A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragon Ball Fusions is a downloadable action role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS. The game features characters from the popular Dragon Ball anime and manga series as they team up to fight in turn-based battles. The game features over-the-top visuals with cartoonish action and violence, though it lacks any excessive blood or gore. There are some slightly suggestive lines and words in dialogue but nothing overly offensive.
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What's it about?
In DRAGON BALL FUSIONS, you get the chance to find out who really is the best of the best. After collecting the seven legendary Dragon Balls and being gifted with the power to have any one wish granted, you and your friend Pinch wish to discover who is the most powerful warrior in existence. No sooner than you can say "battle royale," the two of you are sucked into an interdimensional breach, where you're joined with the characters of the Dragon Ball Universe. You'll recruit a team of warriors, even fusing characters together to merge their powers, and take on the rest of the Dragon Ball heroes and villains in a quest to prove yourself and your team as the most powerful warriors in existence. Along the way, you'll take on a few extra tasks and track down the Dragon Balls once again to wish your way back home.
Is it any good?
For fans of this popular anime series, this could be a dream game, so long as they're willing to put up with slow, dry pacing in play. Players create their own unique customized Dragon Ball character and then set out to build the best group of fighters they can to duke it out in a series of tactical, turn-based matches. Admittedly, hearing the terms "turn-based" and "fighter" in the same description is more than enough to make some gamers raise an eyebrow in doubt. Fusions, though, opens up a new set of tricks to the fighting formula by challenging players to choose an attack in a sort of rock, paper, scissors fashion. Environment comes into play, too, with players needing to choose a direction to attack from, allowing them to either blindside their opponents into a massive ambush or getting caught themselves and getting pummeled into oblivion. It's a slow and methodical twist on the classic fighting formula that can take a while to get used to.
Unfortunately, it's this slower pacing that ends up being Dragon Ball Fusions' biggest hurdle. For starters, when battling opponents, players pick a move, then sit back and watch a lengthy cut scene that shows the results of their choice. While this is pretty cool in the beginning, it wears out its novelty fairly quickly. Before long, you can't help but feel like you're just going through the motions. Making matters worse, later bouts suddenly start tossing in win conditions, meaning you not only have to win your match, but now you have to do so in very specific ways or be forced to restart from the last checkpoint. On the upside, taking on side missions grants access to more powerful characters from the Dragon Ball universe. Plus, fans of the series will have a blast trying out various fusions to come up with wildly insane combinations they've only dreamed could happen. It's a great bit of fan service, with a bit of a Pokémon feel, as players try to collect -- er, "recruit" -- as many characters as they can. While that might be enough to distract most die-hard Dragon Ball fans from the game's faults, the average gamer might not be quite as forgiving.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. How does the violence in the Dragon Ball anime, manga, and games compare with the more realistic violence in other media and the real world? Does its over-the-top and cartoonish nature make it more acceptable to kids?
Talk about consumerism and merchandising. What are some of the ways companies try to make money off popular properties such as Dragon Ball, and do items such as games and toys affect kids' interest in them?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: November 22, 2016
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Cartoon Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: February 26, 2020
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