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Xbox 360 Review: Dragon Ball Z for Kinect

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It’s hard to believe that Dragon Ball Z has been around as long as it has.  First created as manga in Japan, written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama, it was a Shonen Jump staple from 1984 to 1995. 

A total of 519 individual chapters is nothing to scoff at and the appeal of the series is still on display at events like the Anime Expo and AM2 in Los Angeles. 

Dragon Ball was inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West and follows the adventures of Goku from his childhood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world.  For about 15 years, games have been retelling portions of these stories and Namco Bandai’s Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is the latest.

If you’re looking for an excuse to unleash your inner Super Saiyan, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect might be the game for you.  That being said, you’ll have to get your Dragon Ball Z aggression out by yourself.  The most notable failing of this game is that it’s a single player affair.  There is no local or online multi-player.  That’s a big problem for a fighting game. 

Though Namco has added a fair number of features, a single player fighting game not called Soul Calibur or Dead or Alive has a tough sell ahead of it and even those are multi-player.  

What Dragon Ball Z for Kinect does give you is a faithful representation of the Dragon Ball Z anime in a motion-sensing game. Namco Bandai has published a faithfully rendered the cell-shaded Dragon Ball Z universe and follows the original storylines pretty faithfully.  Players will get to see some new anime footage, published for the first time in the United States and Europe.  The game also boasts over 50 playable characters and one entirely new character.

Showing a silhouetted thumbnail of what the Kinect sensor can see, up in the top right of the screen, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect includes more than 100 moves.  

The game does help you out by showing recommended attacks for you to replicate.  Not all of these are easy to pull off considering the impreciseness of the Kinect sensor. 

If you are able to get them down, you can perform close range melee attacks like jabbing, uppercuts, hooks and long range blast attacks like the Kamehameha, Spirit Bomb, Final Flash, and Special Beam Cannon.  Like the Miority Report-styled menu system though, many of these moves are tough to get the Kinect sensor to recognize.

The review copy provided for Dragon Ball Z for Kinect included a Goku Hair headband.  Since, the camera doesn’t really show your image accurately while playing you might wonder why this was included.  Dragon Ball Z for Kinect supports QR codes but this presents a whole new set of issues with Kinect sensor.  As a fairly low-res camera, you will likely have trouble getting the codes readable for the Xbox.  Eventually, after manipulating the lighting, I was able to get the camera to see the included codes and unlock the bonus content.

The appeal of fighting games is being able to lay a beat down on either strangers or your friends and unfortunately, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect doesn’t let you do that.  The Score Attack Mode which is your only other option besides the main story mode just allows you to set up a match and tallies your best scores. 

What you’re left with is a bunch of punching and kicking into space for short intervals, like Tai Bo with anime.  That brings me to my final thought on Dragon Ball Z for Kinect.  This Xbox 360 Kinect title is probably a great gift for kid with way too much energy, either yours or someone else’s.

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Cartoon Violence, Mild Language.

 


 

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About Lance Roth

Lance Roth has over 10 years experience in the video game industry. He has worked in a number of capacities within the industry and currently provides development and strategy consulting. He participated in all of the major console launches since the Dreamcast. This videogame resume goes all of the way back to when they were written in DOS. You can contact Lance at RPGameX.com or rpgamex@gmail.com.