Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review «

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review

The blurb on the back of Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans’ box says that it’s the “first ever Dragon Ball Z Role-Playing Adventure,” but long-time fans will likely remember differently. The franchise is mostly known for its fighting games, but it’s made more than a few forays into RPG territory, with the results running the gamut from the awful Legacy of Goku to the much-improved Legacy of Goku II. Attack of the Saiyans sits somewhere in between, once again rehashing the events of the anime and the manga, but doing so with entertaining, fast-paced battles.
As the name suggests, Attack of the Saiyans covers Dragon Ball Z’s first major story arc, known as the Vegeta Saga. Beginning with the end of the original Dragon Ball arc, the Vegeta Saga covers all of the points you’d expect — it breaks the events from the World Martial Arts tournament onward into short, easily digestible episodes. The Saiyan Arc has been told and retold over the course of dozens of games, so the story should be old-hat for hardcore fans, especially those who are familiar with the games. When it comes to its licensed properties, Namco Bandai rarely deviates from established lore.

Click the image above to check out all Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans screens.
The game zips by, covering the first eight chapters in fewer than five hours. It slows down a bit after that, but it’s still possible to cruise through all the game’s 15 chapters in less than 15 hours. Most of the dungeons are bite-sized, with some lasting only two or three screens. They get most of their mileage out of dead ends and random encounters, the latter of which are slightly higher than usual. In fact, the dungeons are so short that there’s rarely enough time for you to reach a high enough level to pose a serious threat to the boss. Consequently, you’re forced to do a lot of grinding to complete each area, which isn’t exactly satisfying. The poor dungeon design is only mitigated by the fact that you gain levels quite quickly and that the dungeons themselves are relatively painless.

What keeps Attack of the Saiyans interesting is its battle system, which offsets the limited number of characters with a fair number of options. A basic attack results in a flurry of powerful fists, but it’s also possible to strike with mainstay attacks like the Kamehameha and the Wolf Fang Fist. You can also combine these skills into powerful attacks like the “Kamehame Fever,” which you initiate by having three party members use a Kamehame when their rage meters are filled. These combinations, alongside the even more powerful Ultimate Attacks, keep the experience from getting too repetitive, even if they rarely appear in normal battles. They’re mostly there to up the ante and help make boss fights feel appropriately intense, which is what upper-tier attacks should do in an RPG.

Click the image above to check out all Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans screens.
However, while the battle system is solid, most RPG fans are likely to find the experience a bit too simple. The lack of equipment (outside of various Power Rings) limits your customization possibilities, and none of the boss battles are overwhelming. Instead, the simple interface and the relatively low difficulty make the game well-suited to children. Even kids who are unfamiliar with Dragon Ball Z are likely to appreciate the simple but colorful graphics, and the game’s fast pace ensures that they won’t get bored too quickly.

It seems clear that Monolith was aiming for a younger audience when developing Attack of Saiyans, and it appears that they have done a good job filling that niche. It’s a decent pickup for fans who don’t mind going another round with Vegeta, and a solid option for parents looking for a game for their kids. Not exactly what fans would call “Super Saiyan,” but certainly good enough.


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