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'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.