A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is part of Dragon Ball Z, an enormously popular Japanese franchise consisting of animated TV shows, comic books, and games. The Dragon Ball Z universe features an epic struggle between good and evil and revolves somewhat single-mindedly around the fights involved in this conflict. As to be expected, games based on the Dragon Ball Z license are fighting games, though the far-fetched cartoon violence is relatively mild compared to more mature titles in the genre. It's worth noting that Burst Limit, like its predecessors, is about boys fighting boys; there are few female characters to be found.
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What's it about?
DRAGON BALL Z: BURST LIMIT, the latest game in the prolific Dragon Ball Z canon (which in addition to games includes TV shows, comics, toys, and DVDs), is firmly entrenched in the franchise's established universe. It features a roster of fighters with whom fans will be familiar and follows a well-known plot for fans of the shows and comics. The game is essentially a long series of epic battles in which muscle-bound heroes kick, punch, throw, and blast each other around large, open environments. Dramatic scenes punctuate the action at appropriate intervals. The formula will be recognizable not only to Dragon Ball Z devotees, but also anyone who counts him or herself a fan of story-driven fighting games.
The Dragon Ball Z mythos is difficult to crack if you aren't a devout follower. It involves some fundamentally odd metaphysics (death isn't exactly what you'd expect it to be), dozens of characters, and flows over several story arcs called \"sagas.\" If you're new to the franchise, best simply to reconcile yourself with the fact that you will be confused much of the time. You'll learn more about the game's universe through its many dramatic sequences, which play out not only between battles but also during brief pauses in the fighting. The melodramatic dialog is unlikely to be confused with Shakespeare, but, on the bright side, it doesn't leave any shades of gray; you'll never be left wondering about motives or consequences.
Is it any good?
Story aside, the action is about what you'd expect of a Japanese fighting game. It's fast, frenetic, and over-the-top. There are plenty of satisfying combinations for ambitious players to master, which will allow them to actively pursue mini battle objectives -- such as landing a "vanishing attack" or finishing the fight with an "ultimate move" -- but button mashing works well, too. Indeed, a healthy selection of difficulty settings and a comprehensive tutorial help ensure that players of all skill levels will be able to play through the story mode without trouble.
That said, all bets are off once you enter the new online arena (a first for the franchise), where accomplished players who have been playing Dragon Ball Z games for years and have an intimate understanding of the franchise's characters will pound inexperienced players into the ground.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the game's distinct Japanese style. Can you point out differences in Japanese animation compared with Western animation or the ways in which the two cultures depict action and violence? Also, why are there so few female fighters in this world? What games have more?
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