Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road Hands-on
February 6, 2007 - There's certainly no shortage of Dragon Ball games. Fans of the franchise keep coming back for more, and fortunately for them, the games keep getting better and better. They're still a rather niche set of titles, but the mechanics are becoming solid enough that anyone who gives them a chance can find a good deal of fun within.
The latest game in the ever-growing DBZ franchise is (deep breath) Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road, set for release later next month exclusively on the PSP. The game is the follow-up to the original PSP release of Shin Budokai released just over a year ago, and from what we've seen of the sequel so far, it looks like Atari's fighter is improved in most every way.
Another Road follows a "what if" story surrounding Trunks and marks the first time in the franchise (not just the videogame series) that fans are presented with an offshoot storyline. The story is based around Trunks and his rise to power, though a number of other characters do appear and will be playable through the course of the six-hour story mode.
The first mission in the game sees a number of enemies attacking a nearby city and the only person that can save the people is Trunks. You need to fly over to each of the attackers and do away with them before time runs out and the cities are destroyed.
As was the case with the previous game, Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road features a control scheme that's both easy to pick up and play while providing a nice bit of depth for hardcore players. Buttons mashers will be able to jump right in and work between the attack buttons for some pretty killer combos, but advanced moves like Instant Transmissions will require precise timing and a knowledge of each fighters' differing styles. As well, mastering the art of charging your power while also remaining on the offensive requires a great deal of skill at the advanced difficulties.
The game feels great thus far and plays better than last time out. Button presses are translated to on-screen actions instantly, allowing you to make split-second changes in your combos. The camera is situated in a better position at a roughly 45 degree angle to the fighters, making the game more cinematic while also enabling you to see everything that's going on.
In addition to the returning Ad-Hoc play for fighting amongst your friends, Another Roads introduces Z-Trials, an arcade-esque set of three different challenge types that will task you to master your DBZ combat skills. Survival has you fight as many combatants as you can in a row, while Time Attack sees how quickly you can be an opponent. The unique, third mode here is simply called the Challenge type, where you'll be thrown into a normal battle except that you'll be given a goal of some sort, be it either pulling off a certain number of specific moves, attaining a certain combo multiplier or something of this nature.
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road looks great thus far and may wind up being one of the best DBZ games yet. We're not sure if the single-player mode will provide as much game time as the last title, but the fighting mechanics have been tightened and the camera is certainly improved. Look for this game to ship on March 20th.