It's Over 9,000... Times Worse Than You Think
Perhaps most tragic of all victims of the dreaded "quick 'n dirty port" are kids. More often than not, licensed games focus on big cel- or CG-animated releases, and while it's getting better the licensed game schlock is the rule rather than the exception. The games are usually wafer-thin on actual content, recycle what's there and pay the merest of lip service to the source material, and often the justification is that a) the target audience won't really know any better, or, perhaps most painfully, that b) the games will sell regardless. Both cop-outs are, unfortunately, usually true. The games are purchased by unknowing family members for their loved ones because, hey, they're named after the movie, and the kids loved the movie, so everybody wins, right?
Few developers -- even seriously competent or downright fantastic ones -- are blameless here, and believe me, I understand the reasons for them getting sucked into the whole process. Publishers often have the bargaining power to say whether future new IPs will get the go-ahead, and often devs just need the money that comes from whipping up a fast and loose take on what'll hit in theatres and sell like gangbusters. If both weren't absolutely true, we wouldn't still be getting games like Dragonball: Evolution.
Even the title is a misnomer. This is a fighting game, made by the clearly talented folks at Dimps who have already made more than a few (admittedly good -- even if you don't even like the cartoon) Dragon Ball Z games in the past, that is so completely devoid of strategy or, uh, fun that it's hard to even call it an actual fighter. With the exception of just a couple of battles, you can beat the entire game -- getting the highest grade possible in the process by pressing just one button. No looking at the screen, no reacting to timing, just mash, mash, mash blindly.
To make matters worse, the talking (and shaking, and sliding) heads that make up the game's between-level fights are so amateurish as to make the game seem like one giant joke being played on anyone left that still loves the Dragonball license. One could certainly make the case for this being a game on the level of respect or competency as the movie upon which it's based, but that Dimps has already made DBZ games that were good -- and that sported a roster as much as ten times as large as that in the game is, frankly, deplorable.
It's literally a step back, and represents one of the most obvious examples of the quick 'n dirty port out there; a disgustingly basic, weak accompaniment to a license that already takes a huge dump on the fans of one of the longest-running anime series out there. I'm no defender of Dragon Ball Z, but even I can see that fans deserve better than this. There are no redeeming qualities, there are no upsides, there is only a shoddy, recycled backbone of existing tech with a fugly, limited, strategy-free coat of pain slapped atop it. Do not play this game, much less buy it, or suffer the kind of uneasy laughter that says, "I just bought a game that's so bad it's good and keeps wrapping back around to become a travesty all over again."