Although Atari has found a good deal of success with its series of fighters based on the Dragon Ball license, the publisher is changing up its approach for its latest DS game. The upcoming Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu will depart from the fighting formula seen in 2005's Super Sonic Warriors and let players get their card battle in a turn-based action card game. The work-in-progress game we saw was still in its nascent stage, but we were able to get a sense of what to expect.
The game follows the board game presentation seen in DBZ: Budokai 2 on consoles and sends you on your way save to the world. But whereas the board game setup drove people insane in Budokai 2 because of its effect on the pacing of a 3D fighter, the more deliberate gameplay in Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu seems like it's going to be a good fit for a card game. The brief demo of the game we saw showed the main player moving around a board and engaging in combat with familiar faces from the series.
The combat system is being touted as easy to pick up and simple to master, which from the look of things so far is about right. You'll be randomly dealt five cards from your deck at the start of a match. Each card will represent one of eight actions, power levels, or guard levels. You'll be able to mix cards to enhance their attributes and yield greater attacks. As you progress, it appears that you'll earn more cards for your deck, which will improve your performance.
The visuals we saw in the demo were mostly 2D in nature but featured special effects to enhance the action. Attacks yielded crazy light shows around the cards initiating them and those taking damage. The audio wasn't fully implemented yet, so the game was mostly silent.
Based on the brief demo we saw, Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu could wind up being a fun little card game for the DS. If the card system really does turn out to be accessible, then it should be an addictive game for the DS, thanks to its multiplayer support for up to four players.