Why Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden Is A Must Have!
by Adonis Gonzalez
Dragon Ball Z is one of the most popular anime of all time, and as such, it’s received a ton of spin-off merchandise. Two sequel series (if we’re counting GT…), tons of toys and an incredible amount of video games, Dragon Ball Z is a perfect example of modern mythology- because we’ll still be talking about it generations from now!
To put into perspective how popular DBZ is, the series ended in Japan on January 31, 1996 and in North America on April 7, 2003. Fast forward to 2015, and Dragon Ball Z is still alive and well in the form of yet another sequel series (Dragon Ball Super) and another video game! Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is the latest DBZ game, released in Japan and North America for the Nintendo 3DS. The game has actually been out in Japan since June, but has just recently made its way overseas for Western anime fans like you and me to enjoy!
I’ve been a fan of Dragon Ball Z for about as long as I’ve been a fan of anime, since I was about five years old. One of my favorite things about Dragon Ball Z were the fight scenes, the characters, and of course, the awesome techniques the characters pulled off.
Extreme Butoden was developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco Games. You may remember Arc System Works as the developers of such incredible games as the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series, as well as Person 4 Arena- one of my personal favorite fighters. This also isn’t their first attempt at a Dragon Ball Z game, as they developed Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 1 and 2. You may remember Bandai Namco Games’ name from every anime game ever made. Putting these two studios together was a great idea, and the end result is a solid 2D fighter with great graphics and super fun gameplay! Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden has over 100 characters spanning across the entire history of Dragon Ball Z.
Each character has three standard attacks; weak, strong and special. These attack types are standard for most arcade style fighters. The only complaint I have with the fighting mechanics is how simple they are. You can throw any number of moves into combinations, but combos don’t exactly vary between characters. This makes it easy to learn any character, but also makes the game super simple. Those who are expecting Persona or BlazBlue level fighting are going to be a bit disappointed in Arc System Works with this one. But luckily, the fighting is fun, and though the combos don’t vary, they’re at least good looking combos that are a blast to perform.
One of the unfortunate things about Extreme Butoden is that, technically, only 15 characters are available to play with. The rest are ‘Z-Assist Characters’, which act as support for your fighter. As a person who hates it when character slots are occupied by characters I can’t even play, this troubled me. Luckily, the character do provide you with solid support. These characters jump on screen, perform a devastating attack, and then vanish. While it sucks that you can’t play as them, it does give a ton of DBZ characters some much needed screen time. Another thing I love about these Z-Assist characters is that when you have a team that was actually a team in the anime, you get to witness some pretty cool group attacks. The coolest example of this is when you play as Captain Ginyu and choose the other members of the Ginyu Force as your support character- all of them showing up on screen at once, posing ,and then proceeding to demolish the opponent is just spectacular!
The versus mode isn’t the only mode available in the game however. Z-Story is the mode you’d expect from every Dragon Ball Z game, chronicling the epic events of the DBZ storyline. The main story is a bit short, 10 fights and you’re done. Luckily, beating this mode unlocks some pretty cool character-specific stories. They offer some pretty cool alternate storylines, like one that gives Krillin the recognition he’s deserved for so long. Once you beat Z-Story, Adventure Mode is where you want to go next. This mode offers a more original story involving a lot of Goku’s past foes returning to wreak havoc on him and the Z-fighters. Even characters from his days as a child return to provide players with some good old fashioned Dragon Ball nostalgia.
Going back to the multiplayer aspect of Extreme Butoden…it’s sort of lacking. One of the things I really don’t like about modern DBZ games is their lack of attention to detail when it comes to multiplayer. Dragon Ball Xenoverse had a great online multiplayer mode, but its local multiplayer mode might as well have been nonexistent, what with its one stage and having to unlock it by playing a certain amount of the story. Extreme Butoden has the exact opposite. While there is local multiplayer between two 3DS’ in the same vicinity, there’s absolutely no online multiplayer. It’s a shame, because I believe that if any games are going to have online capabilities, handheld games should definitely. Bandai Namco and Arc have acknowledged this, and are planning to include online multiplayer in an upcoming update. The update is only coming to Japan at first, but it’s likely to make its way overseas shortly after.
All in all, Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a great game for those who love Dragon Ball Z! Yes, the fighting is simple, but it’s really fun, and it’s easy to pick up on how to perform devastating combos. Though the game is short on playable characters, the assist characters provide great support, and can be called in whenever you want. The greatest thing about this game, without a doubt, are the single player modes. Z-Story is your standard DBZ story mode, but the story of Dragon Ball is something that can be told and retold over and over again! Adventure mode provides an interesting and original story, and the alternate “What-If” stories are fun to play through as well.