Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden review – Now with even more Kamehamehas


I’m a pretty big Dragon Ball Z fan who collects the S.H. Figuarts, watches the new movies and (more recently) the new anime series, but the one thing I always cringe at is when I hear about a new Dragon Ball Z game. This is mainly due to the game series being underwhelming in the last few years. I always hope the next game will get better, but in reality, there are only so many ways you can retell the same story over again, and Bandai Namco’s DBZ game suffers from the fact that you’ve heard how many times Goku has beat Raditz, Vegeta, Freeza, and Mujin Boo.

Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a nice change of pace, returning to 2D animation (which we don’t see that often in video games anymore), and they look great when you have a lot going on with multiple characters and energy blasts coming from every direction. While the previous games in the series have had some pretty complicated controls to learn and perform, Extreme Butoden is actually the complete opposite with a very easy learning curve. You just need to memorize about three or four button combinations that every character on the roster shares (with the only difference how each character performs their attack animations).


Extreme Butoden features a roster of 24 playable characters and 70+ assist characters that you earn or unlock via a code you can have on your team. Sadly, a few of the characters are just repeats (Vegeta, Super Saiyan Vegeta, Goku, Super Saiyan Goku, Super Saiyan God Goku, etc.) with a color change and one or two new moves, but basically plays the exact same way and even shares many of the ultimate animation moves as the previous versions rather than using that spot for another character. You can have up to three main characters on your team (which you can switch out by using the Nintendo 3DS touch screen), or just one with up to four support characters to help you out in battle each with different abilities, some of which more useful than the others.

The game is great for casual players who love Dragon Ball Z and don’t pick up a Dragon Ball game that often. For more seasoned players, there are some interesting things you can learn in the game, but they really don’t make that much of a difference since they just drain your bar for a little extra damage (which in this game, you just want to abuse them for energy attacks and your finisher). The game is pretty simple and that’s where it becomes its greatest issue.  


Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden features a variety of playable modes with the most interesting ones being Z Story, Adventure World and Extreme World Tournament. Z Story retells the entire story of Dragon Ball Z (for the millionth time) in a matter of 10 battles per scenario. The first story focuses on important fights in the Dragon Ball Z series, starting from the Saiyan Saga until the final battle against Boo with the Z fighters. After completing this story, you unlock more episodes that focus on each character’s battles in the series individually. Lastly, there’s a mode that focuses on a brand new story where all the enemies the Z Fighters have defeated come back to life (with the help of the Dragon Balls) and are out for revenge against those who defeated them.


Adventure World is unlocked after you complete the Z Story mode and plays a lot like Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, where players will be able to visit different locations on the mini map. This mode had plenty of potential but wasn’t implemented very well. One of the biggest problems with this mode is the story: I have no idea what Bandai Namco and Arc System Works were thinking when they were looking for a scenario to put in this game, but what we get is probably the most confusing and convoluted story that focuses on Dragon Ball GT’s Omega Shenron (the collection of all the negative energy amassed in the Dragon Balls), who is summoned and looking to destroy the universe. The only way to stop this is for Goku to collect the Ultimate Dragon Balls. I lost interest shortly after playing this mode as it just feels extremely rushed and just something they slapped together on the fly. Worst of all, while Omega Shenron is the main focus of the story, he only appears as an assist character in the final battle against Beerus (which makes absolutely no sense).

Ignoring the story, Adventure World is also where you unlock the bulk of your assist characters (as you are rewarded for how well you do in battle) and even meet certain requirements. While you control Goku on the map, you are free to choose which characters and assists you head into battle with, and you will be doing this for quite a while. As you progress to different locations, you will get a dialogue sequence which features characters from the series and, for the most part, fighting over and over. Of course, getting an S-Rank is pretty tough (except for dialogue scenes where you automatically get an S-Rank) since there are no goals you are ever given, leaving you confused even after perfecting your opponent and activating two ultimate techniques (I’d never get better than an A-Rank).


The problem with Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is it gets repetitive quickly and the original stories are just plain dull. You’ll likely shelve it after just a few hours in and the execution was lacking overall. The AI in the game is too boring and simple; I could finish the entire game only using one character (such as Gohan or Broly), even towards the end including the Extreme World Tournament mode (where you fight against multiple teams over and over). Instead, I found more enjoyment playing others online in the game’s Versus mode.

The game is fine in short bursts, but it really lacks any drive for you to get better and keep playing (which is the biggest problem). In previous games, I would practice for hours to perfect combos and get better, but this game just doesn’t give you that feeling.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5NR 2_5 Atoms - C-

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