The first draft of this review opened with a joke in which we talked about the amazing impression Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World made on everyone in the office, captivating and amazing us. But we changed it to make sure someone from publisher Atari’s marketing department couldn’t rip out just that quote and print it in the game’s ads. You see, the punch line of that opening joke was going to explain that the bit that’s amazing, captivating and impressive is how absolutely, horribly, jaw-droppingly bad Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World is. There have been at least seven other Dragon Ball Z fighting games released on PS2 since 2002 – all of them are far better than this steaming pile.
Like most of its predecessors, Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World is a fighting game. Its roster boasts more than 40 characters, complete with a giant stack of transformations and the now-trademark upgrade capsules. That sounds like a lot until you recall last year’s DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 had 162 characters.
But we could live with “only” 40 characters if they played well. They don’t. The fighting is boring – how is that even possible with a DBZ game? These mugs can fly through mountains, punch so quickly the eye can’t follow it and morph into more powerful brawlers. About the only thing they can’t do is go ten minutes without a face-melting lightning bolt exploding from one of their bodily orifices.
Yet, this is bland. The arenas are sparse and lame, and you know those big counter-counter-counter moments and massive beam clashes and dynamic special attacks that made other recent DBZ fighting games so playable? They’re all missing. What you’re left with is basic punches, kicks, and the most uninspired Ki attacks ever. What’s that? A fireball? Whee. Call us when you actually notice how kicksauce your source material is.
Oddly enough, you’ll be begging to get back into the boring fighting after only a few missions in the story mode. It somehow manages to take a series that’s all about galactic level combat and decide instead that you’d rather fly through rings, collect some random floating crystal things, and generally just run all over the map between clumsily executed cut scenes. When chasing a monkey down is the highlight of a 100+ mission story mode and two new songs by composer Hironobu Kageyama are the best part of the overall package, you know there’s a problem. Download the tunes and skip everything else.
Nov 24, 2008