It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Discussion of all things related to Dragon Ball video games (console and portable games, arcade versions, etc.) from the entire franchise's history.

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It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Yuli Ban » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:14 pm

Going all the way back to 2004 when Dragon Ball Z was still hot in North America, back when Buu's Fury and the Budokai games were still new, seeing how people reacted to the announcement and previews of the now infamous Dragon Ball Z: Sagas, watching the progression of the Tenkaichi/Sparking series, seeing Super Dragon Ball Z remain a topic of discussion over the years, and so much more. It's also nice to see VegettoEX has been a solid admin for well over a decade.
What intrigues me is this prevailing sense around 2005-2007 that there was a glut of mediocre Dragon Ball titles for the PS2. In retrospect, it sounds hilarious because this was the heyday of Budokai 3, Sparking NEO/METEOR, etc., but I can see where they might be coming from. I myself forget Infinite World, Super Dragon Ball Z, and Tenkaichi 1 were things.

Back then, there was also this sort of resigned sense that Dragon Ball games were doomed to mediocrity. Remember when most major titles were developed by Spike? They became the face of mediocre Dragon Ball games for a while there because we were getting these titles every year, and the forum threads were full of posts ranting about how tired people were with playing through the story of Z from Raditz to Boo yet again. And I'm talking about as far back as 2004. Dragon Ball was over and it was never coming back, so games were all we had. Which is why it's also interesting to see the general atmosphere of Kanzenshuu between 2007-2012, when not only was DB dead but game & DVD sales were dropping. The idea of a DB game selling 10 million units in 3 years or being a top title at high-level tournaments was unthinkable back then. Super DBZ and the Budokai series came somewhat close but still weren't there.

If it weren't bad taste, I'd necro some of these threads. Rather, I'll follow the rules and comment on an ancient, decade-old post or two from an intriguing little thread from 2006: Things that the best Dragonball Z game ever must have. If any of these users are still around, I hope they can tell me how they felt about Xenoverse. All this about a "fighting RPG", "choosing your character's appearance," "leveling up to unlock new abilities," "exploring an open world," "combat that's a mixture of Budokai and Tenkaichi," "tag-team gameplay," "in-game transformations," etc.... All that sounds prescient considering what we eventually got a decade later.

The forum doesn't go back that far, but I wish I could see some threads from the early 2000s, back when Dragon Ball was just getting its start and the Dreamcast was still an active console. I say this because I found an old article describing the meteoric success of Dragon Ball in the West as it was about to come to the UK, and one line in particular caught my eye:
It's the longest-running animated series in the world, a global phenomenon shown everywhere from Spain, where its products outsold Olympic mascot merchandise during the Barcelona games, to the States, where it is the top-ranking show on the Cartoon Network across all ages (a figure that's rumoured to have attracted the attention of Disney), and there's a Dreamcast game in production, to follow the Playstation releases.
There was? I can find literally zero information on it, even with my kaio-level Google-Fu. Was there some port of Final Bout about to happen?
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Yuli Ban » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:43 pm

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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Quebaz » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:24 pm

Yuli Ban wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:14 pm
What intrigues me is this prevailing sense around 2005-2007 that there was a glut of mediocre Dragon Ball titles for the PS2. In retrospect, it sounds hilarious because this was the heyday of Budokai 3, Sparking NEO/METEOR, etc., but I can see where they might be coming from. I myself forget Infinite World, Super Dragon Ball Z, and Tenkaichi 1 were things.
One of those things is not like the others. Hell even Infinite World isn't something I'd call mediocre.
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Yuli Ban » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:31 pm

Quebaz wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:24 pm
Yuli Ban wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:14 pm
What intrigues me is this prevailing sense around 2005-2007 that there was a glut of mediocre Dragon Ball titles for the PS2. In retrospect, it sounds hilarious because this was the heyday of Budokai 3, Sparking NEO/METEOR, etc., but I can see where they might be coming from. I myself forget Infinite World, Super Dragon Ball Z, and Tenkaichi 1 were things.
One of those things is not like the others. Hell even Infinite World isn't something I'd call mediocre.
Actually, all of those games are very much like each other, and that's what caused such much angst back in the day. You're thinking about their quality in retrospect, not how they were viewed at the time.
Super Dragon Ball Z is a damn solid fighting game, one that I'd say still holds up very well. Infinite World is basically Budokai 3.5, refining a lot of the things that made Budokai good. And while Tenkaichi 1 was raw, it was still a Sparking! game— I'm of the mind that even the Raging Blast games were solid because of that.

