Every week, it seems, a new Dragon Ball game is released. For the most part, these are forgettable releases that either feel dated or just aren’t enjoyable. On the other hand, there’s the rare release like Attack of the Saiyans, an RPG based on the Dragon Ball Z universe, that is a worthwhile purchase for fans of the series.
The story, if you aren’t a Dragon Ball Z fan, is completely disjointed and hard to fathom. For Dragon Ball Z fans, it covers quite a few periods from the show, from Goku’s defeat of Piccolo to his marriage to Chi-Chi to the arrival of Vegeta and the other Saiyans. The story is split into roughly 15 chapters, and each one feels entirely separate, just as if each were an episode of the show.
The gameplay is old-school- no action bars, no real-time elements whatsoever. You tell your team of three fighters a set of actions to do, then the fighters and enemies all perform those actions in an order that is based on each character’s speed attribute. Each one of your characters has a standard attack and a set of special attacks that use up a portion of their Ki points. Additionally, each character has a ‘rage’ gauge that allows for super powered or team attacks when it is full.
The leveling system is old-school as well. Everyone earns experience and skill points after a fight, with experience points going toward leveling up a character’s stats and skill points being able to be distributed manually to level up either special attacks or improve their stats some more. There’s no right or wrong way to distribute the points, you can just use them according to your playing style and you’ll do fine.
The graphics are great 2-D renderings of locations from the Dragon Ball Z series. Everything from the Kame House to the Ox-King’s palace has been drawn in this style. Of course, all of this is expected considering the graphics were drawn by the same artist who did the art for Chrono Trigger and who worked on the actual series.
Despite the lack of a story I could follow, this was a game I really enjoyed playing. It brought back a little nostalgia from my time playing Chrono Trigger thanks to the artistic similarities and the older style of gameplay. In the end, this was a fun and refreshingly old-school take on the RPG genre.
Plays Like: Chrono Trigger and other turn-based RPGs
Pros: Faithful to the series; difficulty level fits the audience; graphics are good and reminiscent of Chrono Trigger
Cons: Story is disjointed and hard to follow for non-DBZ fans.