Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit - hands-on

If you want to go even deeper, you can add dodges and the Mega Crush to your defenses. Holding the block button will stop normal attacks, but every character has a block-breaker, so you can’t just turtle up. By tapping the block button at the moments an opponent hits you, you’ll instead do little kung-fu dodges, allowing a faster recover for a counterattack (and will avoid block-breakers). Tapping block at the right time will cause projectiles to bounce off you harmlessly, and if you do perfect timing, fireballs will even fly back in your opponent’s face!

All of the characters are extremely nimble, allowing you to dash in and out of melee, side step and teleport to gain new attack angles, and of course take to the air and fight while flying. While fireballs launch at the tap of a button, it’s easy to avoid them and punish any foe that thinks they can pin you down with a barrage.

An important aspect of the style of play that Burst Limit encourages is perfectly demonstrated by the way Smash attacks work. They have an “attack through” property, which means that even if you’re hit while performing the wind-up for a Smash, you won’t be interrupted, and will still complete the attack. Furthermore, if two counter-balancing moves happen at once, priority is given to who attacked later. So the game rewards patience, reading your opponent, and counterattacking. Those annoying super-aggressive non-tactical button mashers will be easily handled by experienced players.

We’re not sure how deep Burst Limit will eventually turn out to be. The layers are certainly in place, but whether they hold up or end up being whittled down to a few overpowered methods won’t be clear until players get to dirty their feet with it. Another unclear aspect for us is the much-touted Drama Piece system, whereby players select a partner and specific Drama move before a fight. These moves are then automatically activated when an opponent gets you in a tight spot. Your partner then jumps in and saves your ass. We haven’t seen enough of these to tell whether any strategy will develop from them, or whether they’ll become an annoyance that interrupts the flow of combat by cutting away to a cutscene.

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit looks fantastic, plays smoothly and at a furious pace, and lays down the groundwork for a potentially simple-yet-deep fighting system. We’ll see in June if it satisfies DBZ fans and/or fighting game fans.

May 1, 2008

Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.