Before you read this review of Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai – Another Road, read our previous review here. “But wait,” you ask, “isn’t this review for last year’s game?” And the answer to that question is yes – but this appears to still be last year's game, so that review is still completely accurate.
Okay, perhaps this isn’t exactly like last year’s game – there’s a new story mode that’s quite unique. It’s an alternate, future timeline that tells an entirely fresh and different story that starts with Trunks, adds in bad guys like Babidi and Buu, and ends up with some 24 DBZ characters time-zapping in for a good punch-up. It’s entirely non-canon, and it makes no sense at all, but it’s definitely different. Kind of like a Star Wars game that had Luke joining a reborn Vader at the family droid repair shop and tearing C-3PO apart to get repair parts for the dishwasher, then showed Leia hooking up with Chewbacca at the Stormtroopers' Brass Band's Yoda tribute concert.
The execution of that story mode is a cool idea – you zoom around a map, defending the towns below from enemies either personally or via the two cohorts you’ve chosen. Unfortunately, they act independently, but each will balance their twin tasks of defending your towns and keeping you healthy slightly differently, so there’s a different feel depending upon whom you choose. Unfortunately, this mode is marred by redundant enemies and that recurring PSP nemesis, long and frequent load times. Bleh.
Everything else is just like you remember it or better. It looks fine without being fantastic. The controls feel about the same – arguably a tad more responsive. The upgrade system has gone from capsules to cards laid out on a grid, but is still quite familiar. Multiplayer is exactly the same - two-player ad-hoc only. There's also a goal-based Challenge mode, time attack, survival, and an arcade mode. And the one-on-one fighting is again decent and packed with explosive special moves, though most characters feel quite similar and it lacks the polish of serious fighters like Tekken: Dark Resurrection. If you don’t have either DBZ PSP game, buy this. If you have the first one already, you may want to rent this, plow through the story mode, and give it back.