But that didn't change the fact that they were all games that followed the exact same storyline of the series with even worse voice acting in a time when nothing new in that series was being made. IIRC, Tenkaichi 3 coincided with the announcement of Dragon Ball Kai and Burst Limit came out the same year as Yo! Son Goku and Friends Return, yet the former was a failed attempt at cutting out Z's filler and the latter wasn't even released outside of Japan (a subbed version would've made for a great bonus on Burst Limit).
But again, Tenkaichi 3 and Burst Limit were retellings of the lore. Truncated retellings at that since they didn't even cover Dragon Ball (or the Boo saga and GT in Burst Limit's case).
The only reason you really looked forward to new titles was because maybe a character or two that you liked got added to the roster, or maybe a mechanic that you thought was decent in the last game would be improved. It's like getting a pizza every day, but it gets slightly more well made each day. The first day, you're happy to have it. Same thing with the second day and third day. By the third week of nothing but pizza, you're going to be wishing that the food had never been invented.
(Source: actually ate that cheap frozen pizza every day for dinner for a long stretch back in 2009-2010, and couldn't stomach the stuff for years afterwards).

That sense of Dragon Ball games being throwaway B-tier fighting titles is something that has definitely been lost in the six years since Battle of Gods. It's actually impressive how different the atmosphere is around here compared to a decade ago.

If you'd been following Dragon Ball since the 80s and played games from the 8-bit and 16-bit generation of consoles, the only appeal to the PS2 titles was that they were in full 3D and had actual voice acting and cutscenes. They'd been getting that cheap TV pizza for even longer than we had, except it was from a different company.
And it didn't help that Z games were often of a lower budget than other fighting games. You bought Soul Calibur and Street Fighter III because they were damn good fighting games. You bought DBZ Budokai & Budokai 2 because you were a Dragon Ball Z fan and were willing to put up with a ton of nasty jank.

But that's really just a symptom of the times. See if you can follow me on this.

Imagine it's 2008. Dragon Ball Z games have gotten steadily better over the years, but they still aren't held up as particularly great games except by fans of the show save for a small handful of titles. You're in a Gamestop looking at the library for a Z game to play, and they all seem to blend in. To a casual gamer or a casual DB fan, there's not that much different between them other than the camera changed in some. Dragon Ball as a franchise ended in 1995 with only the English and Spanish dubs of the anime keeping interest kindled. There was nothing new being made for it other than thousands of debunked Dragon Ball AF rumors. There's some special that just released in Japan, but it's not being dubbed and few people stateside know about it (still true to this day). The only Dragon Ball games that have their own unique storylines (to your knowledge) are a couple handheld titles and a few of the 4th gen games. Other than that, the franchise feels stagnant. It's retired to Papaya Island and is content with rehashing the same fraction of the franchise over and over again. Dragon Ball is already not lauded for its story and fighting games have never been known for their storytelling, but these games take this to another level.
It was at least understandable back in the early 2000s when the dubs were still ongoing and developers were still building assets to use in later games and could mask it as "following the dub progression of the show" a la Budokai 1 to 2 or the Legacy of Goku series (not unlike the Super Famicom games). But by '08, there's no excuse anymore and yet they're still trying to present a story told, retold, reretold, and rereretold over and over again as "experiencing the story in a whole new way!"

