"Budokai in HD"
Ah... Dragon Ball Z. It's become almost synonymous with anime-styled fights featuring teleportations, indescribable strength, and disproportionately destructive blasts of energy. Of course, video games seek to emulate their source material as faithfully as possible, which led to the birth of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai in 2002. From then on, the series improved all the way up to Budokai 3, and now here we are in 2012 with an HD rerelease of those games.
Except, for some reason, DBZ: Budokai 2 is missing. I'm sure there some financial or logistical reasoning behind it, but it would have been nice to have all three of the games included in Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection. With that said, the two games offered, Budokai and Budokai 3, bring very mixed results.
Because I'm a fan of chronological ordering, I'll start with the original Budokai. HD Collection brings new music, and the presence of achievements and improved graphics. I can appreciate the presence of achievements, but the new music was hardly noticeable to me, and the graphics looked almost exactly like they did to me ten years ago.
Now, knowing what I do about graphics today, I'm sure they smoothed out some of the textures, fixed some of the aliasing, and I'm also aware that there's only so much you can do when remastering a game, but still, I would have liked to have seen more changes in the "remastering" of the original. The kamehameha's are still yellow. All of them. I vividly remember taking back my original purchase as a kid, thinking that the yellow kamehameha was a glitch, and, much to my chagrin, I realized that the developers decided that yellow kamehameha's were the way to go. It was a distressing time in my young life.
Despite incorrectly colored beam attacks, Dragon Ball Z Budokai does offer, in my opinion, the best representation of the DBZ story in any game to date. Everything is fully voice-acted, and the cutscenes are exactly as they were in the show, which is a pleasing hint to nostalgia. Unfortunately, I didn't dwell long on this game. I'd beaten it excessively as a child, and I felt no need to play through a game that didn't feel like a true remastering of the original.
Skipping over Budokai 2 (not included in this collection), where the beams became blue, and moving onto Budokai 3, I realized that this is where the lion's share of the remastering effort came into play. The game looks great. While I'm not a fan of the new music they chose to implement, I can't deny that I was momentarily captivated by how much the looks of the game improved. In my opinion, Budokai 3 offers the best balance of a legitimate fighting game while still being over the top, just like a Dragon Ball Z game should be.
Still though, like Budokai before it, I've played Budokai 3 to death. I really would have liked for Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection to include more in the way of additional features not found in the original games. The graphics bump up in Budokai 3 is very welcomed, but graphics can only take you so far in a game. It is nice, however to have Budokai 3 on a current-gen system where your DBZ fandom can be converted directly into achievements.
Unfortunately, the nitpicking DBZ fan in me came out when I critically analyzed this game as a package. Slipping on my critical glasses, I realized that there is zero implementation of online multiplayer in either game. It was here that I felt the need to step away from the nostalgia and realize that, outside of the graphics improvements and music changes, the games haven't been improved in any significant way. It may just be a fan's outcry for attention, but I would have liked to have seen anything at all, such as artwork, even clips from the show, included in the HD Collection, something that emphasizes that this is a game for fans of the series and newcomers alike...
Overall, Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection really could have just been a remastering of Budokai 3, because that's where most of the work seems to have gone. It was nice to look back at the original and see how well the franchise has progressed, but as a "remastering" of the original games, the complete package feels lacking.
GameDynamo's Score for Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection (PS3)
|Joey Blackwell II
Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
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