and when you are victorious you win... absolutely nothing. Even though the battles in this mode are increasingly challenging as you progress and really test your prowess as a fighter, there’s pretty much no incentive to replay this mode any more than once.
xThe Battle and Versus modes are pretty self-explanatory. With lack of a proper training mode, Battle mode can be used if you need to brush up on your skills, which you’ll need to do if you want to unlock the sometimes frustratingly-hard-to-obtain support characters. Versus Mode is more promising – making it possible to duke it out with other players. This only offers local battles however and not online battles, adding another layer of disappointment onto an already rather large pile of let-downs.
Overall, Extreme Butoden
is quite a bitter pill to swallow – a lacklustre line up of playable characters, lack of an online mode and general seen-it-all-before content makes it lean towards being a sad disappointment. This is balanced out, however, by a nice choice of modes and generally really fun combat.
If you like your Dragon Ball
to be portable then I would recommend this game as it is good to play in short bursts, giving you that Dragon Ball fix on the go. If you’re looking for
a more substantial Dragon Ball
experience, however, I would suggest sticking to Xenoverse
to avoid disappointment.
+ Great 2D art
+ Fast fun battles
+ Plenty of content
- Tiny character roster
- No online mode
- No option for English voices
SPOnG Score: 7/10