Game Guys review - Dragon Ball Z for Kinect

6:00 PM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Dragon Ball Z Kinect' for Xbox 360.
  • 'Dragon Ball Z Kinect' for Xbox 360.

In the 1990's on through the early 2000's, 'Dragon Ball Z' was easily one of the more popular anime titles on television.  It's so-bad-its-good dialogue and voice acting was trumped only by its over-the-top fantasy martial arts and powerful super moves.  Now, in the year 2012, fans have their chance of not only controlling the show's characters in a fighting game, but more-or-less being those characters in the Xbox 360 title DragonBall Z for Kinect.

As a Kinect game, DBZ for Kinect uses the player's entire body as the controller rather than rely on input from the Xbox 360's gamepad.  To perform a punch, all you need do is punch.  To kick, you kick.  There are, however, different types of punches and kicks -- let alone the über-powered super attacks -- that can be performed.  Luckily, there is a rather good tutorial to teach players the ropes.  It's during the tutorials, if not the during actual gameplay, that the player realizes that the game's gesture recognition software isn't 100% accurate.

While the game does its best to track the player's movements, it doesn't always get it right.  For example, sometimes the player will try to block, only to throw a punch instead.  Luckily (and to the detriment of this game), taking a cheap shot or two on the chin isn't all that dangerous.  In fact, players will find that this first-person fighter is actually fairly quick and easy to complete.  There is a near-guarantee, however, that the player might want to take a quick shower immediately afterwards.  That stated, DragonBall Z for Kinect still proves itself to be fun.

This game is presented in a way akin to that of the anime itself.  The action-oriented segments of the anime (the fighting, that is) comes complete with its roll-your-eyes bad dialogue.  DBZ for Kinect's art style, just like the dialogue, also feels like it was ripped straight out of the anime.  In fact, this game stays quite faithful to the show and its over-the-top action sequences -- including the in-battle cutscenes, which come complete with quicktime event triggers -- can be rather enjoyable (if not a bit hokey at times).

The game comes with a couple of side features as well.  One of these is a special on-disk-only episode of 'DragonBall' featuring main protagonist Goku's father.  The other is the ability to scan special QR codes using Kinect's camera to unlock specific in-game goodies.  This feature, however, doesn't seem to work.

Overall, DragonBall Z for Kinect is a fairly impressive game that more-or-less succeeds in doing something different in the fighting game genre.  It's far from perfect, but it's a step in the right direction as far as first-person Kinect-enabled fighting games go.  It should be a must-buy for 'DBZ' fans, though non-fans of the anime should at least give it a try as well.

Final Game Guys grade: B-

(Namco Bandai provided a copy of this game for review.)


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