Dragonball Evolution Review
Evolution is definitely a contender for worst game of the year!
When it comes to fighting games, the Dragonball series is coveted by many worldwide; not only because of impressive sales, but because Dragonball titles are generally well made. You would think that a movie tie-in game, part of a long standing and well respected series, would undoubtedly follow suit. Unfortunately, I am sad to report that with Dragonball: Evolution the mold has been broken.
The game’s storyline mirrors that of the movie, the tale of a teenage Goku and his quest to find the Dragon Balls. Sadly, it is in the story itself that you will first notice some of the many problems that plague Dragonball: Evolution. Featuring horrendous dialogue and unusually cheap cut scenes, following the storyline through the game is much harder than in other titles of the series or even the movie the game is based on.
The gameplay mechanics are no better than the lackluster storytelling. Simply tapping the Square button will get you through a majority of the game, a fact that is immediately disappointing to series fans and true gamers alike. Combo moves are offered and are relatively easy to accomplish, but why even bother if simply pushing square gets the job done? The “Ki” (energy) meter plays an important role in fights, pulling off attacks, and blocking moves. The Ki meter, filled by being attacked, can then be used to perform a small handful of special moves of varying strength and cost. As the story progresses, your character will learn new attacks, some of which are vital in defeating certain powerful enemies.
Completing rounds and meeting certain time requirements will give you points which can then be used to buy things in the in game shop, such as artwork, sound clips, storyboards, etc. The rewards give the title some replay-ability but, considering the broken mechanics, I doubt many will attempt more than one play-through. At times, Dragonball had the fun opportunity to introduce mini-games, but instead an “off air” cutscene was all that was given. What a poor design decision to say the least.
The title offers an Arcade mode that provides more of a challenge than the typical gameplay, but in the end the included mode is really only more of the same offered in the standard mode of play. Instead of a single round, arcade mode has you sparring for two rounds and earning points accordingly. The modes are relatively short and add little to the storyline. With only a handful of characters to choose from I doubt you will spend much time here.
Multiplayer is present, although the offerings are sparse. The lobby system works, but don’t expect it to get much use. The matches themselves follow the same formula as the regular game, although your human controlled opponent will hopefully present more of a challenge than the game’s disappointing AI.
Graphically, the game dissatisfies with dull character models and uninspired locations that make you wonder how the people behind other, better Dragonball games sank so low. The animations in Dragonball: Evolution also leave you wanting more, especially considering that this is a fighting game. In the end, the Evolution’s visuals add little to an already lacking $40 package.