People are excited for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot for returning to that formula in the same way people were excited to see Call of Duty return to World War 2. That trend got way overdone back in the day but is now criminally underutilized. Though I'd argue that the Raditz to Boo/EoGT spiel didn't actually end with Xenoverse; it was just masked. After all, the story of Xenoverse is essentially you playing through the story of Z and GT, but now with your own original character, Donut Steel.

It kind of reminds me of the Star Wars fans who want a modern HD update of the old Super Star Wars games from the SNES, a retelling of the original trilogy. Except they actually have a point since Star Wars games since then have been almost totally original stories except for when the prequel trilogy was in theatres. Dragon Ball went the opposite route, sticking so hard to the story that even slightly deviating but not really is considered an 'original story'.
If we had gotten more games like Xenoverse 2's DLC missions, Fusions, and FighterZ in the past decade, I'd understand the desire to return to the Raditz to Boo formula. As of right now, Kakarot is only selling me because it's actually promising to flesh out the original story and offer its own new elements to it, but it also gets a pass because it's the first DBZ action RPG on this level. If we get a DBZ Kakarot 2, I'd only accept it if it went into Super and maybe GT. Super has yet to get its own dedicated games, so I'd let those slide too.
Imagine instead we get more action RPGs that do the Raditz to Boo thing unironically, sometimes even cutting out Boo and ending with Cell despite not actually adding anything more to make up for it. And then we get a Dragon Ball Super Budokai series, three of them to be precise, and they all go through the story of Super note-for-note (except when they take out details), with only what-ifs to color the experience. And then a Dragon Ball Super Tenkaichi series that does the exact same thing. Same characters, but with some additions to each game only for the line up to change with a new game series, and the same story presented as is.

That.

That's Dragon Ball Z games in the 2000s. That's why Dragon Ball games by 2005-2007 were being seen as mediocre bargain bin titles despite their quality.
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by BlazingFiddlesticks » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:03 am

I do wonder if the iterative sequels were a necessary evil to kick of the annual home console game process again. I would love to be a fly on the wall at Namco to see how far ahead they plan these games. I think we can actually throw around what the real "dark time" was. The early 2000s were mostly seven iterations of the same two games (counting Infinite World), but you might argue that Budokai and Tenkaichi hit higher highs for the repetition. Versus the late 2000s spending the PS360's entirely life cycle either chasing after the PS2 games but never quite reaching them (I haven't played the Raging Blasts enough to comment on Spike's end) or spitting out what I can only describe as "whatever Namco could manage". At least the PS2 games got better! :lol: I almost get the impression Namco knew they had to turn these games around, hence why they've since been pursuing ideas they rightly perceive fans as actually wanting- even ones that reel non-fans in precisely the way these games are supposed to! Heck, you might even argue Xenoverse 2's ridiculously long DLC tail is a strategic move to avoid not only too many sequels, but sequels in a particularly grinding and repetition-heavy sub-genre. Which as one who burnt out on Xenoverse with the first game I selfishly appreciate. Regardless, I agree with your ultimate conclusion that this is an unexpected high point for these games, back in 2013~ I was expecting things to keep getting worse before they got better.
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Yuli Ban » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:37 pm

