Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road - DBZ: Shin Budokai PSP's Single Player Campaign
March 20, 2007 - When seeing the screenshots of Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road, it can be easy to dismiss the franchise fighter as yet another console port on PSP, or a brushed up version of the previous Shin Budokai. The game sets itself apart, however, with its unique off-shoot storyline and character customization scheme--providing a single-player experience that's more robust than the original PSP installment.
On the lore side of things, the Another Road campaign mode explores a parallel universe untouched by the manga, anime and movies. According to the traditional plot, Trunks from the future helps defeat Perfect Cell in the present day, and also prevents Goku from dying of a heart ailment. With earth restored to peace once again, Trunks goes back to the future, leaving the reader to believe that all will be well in the Goku-less alternate reality.
Astute lore junkies would realize, however, that Future Trunks would inevitably face Majin Buu, Babidi and Dabura (as Goku and crew do). Another Road seeks to wrap up this side story, and places players in the role of Trunks.
Similar to past Budokai games, Another Road has players fly around the map in search of enemy encounters. But in contrast to other installments, the PSP version introduces a new strategic, city-defending element. Enemy fighters fly around trying to annihilate cities, and it is up to the player to intercept the opponents and thwart their destructive binges. Bonus objectives crop up as the game progresses, forcing the player to adapt on the fly. Defeating opponents and clearing stages give you Zenie (the DBZ currency)--the exact amount of which depends on your performance.
The Zenie earned can then be spent on customization cards, which build up the stats and abilities of each individual character. There are a total of nine slots, some of which come locked and can be unsealed for 5000 Zenie. Each slot can be filled with a Booster card: Normal Boosters provide stat upgrades to strength, ki, and charge and energy attacks; Power Up Booster are modifier cards that affect adjacent Boosters; Ultimate Boosters improve the power of your Ultimate Moves. As you progress through the game, you'll acquire increasingly powerful Boosters; and given the amount of options available, it will likely take more than one run through the campaign to collect them all.
Although the story revolves around Trunks, many missions will allow you to select other members from the DBZ roster--so Vegeta buffs can breathe a sigh of relief. Selectable characters not only include the main characters of Gohan, Trunks, Goku, Vegeta, Krillin and Piccolo, but also movie characters including Cooler, Broly and Bardock. In total, there will be 24 characters, some of which will also come from Dragon Ball GT.
With Another Road's single player seeing a significant change from the linear slugfest of the first Shin Budokai, Dragon Ball Z fans may finally be able to satisfy that campaign-mode itch they've had since Budokai 3.