BlazingFiddlesticks wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:03 am
I was expecting things to keep getting worse before they got better.
If things kept getting worse, they never would've gotten better. 2012 was the tipping/turning point. Things improved when there was actual new, fresh Dragon Ball content and a renewed market that brought in big sales for games. Dokkan Battle, Xenoverse, Fusions, FighterZ, and Kakarot are steps up compared to that literal dark age of Dragon Ball between 2008-2012.
We started getting games where they'd switch the voice actors mid-cutscene and where the iterative improvements started getting shafted in lieu of gimmicks. The games we got were a flat line of mediocrity because there weren't really any "series". Raging Blast had one sequel, but Burst Limit just... ended. This is also the period where we got two of the most dire Dragon Ball Z games: Ultimate Tenkaichi and Z for Kinect. Because there wasn't any real quality around it except some handheld titles, they stuck out, and the follow up— Battle of Z— was too mediocre to make up for it. I've said it time and time again that, at least for its video game franchise, Dragon Ball's worst year was 2011-2012. It was worth barely $25 million worldwide, the nadir compared to the peaks in the early 2000s and late 2010s. The best game released during that time (Ultimate Butoden) wasn't even released outside of Japan, and even there it barely sold anything. They had ambitions— Raging Blast was supposed to be a continuation of Tenkaichi, but they dropped the ball. Ultimate Tenkaichi was probably meant to be the Xenoverse before Xenoverse with a load of actually good ideas that we've not seen in Xenoverse yet (like different fighting styles based on your master and an actually original, if 500% utter sewer trash story for your CaC), but the budget ran out a seventh of the way through development and we got that abortion instead. Kinect had some potential as a first-person fighter, if only it weren't on Kinect.
They already weren't putting in any effort by 2008, so if it wasn't for Battle of Gods, I can only assume that Dragon Ball games would've just stopped being made by 2015 and we'd only see Son Goku and company in cross-anime tournament fighters.

Things didn't start looking up for Dragon Ball games until 2015's Xenoverse, which wasn't even a particularly good game but at least was a smash hit and did something differently without it being a frustrating gimmick.

And going back to the OP, you can definitely get that sense of things degenerating only to rapidly turn around by reading through the old forum threads. It's amazing to see users from 15 years ago dream of getting the kinds of games we're actually getting now. Games with fully customizable characters, a 3D Action RPG like Legacy of Goku, games with their own original storylines (or at least aren't just Raditz to Boo played straight), and more.
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by SaiyamanMS » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:45 pm

Yuli Ban wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:31 pm
As of right now, Kakarot is only selling me because it's actually promising to flesh out the original story and offer its own new elements to it, but it also gets a pass because it's the first DBZ action RPG on this level. If we get a DBZ Kakarot 2, I'd only accept it if it went into Super and maybe GT. Super has yet to get its own dedicated games, so I'd let those slide too.
Honestly, instead of Kakarot getting a sequel covering Super or GT, I’d rather see a prequel covering Goku’s youth. (Suggested title: Dragon Ball: Son Goku?) I’m pretty keen for Kakarot, but I wouldn’t be willing to do the Raditz to Buu thing over and over again like they did years ago.

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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by Yuli Ban » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:17 pm

SaiyamanMS wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:45 pm
Yuli Ban wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:31 pm
As of right now, Kakarot is only selling me because it's actually promising to flesh out the original story and offer its own new elements to it, but it also gets a pass because it's the first DBZ action RPG on this level. If we get a DBZ Kakarot 2, I'd only accept it if it went into Super and maybe GT. Super has yet to get its own dedicated games, so I'd let those slide too.
Honestly, instead of Kakarot getting a sequel covering Super or GT, I’d rather see a prequel covering Goku’s youth. (Suggested title: Dragon Ball: Son Goku?) I’m pretty keen for Kakarot, but I wouldn’t be willing to do the Raditz to Buu thing over and over again like they did years ago.
I'll one up you: why not go from from volume 1 chapter 1 episode 1 whatever all the way to the end of the original manga run? GT and Super can be DLC, and ought to be so we can get the original mythology as one uninterrupted story, but with added embellishments and filled in details. No DB/DBZ split; just go from start to finish just for once. The game doesn't end and sequel bait when you beat Junior and you can't skip ahead to start with Raditz. Wanna get to Z? Then actually get to it!
Start as 12-year-old Son Goku chopping wood, and end as 48-year-old Son Goku after kidnapping Oob. Now THAT would be a Dragon Ball game worth buying.
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Re: It's fun reading through older threads and articles!

Post by American Pelican » Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:44 am

Some Gamepro articles from 2002 and 2004. The former deals with Legacy of Goku and the CCG GBA game, and some 3d game projects infogrames were supposedly working on. The latter is mostly just about Budokai 3. Sorry for photos, no scanner.

https://imgur.com/a/VAv24tq
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